By Daragh Ó Conchúir at Croke Park
Shane Ploughman hailed the determination of his squad to come back from the heartbreak of losing last year’s Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Final and make amends in style.
The Dublin manager took time to commend Kerry on their first appearance at Croke Park and predicted that their day will come.
“It’s absolutely fabulous” said Ploughman of the nine-point (1-12 to 0-6) victory. “To come here last year and walk away so hurt, we thought we had enough (to win), came up against a very good Westmeath team. We really did promise ourselves we’d dust ourselves off and do whatever we had to do to get back here today.
“It’s a credit to the girls, they left nothing out there. It’s great for the girls and great for Dublin Camogie going forward.
“We tried to put down a marker, we wanted to go at them from the start and in fairness, they kept at us, they wouldn’t let us get away from them. They’re a good team and they will be back.”
Ploughman agreed that the 15th minute goal by Aoife Bugler, who had only returned from a cruciate knee ligament injury for the All-Ireland Semi-Final victory over Offaly, was a critical score.
“They were holding us out, we were trying to get the ball into Aoife (Bugler) – their full-back (Niamh Leen) was a good player, a real handful for Aoife but once she got the turn on her there was only one place it was going and it took a big lump of energy out of them. It gave us a chance to get a few more points and push forward.”
It was a cracking finish by the full-forward, the result of an astute delivery by Laoise Quinn, who along with player of the match Caragh Dawson and centre-back Deirdre Johnstone had huge games.
Kerry had no shortage of top performers too, with Leen magnificent at full-back and Patrice Diggin taking it to Dublin at every opportunity.
Dublin had too much firepower though. They led by 1-6 to 0-2 at half time and were able to see it out, finishing off with a point from captain Emer Keenan, on the field a matter of seconds after suffering her own cruciate knee ligament injury four months previously.