Croker experience invaluable for Quinn

by Dave Donnelly

Dublin camogie star Laoise Quinn believes last year’s Croke Park heartbreak will stand to them as they face Kerry in the All-Ireland Junior Championship final on Sunday.

The St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh corner forward was part of the side that were narrowly beaten by Westmeath last year.

The Dubs have coasted through the championship so far, winning all three of their games comfortably, but a Kerry side who play together for club and county is another step up.

With the memory of that final defeat to Westmeath – who also knocked them out of the league semi-finals this year – the Dubs have something of a point to prove.

“The ladies footballers are doing great, and our seniors got to the semis last year and quarters this year, so we want to get a piece of that action,” Quinn tells the Dublin Gazette.

“We want to do the best we can, and that’s why you play at the end of the day, to win. Hopefully we’ll do it this year.”

Navan Road native Quinn – who spent two years on the senior panel before dropping back to junior level – feels the large Croke Park pitch will work to Dublin’s advantage.

“Our strength and conditioning and our fitness is really up there so we’re definitely going to make use of the space we have.

“We’ve been described this year as playing ‘look-up hurling,’ so hopefully we can do that again in the final.

“It’s hard to hear anything in Croke Park at all, to hear ten metres in front of you, so we’re going to rely on what we’ve been practicing all year and hopefully it will come together.”

While playing in front of a big crowd in Croker may have been daunting for some players last year, Quinn feels the experience will stand to them this time around.

“It may have given us a bit of stage fright at the beginning, because of the noise and everything.

“This season, there’s a big group of us who played there last year and we’re more excited by it this year than daunted by it.

“I’m looking forward to getting there and running onto the pitch and hearing the crowd and enjoying it, rather than going ‘lord, there’s a lot of people here’.”

While Dublin racked up 3-12 in their semi-final win over Offaly, teammate Nadine Murphy thinks the final is likely to be a much lower-scoring affair.

The St Vincent’s forward feels the semi-final was closer than it looked, and the bigger pitch at Croke Park will force them to work harder for their scores.

“The pitches we’ve been playing on have been a good bit smaller than Croke Park,” the Marino native tells the Dublin Gazette.

“The scoring opportunities might not be as common as we’ve had in other games.

“But we’ll probably just have to take it on a little bit more.

“We haven’t seen Kerry this year so we can’t tell how the pitch suits them, but for us the big pitch suits better.”

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