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Ennis delighted to be back to join Royals' drive to make it third time lucky

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Meath's Shauna Ennis. Photo: Sportsfile

Meath's Shauna Ennis. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Meath's Shauna Ennis. Photo: Sportsfile

There is no doubt what Shauna Ennis' ambition is for 2020 after suffering the heartbreak of losing consecutive TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate finals in the past two seasons.

The Meath centre-back and vice-captain played in both the 2018 loss to Tyrone and last year's cracking decider against Tipperary, but after a positive return to Division 2 of the Lidl National League, she thinks Eamonn Murray's side have the ability to go one better later this year.

In the last week, all of Ennis' focus has gone on containing her excitement at returning to club football and camogie training. There was a heart-lifting hour-and-a-half dual session for the Na Fianna players, and with games to come in the next week or so, the primary school teacher at Kilcloon NS is already thinking of hearing that first whistle.

"It has been a really long time away from the game for us. We were out on the pitch last week for the first time with the club and it was great to get back out there. It was great to see everyone again. It has been a long old trek," says 26-year-old Ennis.

"It was like going back to school. Everyone was delighted running around. It was a very hot evening for it, we were all panting by the end of the first session."

Pulses

While the TG4 championship draw has set the pulses racing even further, Ennis still knows there is another three months to go before she can tog out in the county colours.

Meath have been grouped with Leitrim and Down in the TG4 Intermediate Championship, but as a seeded team, the Royals managed to avoid some potential banana skins.

"The only real difference this year is that there is no provincial championship and ahead of the pools we have last year's three semi-finalists and Westmeath as the seeded teams," Ennis says.

"Down will be a good test for us and Leitrim will be a tough one too. Obviously there were very tricky teams out there who weren't seeded. The likes of Clare, who beat us in the league, and then Wexford who beat us in the Leinster final last year. We had a really tough game against them after that in the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Kildare are another in-form team."

After the disappointment of losing to Tipp in last year's final, the months that followed were very important for a youthful Meath side. Manager Murray's decision to stick with the team was a huge lift for everyone, according to Ennis.

"That gave us a big boost then coming out of the winter. When you are looking at it you want to think it will be third time lucky. We really want to push on this year and hopefully do it."

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