by Daragh Small
Dublin All-Star Nicole Owens says that the reigning TG4 All-Ireland senior champions "are in a good place" as they launch their bid for a semi-final spot this weekend.
Dublin return to Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon on Sunday, where they clash with Kerry at the quarter-final stage.
Mick Bohan's side won the county's second senior All-Ireland title last September, when they defeated Mayo by 4-11 to 0-11 in the final in front of a record attendance of 46,286 at Croke Park.
Dublin claimed the Lidl National Football League title when they also got the better of Mayo in the decider on 6 May this year.
And 25-year-old St Sylvester's forward Owens believes Dublin have profited from the round-robin series, and extra minutes on the pitch ahead of a huge game against Kerry.
"It's hard to tell whether we are better than last year or not. We can always be better," she said.
"This year and next year, and all of the years to follow, we will always look to keep improving year on yea.
"I don't know how we are compared to this time last year but we are certainly in a good place ahead of the quarter-finals.
"We had two matches in two weeks so it was all frenzied. But for us it's just an extra game.
"Coming out of Leinster there are just two teams in Leinster. It has been good for us to get more game time and challenge the likes of Mayo who are very good.
"It's just more game time and I definitely enjoyed it."
Dublin were 12-point winners over Westmeath in this year's Leinster final and they followed that up with a hammering of Cavan in the opening round of the new group phase.
But their 3-11 to 1-8 victory against Mayo at Dr Hyde Park on 28 July was another crucial win against one of Dublin's biggest rivals.
"There were a few things again which we can work on. We conceded a goal and we are keen to defend the house. Overall it is the toughest match we have had to date. It will stand to us in the quarter-finals," said Owens.
"There is an element of it that is psychological for Mayo coming up against us. They have come up short a few times. We have had it in the past with the likes of Cork.
"For us it is important that we continue to play to the highest level, regardless of the opposition."