'This side is very close to being up there with the very best'- Plowman

By Stephen Leonard

MANAGER Shane Plowman is adamant that his Dublin Camogie team have the potential to rise to top after watching them capture the All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship crown at the expense of a valiant Kerry in Croke Park on Sunday.

Finishing second best to Westmeath in this very fixture last season, the Blues were determined not to suffer the pain of defeat again and ran out comfortable 1-12 to 0-6 winners.

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Now having seen his side raise this coveted prize, Plowman is hopeful of bigger and better things for his team in the coming years.

“We’re up to the Intermediate Championship now and they’ll definitely give it a good shot,” he insisted.

“So much development work has gone on over the past five or six years and there’s a steady conveyor belt of young players coming through.

“I mean we had nine players [in the final] who weren’t on the pitch last year.

“We’re always improving. We won Division Three and we went unbeaten in the league this year until we met Westmeath in the semi finals.

“We got to the Leinster Final and were again beaten by Westmeath. So this side is very close to being up there with the very best teams,” he told The Echo.

Looking back on his team’s achievement on Sunday, Plowman could see a notable difference in attitude in his side compared to that which ran out on to the Croke Park pitch last season.

“Last year, in the week leading up to the Final, the nerves were just pumping out of the players, but this year we trained Wednesday and Friday and I could see that they were a lot more focused. They were pumped up for this match.

“There were still those few nerves as they were going out through the tunnel, but they were definitely a lot more focused, even in the warm-up.

“We had talked about what it was like when we left Croke Park last year and they were just so determined not to let that happen again,” he said.

An Aoife Bugler goal 15 minutes in set the Dubs on their way to the prize despite the best efforts of a Kerry side that looks to be also on an upward trajectory.

St Jude’s player Caragh Dawson was in superb form and rightly named Player of the Match while her clubmates Aoife Walsh, Emma Barron and Eimear O’Riordan also played their part in a memorable day.

Lucan Sarsfields’ Emer Keenan made a very late appearance, but still had enough time to get on the scoresheet - a fitting reward for a player who worked her way back into the side after having suffered a cruciate ligament injury four months ago.

Ballinteer’s Louise O’Shea was introduced on 38 minutes while Lucan’s Emma O’Flynn, Jude’s player Sinead Nolan and Ciara Buchannan of St Finian’s have also been a part of this adventure for Dublin.

Delighted with his side’s showing on Sunday, Plowman said: “Our plan was to go at them right from the start and not give them time to settle.

“We had five wides in the first ten minutes so you could see that we were not going to allow them to get into their stride.

“There was that difference in fitness levels. We just kept going and that goal took a big chunk out of them.

“Still if Kerry got a couple of scores they would have been right back in it and it was great that our players didn’t fall into that trap. They just stuck to the game plan and kept going.

“Last year the final whistle came too soon. This time the whistle couldn’t come soon enough. There were four minutes of added time and I was thinking, where did that come from?

“I was absolutely delighted after all the work that the players had put in and after losing out last year, to come back again this season and win it. It was just great.

“It was brilliant to get Emer Keenan on. She only picked up that injury four months ago and to get back and score a point in the final was great,” he added.

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