Evergreen Louise O'Hara knows her days of playing top-level camogie are numbered but she hopes to see Dublin make a proper breakthrough before she quits.

Remarkably, O'Hara is in her 20th consecutive season playing for the Dubs' first team but the highlights to date have been few and far between.

The main ones have been winning the All-Ireland Junior crown in 2005 and again the following season but the forward craves some notable senior progress.

Time will tell if that can be delivered before she bows out, but O'Hara is confident Dublin, who last won the All-Ireland Senior Championship 31 years ago, are on the right track.

"For sure, it is a long time since Dublin had something to really celebrate at senior level but I feel things are changing,” said O’Hara.

"There is a growing confidence in the squad and I could see that getting a real boost if we could put a winning run together in the current championship. For me, a place in the semi-finals is a realistic target, and after that who knows what might happen.

"Getting to the last four would be a terrific step forward for us and, if I was to stop playing, it would be something positive to be able to look back on – especially when I consider all of the bad defeats we have had over the years.

"But, to be honest, quitting is not something I am considering at the moment.

"I still have the drive and passion for the inter-county game that I have always had and that is the key for me sticking at it. Whenever that happens to change then I will pack it in.

"However when I see the effort that is being put in off the pitch by the management, players and everyone involved with the side, it helps to make me all the more determined to keep battling on."

Dublin began their latest Liberty Insurance All-Ireland campaign with a defeat to Kilkenny in the first series of games in Group 2 last month.

But while Dublin might have lost that game, O'Hara said the players were truly disappointed with the outcome – and believes that shows a different attitude in the squad.

She explained: "When the Kilkenny game was over we were all very down over what had happened.

"I know we ended up losing by nine points, but it was a game that we should have done much better in. We simply did not perform to our potential on the day and that was what we were especially disappointed about.

"On occasions in the past we might have got over such a defeat quickly as not many people inside or outside the camp would have expected us to have got anything from a game like that against a strong team.

"But the fact we know that we should have done better underlines how the mind-set has changed. We go into games now believing we can do well and it is important to have that confidence because otherwise it will make your task harder.

"The confidence is high partly because we have such a strong squad nowadays.

"When a side is picked to start a game there are real options among the substitutes to change things if there is a need. It helps too with competition for places and everyone who gets picked in the first 15 knows they cannot afford to take anything for granted because of the quality of the depth of the squad."

Dublin will look to bounce back from the Kilkenny result when they meet Tipperary on Saturday.

Like Dublin, Tipp have struggled in recent years but O'Hara is not expecting to get anything easy from them at Portlaoise.

O'Hara added: "Tipperary might have been going through a transition over the last while but any time we have played them the games have been quite competitive and this one should be no different.

"We would gladly take a one-point victory to get up and running and then try to push on for the rest of the Championship.

"As I said, we would have preferred to have beaten Kilkenny but perhaps the defeat was a blessing.

"Sometimes, starting off with a win can give you a false sense of security, but we realise that we have work to do over the remaining group games if we are to possibly make a mark in the knockout stages."



Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Camogie Senior Championship first round, Group 1: Offaly v Galway (Birr, 2.30pm), Wexford v Limerick (Wexford, 5pm).
Group 2: Derry v Kilkenny (Swatragh, 2.30pm), Dublin v Tipperary (Portlaoise, 5pm).

Sunday: TG4 Ulster Ladies Football Senior Championship semi-finals: Armagh v Monaghan (Cavan, 3.15pm), Donegal v Tyrone (Cavan, 1.15pm).