Wednesday 17 January 2018

All-Ireland Camogie final preview


Galway v Wexford, Croke Park, 4.0,

M O'Reilly (Cork) *LIVE RTE 2

Wexford ended a long wait in 2007, are defending champions in this repeat of last year's final and dearly want to cement their reputation with a two-in-a-row.

Galway, who have won only one (1996) of six final appearances since 1993, are equally desperate not to be runners-up again. The sides have met three times this year, and it's currently 2-1 to the Yellowbellies.

Wexford's current All Stars include goalkeeper Mags D'Arcy, defenders Claire O'Connor, Catherine O'Loughlin and Mary Leacy, plus Kate Kelly, Una Leacy, Katrina Parrock and Ursula Jacob in attack.

Galway have Niamh Kilkenny in midfield, defender Regina Glynn and Brenda Hanney and Aislinn Connolly in attack, and a major reshuffle in the team set-up has improved Galway this season.

Wexford's second-half comeback against Cork in the semis demonstrated how much skill and motivation they still have, but Killimor's All-Ireland club victory has lifted Galway's Croker hex. If they can keep out the goals, Galway's hunger could swing it.

Verdict: Galway

Galway -- S Earner; T Manton, S Cahalan, L Ryan; A Marie Hayes, T Maher, H Cooney; N Kilkenny, AM Starr; N Coen, M Conroy, A Connolly; T Ruttledge, B Hanney (capt), V Curtin.

Wexford -- M D'Arcy; C O'Connor, C O'Loughlin, K Atkinson; N Lambert, M Leacy, A O'Connor; D Codd, J Dwyer; K Kelly, U Leacy, M O'Leary; L Holohan, U Jacob (capt), K Parrock.


Antrim v Wexford, Croke Park, 2.0,

J Dolan (Clare) *LIVE RTE 2

WEXFORD'S second-string return seeking redemption after a two-point defeat by Offaly last year cost them a coveted double.

With Colleen Atkinson, Jean Hayden, Fiona Rochford, Stacey Kehoe and Ciara O'Connor, they are a serious outfit and also include ex-senior star Aine Codd.

Antrim won the junior a year ago, but their new manager from Waterford, Joe Baldwin, has lost a lot of players from then. They'll be encouraged by how Wexford struggled with Derry in the semis, when their teenage super-sub Orla O'Hara grabbed a goal to shock Limerick, but Wexford won 2-11 to 1-7 in the group stages and should have too much for them again.

Verdict: Wexford

Antrim -- M Graham; C Carey, A Martin, A Mc Call; B Orchin, E Connolly, A Jackson; C Doherty, R Torney; M Convery, N McGuinness, C Hamill; K McAleese, J Adams (capt), L Mc Aleese.

Wexford -- H Jacob; C Atkinson (capt), B Holohan, F Doran; L O'Leary, A Codd, L Bolger; S Kehoe, S Nolan; L Codd, B Curran, S Redmond; C O'Connor, F Rochford, L Bolger.


Down v Waterford,

Croke Park, 12.0, W Cole (Cork)

Waterford hope this will be third time lucky, after losing last year's final to Antrim (a replay) and the previous one to Offaly.

Mark Cooney has taken over the good work done by Andy Moloney and they're back despite losing Aine Lyng and Shona Curran this season.

Karen Kelly, Trish Jackman and Michelle Morrissey are among the Decies' stars while Niamh Mallon, Catherine McGourty and Fionnuala Carr have helped Down back to their first final since 2004.

Down were not at full-strength when Waterford beat them by 11 points in July and the Munster women should swing it.

Verdict: Waterford

Down -- K Fegan; O Maginn, C McGovern, E McCormick; P Gribbin, F Carr, K Tinnelly; L McPolin, K McMullan; C McGourty, L McCrickard (capt), K O'Higgins; K Gribbin, SL Carr, N Mallon.

Waterford -- A O'Brien; E Hannon, J Simpson, KM Hearn; S Kiernan, C Raher, G Kenneally; P Jackman, D Fahey; N Rockett, N Morrissey (capt), A Hannon; R Geoghegan, K Kelly, Z O'Donoghue.

Irish Independent

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