A fresh start if you like after the brilliant progress they’ve made over the past few years.
In 2017, they reached the All-Ireland semi-finals for the first time in 27 years under Kilkenny All-Ireland winner David Herity.
Last year, they fell short in the quarter-final. But this year, the chase is on again, this time under the watchful eye of former Mayo ladies football manager Frank Browne.
All is going pretty well so far, with a solid league campaign under the belt and mixed fortunes in their opening two Group 2 championship matches.
A win over Meath at home, a disappointing loss to Waterford on the road; but they face a huge test tomorrow in welcoming the back-to-back All-Ireland champions to the capital.
It’s all to play for, as star defender Laura Twomey enthuses as she prepares for the visit of Cork.
“We’ve seen in the league that Cork are there to be beaten,” she said. “We’re not going into this game just saying, ‘We want a performance’.
“They’re a class side and we respect that but we also have a lot of belief in our own panel. What better to have them at home, and really put in an excellent performance.”
Parnells GAA Club in Coolock hosts the 4pm throw-in, but Twomey — like many others — would rather be playing at her county grounds.
Parnell Park is the home of Dublin hurling so we’d like to see it as the home of Dublin Camogie as well.
“We’ve had games there in the past and I don’t want to be sounding negative about it but we are calling for camogie matches to be held in better venues. In Walsh Park it was great, that’s Waterford’s home.
“We’d definitely love to get there as much as we can. It’s a massive pitch. The crowd really come out there as well. Hopefully, our last game might be at home there.”
AIG’s 20×20 ambassador adds: “There’s no reason why female teams should be playing on the lesser pitches.
Laura Twomey 15/10/2018 Twomey is AIG’s 20×20 ambassador.
Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO
Obviously, the pillars of 20×20 are participation, attendance and coverage but also to showcase female sport so we should be playing on county grounds.
“Páirc Uí Chaoimh [a quarter-final double-header was played there last year] was great and it shouldn’t just be a once off. That should be the norm and that’s what this campaign is about. It’s not a women for women campaign it’s all society for all society. That’s where we want to be at. It is happening but it just needs to come quicker.”
That said, the 28-year-old secondary school teacher is no stranger to waiting for change.
She’s a leading advocate for the need for rule changes in camogie and while she’s happy to discuss it — and has done so at length with The42 in the past — there’s enough similar thoughts and opinions out there, and positive steps being taken to move forward.
Twomey is pleased with how things are headinggoing, and is happy to embrace change when it comes. Just like she did with Browne, when he was appointed manager.
He has a hurling background, of course, but is probably best known for his exploits with the Mayo ladies footballers. It was different at first, she admits, with this her first time playing under a football coach.
“I suppose players were probably a little bit sceptical at the start,” she explains. “But Frank knows the game of hurling really well and he has worked with hurling teams as well. A lot of the traits and characteristics to win are crossed between both sports.
He’s been excellent so far and he’s really open to players opinions and engaging with players as well. I think that’s something players really appreciate.
“Anytime a manager changes over there’s that little bit of a transition period at the start and that’s where we were building on from the league and he was looking at players.
“Frank has a wealth of experience from Mayo GAA. He really knows what it takes to get to that winning All-Ireland stage. We’ve been pushing for a quarter-final and semi-final the last number of years.
“He has a great team around him with Mark Cooney, our coach, so he’s brought a really fresh approach to the whole thing. Players are in a really good place at the moment and we’re enjoying it.”
Enjoyment really is a huge factor after all, and with that comes success. Another big step taken this year with the view of success is the addition of Dublin footballer Philly McMahon.
Philly McMahon McMahon on the ball for Dublin in 2017.
Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
The six-time All-Ireland champion came on board as Head of Performance, with his company BeDo7 forming an exciting partnership with the Dublin camogie set-up.
“So, Philly’s involved in all of Dublin Camogie now from U14 all the way up to senior,” Twomey smiles.
We’ve been doing loads of strength and conditioning now with him both on and off the pitch. Also, in terms of creating a culture in Dublin camogie he obviously is experienced in winning All Irelands so it’s great to have someone like that to pull from and to learn from.
“Every year there’s a new change in strength and conditioning so they’ve really exposed us to individual work and also what’s required for movement on the pitch,” she adds on the improvements that are evident.
“We’ve done a lot of leadership and culture workshops as well. So, just developing who we are as a team and trying to create that brand for Dublin Camogie and push on.
“We’d have different group work. It’s even sometimes combined with your video analysis of other teams and then just trying to develop what you’re about and why you’re playing.
Ultimately, that trust and the bond needs to be there for the group of players to improve and get that All Ireland that we’re searching for.
- With reporting from Sinéad Farrell
Laura Twomey was at the launch of AIG Ireland’s announcement that the logo of the 20×20 campaign will replace their logo on the front of the Dublin GAA jersey for upcoming ladies’ football, camogie, football & hurling fixtures.