It was 2017 when Dublin wrestled supremacy of the All-Ireland Ladies Football Championship away from a legendary Cork generation.

Indeed apart from the Dubs' own 2010 triumph, every other title from 2005 to 2016 went to Cork with Dublin a regular beaten finalist towards the end of that Rebel run.

However, since Dublin flipped the script in 2017, they haven't looked back and are closing in on an All-Ireland four-in-a-row.

Standing in their way in Saturday's semi-final will be a free-scoring Armagh side, but should Dublin get past that challenge, a seventh final appearance awaits.

Sarah McCaffrey will be relishing the opportunity to make another final appearance, having watched the last two title wins from afar since a two-goal showing in a 4-11 to 0-11 trouncing of Mayo in the 2017 decider.

But after some time away on her travels, she is back in the midst of the action since returning to the panel for 2020.

"I went to New Zealand for a year in 2018-19. I just went on a working holiday visa," McCaffrey said of that absence at the AIG LGFA All Ireland Semi-Final Preview Event. 

"I went over and I was in Queenstown which is this amazing place in the south island. It's this real hub for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. It was amazing, beautiful.

"In the ski season, I worked as a barista and for the summer I spent time in Queenstown working and then you're doing a lot of hiking and the outdoors were incredible, so we did a lot of camping, hiking and then in the last couple of months I moved up to one of the northern towns called Tauranga and there's kind of a surf vibe up there - which I tried and failed at (laughs) - and it was brilliant."

But after recharging her batteries on the other side of the world, the forward counts herself lucky to have been reintegrated into a winning Dublin machine.

"I just was really lucky to be asked back into the group if I was interested and I'm really lucky because that's something everyone is mindful when you do take a little bit of time away is that that opportunity might not be there," she said, adding that she had been back home in time to be in the stands at Croke Park to cheer on her old team-mates in last year's final, having been in New Zealand for the 2018 decider.

"I would have been involved with our first All-Ireland win in 2017 and I wasn't involved then in the following two years.

"But it was great to see that once we got over that initial [final] hurdle, that the girls were just able to push on and do so well and I wasn't surprised at all. I was thrilled to be able to support from over [in New Zealand].

"It was four in the morning when we were watching the [2018] final, so it was a bit of craic." 

And given how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the way in which people travel, McCaffrey does count herself lucky to have taken the opportunity to go travelling when she did rather than waiting until this year, adding that "you would feel a lot for people beginning travelling at the minute." 

As the semi-final closes in, she is under no illusion of the threat Saturday's opponents pose given that the Ulster county tallied a total of 10 goals in their two group games and have been on an upward trajectory.

"We're really looking forward to that challenge. Armagh are a brilliant team, so it's going to be a good game. Can't wait," she said.

"We know that they're an excellent side. Anyone who's been following the championship this season or in the last number of seasons, they beat Mayo this year, beat Cork last year and they are a really good team with excellent players."

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences


Listen to the RTÉ GAA Podcast at Apple Podcasts, SoundcloudSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.