Whole host of familiar camogie names absent for championship
There will be a lot of familiar faces missing from this year’s Championship, with the marquee game between Liberty Insurance All-Ireland champions Cork and the team that beat them in this year’s League final, Galway particularly affected.
Had this tie been 12 months ago, Anna Geary, Jenny O’Leary, Joanne O’Callaghan, Angela Walsh and Julia White would have been playing for Cork. The first three have retired while Walsh gave birth to a baby girl earlier this week. White will return later in the season however, having taken some time off to go travelling.
Galway have been hit by retirements too with the long-serving Anne Marie Hayes and Brenda Hanney calling time on their careers, while Aislinn Connolly is unavailable for selection. Exciting young forward, Orlaith McGrath tore her cruciate ligament in the League decider and is ruled out for the rest of the season.
Geary has dedicated herself to supporting the gradual improvement in the profile of camogie and the RTÉ pundit, who captained Cork to last year’s All-Ireland success, reckons that these two will overcome the loss of such ability and experience.
“Cork are the All-Ireland champions, League finalists and they recently won the Munster Championships as well” said Geary. “Every year, Cork are going to be up there.
“Galway will be looking to push ahead and I suppose they have a lot to prove given the fact that they didn’t do themselves justice last year. It’s the most mouth-watering contest of the early stage of the Championship.”
Meanwhile, a number of stalwarts from other counties have retired too including Offaly legend Elaine Dermody and Limerick duo Michelle Casey and Deirdre Fitzpatrick. Elaine Aylward is unavailable for Kilkenny, who are expected to welcome Leann Fennelly back from her travels shortly.
Clare have been among the hardest hit with Deirdre Murphy and Claire McMahon retired, Eimear Considine focussing on trying to make the Olympics with the Irish rugby 7s squad, Fiona Lafferty opting for football and the likes of Laura McMahon, Niamh O’Dea and Niki Kaiser unavailable.