Dublin junior camogie captain and Lucan Sarsfields star Emer Keenan has spoken of her pride ahead of leading our her county side in a second consecutive All Ireland final.
The sky blues lost out to Westmeath in the junior finale last time around, and face Kerry at Croke Park on September 9, a match Keenan is awaiting with “great, great excitement”.
“It was tough last time,” Keenan said of the Westmeath loss. “Every game you pick up lessons, though. Last year we had the final, as well as the league and Leinster this year, and we’ve learnt.
“We’re progressing. Getting back to Croke Park was the driving force, and this is the chance to right the wrongs of last time around.”
Kerry are a familiar opposition at this level, and were Dublin’s opponents in the semi-final last time around, a game Keenan recalls as being tight.
“It came down to the last couple of minutes,” she explains.
“We hit a late goal in a tight game that got us to the All Ireland final day. But there’s not much between us, I’m expecting a very tight game.”
Running out as captain having come back to county level camogie relatively late – Keenan focused on her education for years before jumping back into the sport – is a source of particular pride.
“I think the junior side is probably a stepping stone for a lot of younger players with senior ambitions,” she admits.
“I think that’s probably passed me by now. But leading out your county as captain is always a special experience.
“It’s especially special at Croke Park in an All Ireland final. For others, it’s a great experience and sometimes a great stepping stone.
“It’s a special time all around for Dublin camogie.
“There’s a great buzz about the place, and the number of people playing is definitely up. [Lucan] Sarsfields are a massive club, and we have a very strong underage section at the moment. Just in the last couple of weeks
we’ve won titles at Under-15 and Under-16 level.
“The clubs are producing a lot of great players. Our panel is full, and we’re in great form, with everyone fighting for position.
“It will be tough to select a starting 15 in the next week and a half. Everyone, from 1 one to 30, is important. It’s not a job I’d like to do.
“It’s a buzz coming together and bringing it on the field.
“We’d definitely be watching the footballers over the weekend with added excitement knowing its us the following week.”