THREE Kilkenny schools will be hoping for a top class Saturday as they chase three All-Ireland colleges camogie titles in Meath.
Trim will be the destination as teams from the Loreto, Thomastown’s Grennan College and Castlecomer Community School take on Ulster opposition in the Roinn A, B and C finals respectively.
The action begins at 12.30pm when Grennan College go in search of All-Ireland honours against St Louis, Ballymena. The Loreto Kilkenny will defend their All-Ireland A title against St Patrick’s Magherafelt at 2pm, with Castlecomer CS going for glory against St Pius Magherafelt.
Grennan College will be attempting to land All-Ireland honours for the very first time having contested the junior and senior finals over the last two years.
In 2009, they lost the All-Ireland C colleges decider, going under by a single point (1-9 to 0-11) to St Colm’s, Draperstown. Last year, they contested the All-Ireland Colleges Junior C decider against a very skilful Presentation Thurles outfit. Led by Kelly Hamilton they snatched a draw in the first game, but were comprehensively beaten in the replay.
A lot of Grennan hopes will rely on Hamilton, who is a supremely talented player, while Megan Farrell and the Donnelly sisters, Niamh and Eimear, are other important players for Thomastown.
Grennan’s path to the final saw them draw their All-Ireland semi-final with Hazelwood College, Drumcollogher 1-4 to 0-7. They turned the tables in the replay, scoring an emphatic 2-11 to 1-4 victory. St Louis had a hard-earned 1-9 to 1-8 victory over St Mary’s Mallow in their semi-final.
The Loreto will defend their All-Ireland title against St Pat’s. A repeat of last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, the city side scraped through by a solitary point in Northern Ireland last year. They can expect a stiff challenge provided to them once again.
Loreto have enjoyed unprecedented success over the last four years. Since winning their first All-Ireland colleges junior title in the Ragg in 2007 they added further junior crowns in 2009 and 2010 - they beat St Pat’s in the 2009 decider. Several of the team started last year’s All-Ireland final, so the side is highly experienced.
The Loreto cruised into the decider. They beat St Brigid’s, Callan by 1-16 to 0-6 in the Leinster final, before goals from Claire Phelan and Niamh Byrne laid the foundations for their semi-final win over St Brigid’s, Loughrea.
This is a strong Loreto team and features a defensive unit which has been very solid in their two games to date.
The midfield pairing of team captain Niamh Byrne and Aisling Curtis provides plenty of graft. Claire Phelan at centre-forward is a very talented player, while Sarah-Anne Quinlan, Emma Comerford, Lydia Fitzpatrick, Orla Hanrick and Aoife Nolan have the potential to be matchwinners.
Their opponents St Pat’s overcame Presentation Thurles in their semi-final, edging the tie by 1-11 to 3-4. They have had tough encounters with Loreto over the last two years at junior and senior level, and this is another game which should go right to the wire.
The Roinn C final rounds off the afternoon as Castlecomer Community School go in search of their very first All-Ireland.
They will go up against St Pius, who will be attempting to make it an All-Ireland double for Magherafelt schools.
The ’Comer school came through their semi-final with slender 1-4 to 0-6 victory over St Dominics Cabra of Dublin and they can expect another tough challenge in the final. St Pius beat Limerick’s Laurel Hill by three points (2-9 to 2-6) in their semi-final clash and will provide stern opposition.