Tuesday 6 December 2016

CAMOGIE All-Ireland final PREVIEWS

Published 13/09/2015 | 02:30

Senior final - Cork v Galway, 4.0: Cork began the defence of their All-Ireland crown without a host of seasoned players, including Jenny O'Leary, Anna Geary and Joanne O'Callaghan and still reached the final. Lacklustre in their round-robin games, they showed their real mettle in their defeat of Kilkenny in the semi-final. When the pressure comes on, Paudie Murray's charges are able to respond. Much will depend on Ashling Thompson in midfield, Orla Cotter at wing-forward and the performance of Amy O'Connor and Katriona Mackey up front. Galway have defeated Cork twice this season but their tendency to fade in the latter stages of games, may be their Achilles heel. Niamh McGrath at centre-forward, Shauna Healy at centre-back and midfield dynamo Niamh Kilkenny, who also captains the side, are crucial for Tony Ward's charges. Victory for Cork will bring them level with Dublin in the roll of honour with 25 titles.

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Intermediate final - Waterford v Kildare, 2.0: Waterford have been knocking on the door for a number of years. Trish Jackman is one of the country's premier players, be it at centre-back or midfield, while Beth Carton shows huge promise, despite not sitting her Leaving Cert until next June. There is a nice blend of experience and youth that has flourished under Sean Fleming. Kildare's road has been longer, as they began 2010 in the junior 'A' championship. Now, in only their second intermediate campaign, they are an hour away from senior camogie. They lost to Waterford in the group stages, as they did in the Division 2 league semi-final but were magnificent against Cork in the semi-final with the defence in particular, in which Carol Nolan is a powerful presence, completely on top. Emer Reilly contributed handsomely from play while Susie O'Carroll is also a constant threat.

Junior final - Roscommon v Laois, 12.0: Laois have been operating in the fashion of a team on a mission this year, having fallen at the final hurdle in this championship the last two seasons to Kildare (2013) and Down (2014). Sarah Ann Fitzgerald remains an inspiring figure for David Cuddy's crew while Louise Mahony's finesse from placed balls is crucial. Niamh Dollard, Laura Marie Maher and Eimear Delaney are other key performers. Roscommon are pursuing the county's first title at this level and the manner in which they ground out a four-point victory over Dublin in the semi-final was impressive. The defensive unit confined Dublin to just 1-5 while Athleague sharpshooter Kelley Hopkins kept the scoreboard ticking over with seven points. A goal from her club-mate, Niamh Farrell gave the Rossies vital breathing space. They face a tough task against a team determined to make up for All-Ireland heartbreak. Laois to shade it.

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