Minors keen to avenge All-Ireland heartache

A DOUBLE dose of heartache will be the spur as the Kilkenny minor camogie panel go chasing All-Ireland glory this weekend.

A DOUBLE dose of heartache will be the spur as the Kilkenny minor camogie panel go chasing All-Ireland glory this weekend.

The 2011 season was a year to forget for the panel, the majority of whom suffered one-point defeats to Tipp in both the under-16 and minor All-Ireland finals. That will be a motivating factor as the Cats try to regain the minor title for the first time since 2009 when they go up against Galway this Saturday in Nenagh (throw-in is 2.30pm).

The All-Ireland minor championship was run at under-16 level until 2005, before the introduction of the under-18 grade 12 months later.

Kilkenny were dominant at one stage, capturing four consecutive All-Irelands from 2006 to 2009, before their winning streak was ended by an injury-time point from Galway’s Rebecca Hennelly in the 2010 All-Ireland semi-final.

The Cats got their revenge 12 months later, beating Galway in the 2011 semi-final (3-16 to 3-9) but they lost the final to Tipp, surrendering a nine-point interval lead (2-6 to 0-1) as they crashed out on a 4-4 to 2-9 scoreline.

Nine of the starting 15 from their All-Ireland semi-final victory were involved last year’s All-Ireland minor final defeat. With the likes of Miriam Walsh, Megan Farrell and Lydia Fitzpatrick having also played in the under-16 final, they will striving to make amends for the hurt and pain of last year.

Kilkenny’s new manager Damien Walsh from Ballyragget and his back-room team of Matt Doran, Patsy Murphy and Dave Gallagher have done an excellent job in preparing the team for the challenge. In their opening clash with Galway, some astute tactical changes helped turn the game around. A Kelly Hamilton goal, along with late pointed frees from Lydia Fitzpatrick and Orla Hanrick, ensured a one-point victory.

Given a bye into the semi-finals Kilkenny made light of their six-week lay-off, giving an inspired performance as they beat Cork by 1-10 to 1-5 in a hard-fought encounter.

The Kilkenny defence has been outstanding in both games to date, led by versatile centre-back Miriam Walsh. The midfielders and attacking division have worked extremely hard, but the management team will be hoping for a greater return on the scoreboard. Kilkenny have only scored 1-4 from play this year; a greater return will be required if they are to go one better than last year and take the title.

The panel

Aine Kinsella (18). Club: Mullinavat. School: Abbey Community College, Ferrybank.

Niamh Phelan (18). Club: Windgap. School: St Brigid’s, Callan.

Megan Farrell (17). Club: Thomastown. School: Grennan College, Thomastown.

Kate Holland (18). Club: Lisdowney. School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Kelly Hamilton (18). Club: Rower-Inistioge. School: Grennan College.

Lydia Fitzpatrick (17). Club: St Lachtain’s (Freshford). School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Miriam Walsh (17). Club: Tullaroan. School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Orla Hanrick (18). Club: Dicksboro. School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Rachel Hogan (18). Club: Danesfort. School: St Brigid’s, Callan.

Sarah-Anne Quinlan (18). Club: Young-Irelands (Gowran). School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Niamh Bambrick (18). Club: Windgap. School: St Brigid’s, Callan.

Laura Dunne (18). Club: Danesfort. School: St Brigid’s, Callan.

Noelle Murphy (17). Club: Lisdowney. School: Heywood Community School, Ballinakill.

Catherine Foley (17). Club: Windgap. School: St Brigid’s, Callan.

Michaela Kenneally (16). Club: Windgap. School: Presentation Kilkenny.

Julie-Anne Malone (17). Club: Mullinavat. School: Scoil Aireagail, Ballyhale.

Lorraine Long (16). Club: Piltown. School: Scoil Mhuire, Carrick-on-Suir.

Anna Buggy (17). Club: Conahy. School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Aine Gannon (16). Club: Rower-Inistioge. School: Mercy Convent, New Ross.

Marie Doheny (18). Club: St Brigid’s (Ballycallan). School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Katie Doheny (17). Club: St Lachtain’s. School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Siobhan Corcoran (17). Club: St Anne’s (Galmoy/Johnstown). School: Colaiste Mhuire, Johnstown.

Amy Bryan (17). Club: O’Loughlin Gaels. School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Niamh Leahy (17). Club: Emeralds (Urlingford). School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Lauren Barcoe (17). Club: Paulstown. School: Borris Vocational School.

Christina Lyng (16). Club: Rower-Inistioge. School: St Mary’s Convent, New Ross.

Tara Hogan (18). Club: St Brigid’s. School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Jennifer Norris (17). Club: Piltown. School: Scoil Mhuire, Carrick-on-Suir.

Laura Hegarty (16). Club: Lisdowney. School: Heywood Community School, Ballinakill.

Mary Corcoran (16). Club: St Anne’s. School: Colaiste Mhuire, Johnstown.

Chloe Power (17). Club: James Stephens. School: Loreto Kilkenny.

Antoinette Power (16). Club: St Brigid’s. School: St Brigid’s, Callan.

Kate Croke (17). Club: Slieverue. School: Abbey Community College, Ferrybank.