by Daragh Ó Conchúir
Dublin manager David Herity wants his team to play with no fear when they take on Kilkenny next Saturday week to conclude the group stages of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship in style.
A five-time All-Ireland hurling winner in the black and amber, Herity has enjoyed a positive opening season as a senior inter-county manager and after their 0-15 to 1-10 defeat of Waterford at Walsh Park, they are close to securing a top three finishing position in Group 1 and a place in the quarter-finals at least.
They could still miss out however if they fail to get anything from their clash with the champions, who were very impressive in accounting for Galway by 2-10 to 1-8 at Kenny Park, Athenry. Clare could put a spanner in the works if they were to beat the westerners.
Aisling Maher (0-5) and goalkeeper Faye McCarthy (0-4) were in good form from placed balls for the Dubs - the latter despite playing with a stress fracture in her foot. Having started strongly with a couple of points from Emma Flanagan, Dublin were in charge for the majority of the game, until Waterford finished strongly with Beth Carton (0-5) punishing some indiscipline and Áine Lyng (1-2) goaling right at the end.
Herity praised the players and called on them to draw on the positive memories from an excellent display against Kilkenny in provincial action to confirm their place among camogie's top six.
"There's a lot of ifs have to go wrong in order for us not to qualify but we know the only way of guaranteeing qualification is getting a result against Kilkenny," said Herity on FM104.
"I know it's easier said than done but the girls did brilliantly to get a draw against them in the Leinster Championship before they beat us in extra time. It's brilliant to have that experience and have that match under our belts and know we can go out and play with a little more freedom and play with confidence; that we have gotten a result against them already and we just need to kick on and finish the group on a strong note. That's what we want to do.
"We've been performing very well for the last four months between the end of the League, the Leinster Championship and now the All-Ireland round-robin. Winning is a habit and we intend to keep on going now.
"We know how strong (Kilkenny) are and they have a few players back since then. Shelly Farrell is back and flying it in the corner. Clare got a draw against them last week so we know they won't be caught again. But the opportunity is there to get a result against them. And for us to guarantee qualification and 100% rubber-stamp it, the result will do that.
"To be the best, you have to beat the best and that's what Kilkenny are so we look forward to that."
Farrell confirmed Herity's observations with two major plays in the second half to put Galway away in impressive fashion.
Anne Dalton and Katie Power drove the visitors on but in the second half Farrell set up Michelle Quilty for a goal and then scored one herself to push Anne Downey's crew clear.
Niamh Kilkenny was Galway's best player but not even her considerable efforts could deny the Stripeywomen, even though Rebecca Hennelly goaled from a penalty with time almost up.