Tuesday 15 October 2019

Kingdom resolve will ensure Dublin don't have it easy

Premier Junior Final: Dublin v Kerry, 12.0

Kerry’s Jackie Horgan and Dublin’s Emer Keenan. Photo: INPHO
Kerry’s Jackie Horgan and Dublin’s Emer Keenan. Photo: INPHO

Daragh Ó Conchúir

There is nothing like a Dublin-Kerry final at Croke Park to get the blood pumping, though this is the first time the two old GAA rivals have crossed swords in a camogie championship decider on the hallowed sod.

Dublin make a quick return having suffered defeat at the hands of a strong Westmeath unit last year. This time around, they are here with a strong Division 2 League campaign behind them, after annexing the Division 3 title in 2017.

They have lost Emer Keenan with a cruciate knee ligament injury but welcomed back last year's Premier Junior Player of the Year, Aoife Bugler for their semi-final win over Offaly, having suffered the same injury.

Bugler was on fire against the Faithful, scoring 1-3 from play, and she is sure to improve for the runout after such a lengthy absence. In the meantime, Aoibhe Dillon has been added to the attack from last year's minors and is proving a real addition from placed balls and general play, the top scorer providing 1-5 of the 3-12 tally in the clearance of the penultimate hurdle. Caragh Dawson is another who will take watching.

Kerry's improvement has been consistent in recent years and they are coming into this as Division 3 League champions. That was a welcome win as they haven't enjoyed the best of luck in major finals, losing at junior A and B level in recent years, while Clanmaurice who are, in effect, Kerry, lost the All-Ireland Junior Club final in a replay last December.

In Patrice Diggin, however, they possess a player whose talents deserve to be showcased on the biggest stage. The flame-haired artist is a multiple Ashbourne Cup winner who Kerry will be looking to for the majority of their scores. Diggin struck 10 points in the 10-point semi-final win over Roscommon, who they had also beaten in the League final.

It was a strong second-half effort from the Kingdom, as they trailed by a point at the break. Roscommon moved two ahead, but they were unable to register another score as the Kerry defence proved impossible to breach. At the other end, Jackie Horgan provided vital support to Diggin and Laura Collins grabbed the goal that ensured the green and gold was bound for Croke Park.

Having done well in Division 2, Dublin will be favourites to claim a sixth crown at this grade but Kerry have shown tremendous resolve in recent years and will be looking to cause an upset.

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