SEEING the Dublin ladies in a league final is no surprise. After all, they are the All-Ireland champions.
No, the shock comes with the realisation that they will be contesting the Division Two decider at Parnell Park today.
Why? Quite simple. Back in September of 2009 the Dubs were within minutes of clinching their first All-Ireland title having outplayed Cork for long spells of the final but a late burst from the Munster side saw them come up short.
The hangover was a long one. The subsequent league ended with relegation after a run of two wins, a draw and four defeats so here they find themselves.
“It was hard to get back into it after that defeat and the manner of it,” admits goalkeeper and captain Cliodhna O’Connor. “We thought we were going to win that day against Cork and to put so much into it, to lose was difficult. After the league then we grouped together and looked at what we were doing.
“We were going to have to forget about everything that went before and just concentrate on the season at hand.”
It worked. They returned to league duties this year as All-Ireland champions and – one defeat to Cavan aside – they have sauntered back to the top tier and towards today’s showdown.
Dublin were comfortable winners when the sides met in Portmarnock earlier in the campaign and their motivation to mimic that result will owe to more than just the usual realities that accompany an ancient rivalry.
“Our first game in the championship is against Meath so you are trying to make sure that you are not giving anything away against them in the league.
“We don’t want to let anything slip or give them a stick to beat us with.”
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