THREE-IN-A-ROW ALL-IRELAND WINNERS Dublin have unveiled a 37-strong squad ahead of the ladies football senior championship throw-in this weekend.

Mick Bohan’s side open their title defence against Donegal in Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday [throw-in 5pm, live on TG4] in a mouth-watering group tie.

Dublin’s Sinead Aherne, Noelle Healy and Niamh Collins celebrate after the 2019 All-Ireland final. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Three-in-a-row winning captain Sinéad Aherne is among the stalwarts returning for another year — this will be her 17th campaign — while some familiar faces make a welcome return for the 2020 championship.

Lyndsey Davey and Siobhan McGrath are two of the other long-serving stars returning, as expected, while 2017 Footballer of the Year Noelle Healy and Melbourne Aussie Rules duo Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy are all named in the squad, which sees 16 clubs represented.

Defensive duo Deirdre Murphy and Leah Caffrey return to championship football after injury and travel respectively, while goalscoring hero from the 2017 final, Sarah McCaffrey, is also included. Two more previous All-Ireland winners in Laura McGinley and Rebecca McDonnell make a welcome return too.

Long-term injury victims Nicole Owens and Siobhan Killeen are in line to make their comebacks, after both being named on the panel.

The Sky Blues will be without a number of players from their 2019 panel, most notably two-time All-Star Rachael Ruddy and star midfielder Olwen Carey, who had previously outlined her plans to step away due to study commitments.

Siobhán Woods, Oonagh Whyte, Rachel Fleming, Sarah Fagan, Kate Fitzgibbon and Emma McDonagh will also not feature for the Dubs this season.

Dublin announce 2020 championship panel ahead of their opening game vs Donegal, this Sat at 5pm in Cavan, LIVE on TG4

Click link below to view panel ⬇️ #UpTheDubs #AthCliath — DublinLGFA (@dublinladiesg) October 28, 2020

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A number of impressive youngsters make the transition to senior football in several other additions to the panel, one of which is current minor ‘keeper Abbie Shiels of Lucan Sarsfields.

While Dublin begin their Brendan Martin Cup defence against Donegal, it comes as a decisive battle in Group 3. Waterford are the other team in the group, with just the winners progressing to semi-finals.

Donegal, likewise, have a nice blend of youth and experience, with several top players home from stints overseas. Yvonne Bonner is one of such, the Greater Western Sydney [GWS] Giants Aussie Rules expected to return to inter-county action after some stunning club exploits having missed last summer’s championship.

The last time these sides met, Donegal came out on top in their 2019 league opener in Croke Park.

Dublin’s 2020 championship panel

Niamh Sweeny, Orlagh Nolan (Ballinteer St Johns), Carla Rowe (Clann Mhuire), Rebecca McDonnell (Clanna Gael Fontenoy), Caoimhe O’Connor, Niamh Hetherton, Sarah McCaffrey, Siobhán Killeen (Clontarf), Jennifer Dunne, Martha Byrne, Rachael Hartnett (Cuala), Muireann Ní Scanaill (Fingallians), Hannah O’Neill, Jodie Egan, Niamh Collins, Sinead Goldrick (Foxrock Cabinteely), Aoife Kane, Cassie Sultan, Éabha Rutledge, Laura Kane, Lauren Magee (Kilmacud Crokes), Abbie Shiels (Lucan Sarsfields), Karen O’Connell, Leah Caffrey, Lucy Collins (Na Fianna), Laura McGinley (Naomh Barrog), Hannah Leahy (Scoil Ui Chonaill), Lyndsey Davey (Skerries Harps), Ciara Trant, Deirdre Murphy, Noelle Healy (St Brigid’s), Kate Sullivan, Niamh McEvoy, Nicole Owens, Sinead Aherne (St Sylvester’s), Ciara McGuigan, Siobhan McGrath (Thomas Davis).

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