Wednesday 17 January 2018

Historic victories for Cork, Laois in All-Ireland camogie finals

Supporters shelter at Croke Park during the junior camogie final between Roscommon and Laois yesterday Photo: David Maher (Sportsfile)
Supporters shelter at Croke Park during the junior camogie final between Roscommon and Laois yesterday Photo: David Maher (Sportsfile)

Jane O'Faherty

On the way to Croke Park, one camogie fan remarked that female GAA players put in as much work, drive and passion as their male equivalents.

Judging by the raucous cheers in the stands, the same could be said for the audience at yesterday's senior All-Ireland camogie final.

Twenty minutes before Galway met Cork on the pitch, however, the atmosphere was more sombre.

Indeed, pre-match preparations probably seemed subdued compared with the men's encounter between Galway and Kilkenny a week earlier.

But any worries about a poor turnout from fans were washed away along with the downpours that always threatened Croke Park.

Between 16,000 and 17,000 people filtered into the 82,300-seater venue, but roars, chants and yells from the relatively small crowd succeeded in filling the stadium.

The final was the third face-off between the Tribeswomen and the Rebelettes since the start of the year.

Galway had secured victory in both previous games, but neither side took anything for granted before or during the game.

Cork were the eventual victors, snatching the O'Duffy Cup from their rivals by seven points. The win placed the Leesiders on the League of Honour table, matching Dublin's record of 26 All-Ireland camogie victories.

But the record wasn't the only piece of history from yesterday's match. It was the first All-Ireland camogie final in the lifetime of the Women's Gaelic Players Association. It is hoped the association will bring more attention to camogie and women's football.

Laois ended two years of disappointment after winning against Roscommon in the junior camogie final. Meanwhile, Waterford added the All-Ireland intermediate title to their 2015 Division Two league crown when they beat Kildare.

Hoisting the O'Duffy Cup to deafening applause, Cork captain Ashling Thompson congratulated her Galway opponents.

"Lads, you never fail to bring the fight. I know these days are so disappointing," she said. "But lads, you gave it everything and I've no doubt in my mind that in a short while you'll be standing where I am today."

Irish Independent

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