Clanmaurice one win from All-Ireland and history
All-Ireland Camogie Junior Club Final: Clanmaurice v Kilmessan (Meath), Sunday November 26, St Brendan's Park, Birr at 2pm
It's not easy to assess the various pros and cons, along with what will be the eventual outcome of this particular contest. A final in whatever grade or code, normally brings into opposition the two best sides in the competition.
However, these two clubs haven't met before, while Kerry and Meath's paths haven't crossed either this season given that the Royals were operating at a higher grade. Indeed, Meath's win over Cork in the replayed All-Ireland Intermediate final this year has increased considerably the profile and ranking of their Camogie stock on the national stage. Obviously, that particular win will also have greatly increased Kilmessan's level of confidence and belief, and indeed this was reflected in their All-Ireland semi-final win over Crosserlough, in a game in which they scored five goals, and won by all of twenty seven points.
Having won the Championship title in Meath for a ninth consecutive time back in October and with nine Meath players nominated for this year's Soaring Stars Awards, in contrast to just two from Kerry, the statistics and standings will tell us that they are operating at a higher level at the moment.
Kerry, of course, with a team which included mostly all of the Clanmaurice fifteen also beat Cork this year, albeit at Junior level, in the Munster final, and Clanmaurice's route to this particular final confirms a lot about their resilience and character.
Travelling away to play An Rinn from Waterford in the opening round was always going to be difficult, but, they negotiated that particular hurdle with a bit to spare. A strong second half performance ensured a fully deserved Munster final success over Na Piarsaigh (2-11 to 1-4). Goals were the key in their semi final win over Athleague (3-4 to 1-7), and while they had to dig deep to pull through in a nail biting finish in this particular game, with a little bit more composure their goal tally could well have been doubled.
Indeed, at this time of the year with scores largely at a premium in heavy underfoot conditions goals could well prove to be the game breakers in next weekend's decider. Generally, Clanmaurice have been pretty solid in terms of their input and application throughout the pitch, and, while players such as Alanna Maunsell, Niamh Leen, Olivia Dineen, Aoife Behan and Patrice Diggin, are names which are regularly mentioned when the merits and capabilities of the team are being showcased their main strengths lie in their endeavour and unity of purpose, exemplified throughout all of this particular campaign to date.
All of the usual clichés surrounding finals will be brought into focus when this particular game is being assessed. There's no form guide with the teams, in terms of previous results against each other, but Kilmessan who won this particular title in 2014 are favourites by general consensus, with Megan Tynne, Tara Murphy, and both Katie and Megan Ni Choileain likely to be key performers for them. However, such is the prize at stake that Clanmaurice are sure to approach matters in quite a confident and determined manner, in their quest to become the history makers of the code in the Kingdom, having been denied previously at the penultimate stage on a few occasions.
Finals are for winning, and certainly they will have the support of everybody across the entire sporting spectrum here in Kerry as they endeavour to take that final step in relation to claiming the club's and the county's first All Ireland title at this level.