Dunne delight to be part of final fever

by Cóilín Duffy

CUALA’S Jennifer Dunne has had a magnificent 2019. From a number 22, jersey and a place on the bench against Mayo in February in the league, she is in line to start for Dublin this Sunday at Croke Park, in the bid for the Jackies’ third All-Ireland Senior title in a row (4pm – Live TG4).

Tickets are still available for the clash with Galway, which forms part of a triple-header with the Intermediate and Junior deciders; with another record breaking crowd in prospect.

There will be thousands more for certain in Croke Park, than there was when Dublin faced Mayo on that chilly Saturday night back in the league.

While Dunne started on the bench that night, she quickly made her mark, scoring two points, entering the fray as a 25th minute substitute.

Dunne’s keen to make her mark again against Western opposition, and says preparations have been going well since the All-Ireland semi-final win over Cork.

“Getting the win over Cork was great,” she said.

“There’s been a rivalry there for so long, and then, after getting that win, we have just refocussed.

“The three weeks since the match, we have just been working hard and everyone really pushing on to make the starting-15, or be one of the five subs that will hopefully come on.

“It’s always just so exciting; you aren’t going to complain when you are in an All-Ireland final.

“I’m really looking forward to it and it’s just really enjoyable now and everyone just can’t wait for Sunday.”

For 19-year old Dunne, it’s just her second year in the squad, and she’s thrilled to be involved.

“I only came in last year in my first year out of minor,” she said.

“I was so lucky to come into the group and win an All-Ireland in my first year. I wasn’t there when they experienced all of the losses

“You just have to cherish the memories and the victories.

“Last year was incredible, and they are memories I will have for the rest of my life.

“This year’s championship has been great so far – you just take every game as it comes and you look forward to Sunday.”

Dublin have had to work hard to get to their sixth All-Ireland Final in a row, showing great resolve and character along the way, on and off the pitch.

It hasn’t been easy with injuries to Siobhan Killeen, Sinead Aherne and Nicole Owens at various stages during the year.

“It just shows the strength-in-depth of the panel that no matter who is asked or called upon, or is the next player up, that everyone is ready and willing to give what they can for the jersey and get us over the line,” Dunne said.

“No matter what the starting 15 is, if you are training well you more than likely will play.

“With the others not there, everyone stepped up another mark and everyone lifted each other.

“The strength of the group is just unbelievable – both on and off the pitch.”

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