by Brendan Graham
Dublin have one more step to take to get their hands on the coveted Kathleen Mills Cup and after suffering a heart-breaking defeat to Westmeath in last year’s Final, Emer Keenan is determined to be the captain climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking at the Captain’s Day in Croke Park ahead of the Final this Sunday, there was a real sense from the Lucan Sarsfields player that herself and her teammates are ready for battle and having earned themselves another shot at glory, they will be doing their absolute utmost to ensure it’s a feeling of joy when that final whistle is blown.
“There’s a great excitement in the camp, everyone is looking forward to the day and putting in the hard yards now with the final little push and preparations. There’s a great buzz around the camp as it gets ever closer and we can’t wait for the day to arrive.”
Reflecting on last year’s four point defeat to Westmeath Keenan felt that although the Lake County were ultimately the better team on the day and deserved winners that this talented group of players had a lot more to give. What better way to prove that than to go and claim the crown of All-Ireland champions this Sunday.
“Last year Westmeath were deserving of their win and they are a great outfit but we ourselves felt we left it behind us to a certain extent” she said reflecting on last year’s Final.
“It is exactly this that has kept us going and driven us on, and has done all year. Every one of us wanted to try it again and to do our utmost to get back to Croke Park and try and right the wrongs of last year.
“It was the thoughts of getting back to Croke Park that we have all kept in our minds all year, playing in another All-Ireland Final and hopefully winning it this year. Thoughts like this are exactly what has gotten us through those tough nights.”
Getting the chance to take to the field on the hallowed turf of Croke Park is every players dream when they first pick up that hurl as a youngster.
Leading a team of your best friends out onto that pitch as captain of your county on All-Ireland Final day is another dream that many players and captains around the country have but not all of them are privileged enough to see that dream become a reality.
“Playing in Croke Park full stop is something you dream of. Playing for your county in Croke Park on All-Ireland Final day is so incredibly special. To go and win one as captain would be absolutely amazing. This panel and group of girls are a truly amazing bunch as well. We are all so close and it would be a dream come true for all of us to win this together”
By 1.30pm on Sunday, this talented Dublin side will know whether they have done enough to be crowned All-Ireland champions and plenty of lifelong dreams may be about to become a reality.
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Championships Finals
Sunday September 9th
Cork v Kilkenny
Referee: Eamon Cassidy (Derry)
Cork v Down
Referee: John Dermody (Westmeath)
Premier Junior Final
Dublin v Kerry
Referee: Alan Doheny (Laois)
Ticket Prices & Information
Adults: €30 on matchday
Students/Senior Citizens: Purchase Adult Ticket – Concessions available only on matchday with valid ID (€10 rebate on gate)
Under 18: €5
Tickets can be purchased from Gill's Corner outside the ground on matchday.