Gaule hoping to end wait for All-Ireland
Camogie: These are exciting times for Denise Gaule. The 25-year-old is returning to college to study building services and engineering with a view to joining the family business, while on the playing fields she is focused on helping Kilkenny add the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Championship to their National League success.
It's 22 years since the O'Duffy Cup was bedecked in black and amber and in the intervening period Kilkenny have lost six finals.
Gaule and the majority of her team-mates have been involved in the last three of those and an elusive All-Ireland medal is definitely the priority for these players.
Kilkenny take on Galway in Freshford today (2.30) knowing that a draw will be sufficient for them to progress to the semi-final as Group 2 winners.
As with hurling, the gap between the round-robin stages and semi-finals has proven problematic for teams caught cold against quarter-final victors however.
The Noresiders know all about the potential pitfalls but Gaule has no doubt about the preferred path.
"We want to go the shortest route possible, 100 per cent. The last two years we've been caught.
"Last year, we didn't have any tough group game and didn't really know where we were. When we faced Cork, they totally blew us out of the water.
"This year, Dublin was tough enough and Tipp as well. We might have ran out comfortable enough winners, but that was a tough game. Now, Galway is the real big one."
This game is a repeat of the 2013 All-Ireland final, but Kilkenny will prefer to focus on this year's league decider, in which they ran out deserving winners.
When they lost the All-Ireland seven years ago, everyone thought that it would only be a matter of time before they would cross the line.
"I suppose the players thought the same," admitted Gaule. "But we're still young. Most of the panel is around 25 and we're more experienced. It's a long time without winning but we'll keep plugging away."
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