A CLASH of near-neighbours is the mouth-watering club tie at junior camogie level this weekend.
The Blacks & Whites (Skeoughvosteen) and Young Irelands (Gowran) will battle it out for a place in the final while Tullogher and Mooncoin will face off for a semi-final berth.
Junior championship semi-final - Young Irelands v Blacks & Whites
Young Irelands were heartbroken to lose out by a point in last year’s junior final to Tullaroan. However, they have come back stronger this year and remained unbeaten on their way to league title success.
However, it’s the championship that matters the most, and after Glenmore were surprised by Saturday’s opponents in the quarter-final, the Gowran girls know it’s going to be a battle if they are to deliver on their favourites tag and win the junior spoils.
The Blacks & Whites are gathering momentum. That surprise victory down in Glenmore, which followed an inconsistent league campaign, means they are serious about contending for Junior honours.
The Skeough girls have quality in their ranks. Anne-Marie Lennon is a top class goalkeeper, while Sinead Kelly, Emma Carroll and Anne-Marie Maloney are all important players.
Sarah-Anne Quinlan is the leader of the Gowran attack and her display will be important as they attempt to get back into a county final. Emma Comerford, who won colleges All-Irelands with the Loreto and inter-county under-16 and minor All-Irelands with Kilkenny, is another important player.
Young Irelands beat the Blacks & Whites at the quarter-final stage last year and a close contest is expected this year.
The fact that the Skeough girls scored such a victory over Glenmore has given them that extra self-belief. It may prove significant here.
Junior championship quarter-final - Tullogher v Mooncoin
Tullogher haven’t gone as well as they would like this year. Missing some important players has been a factor but they have the experience, with inter-county seniors Catriona Ryan, Siobhan Murphy, Marie Ryan, Linda Cotterell, Elaine Mullally and Joanne Cotterell in their ranks.
Mooncoin operated in Junior B last year. They won the league final against O’Loughlin Gaels before the result was reversed in the championship decider.
Tullogher struggled early in the group stages of the league before turning on the style in their last game, firing nine goals past Conahy Shamrocks. They have the potential to mount a challenge for junior honours.
Mooncoin beat O’Loughlin Gaels and the Blacks & Whites in the group stages of the league, but Saturday may be a bridge too far.
Junior B championship semi-final - Conahy Shamrocks v Emeralds
For the first time Conahy Shamrocks have an adult camogie team this year, but the league campaign was forgettable as they lost all their matches. Since then they have bounced back in winning style. The Shamrocks turned the corner when they overcame Bennettsbridge by two points in the first round of the championship.
However, Emeralds beat Conahy Shamrocks by 4-13 to 1-8 in the opening round of the group stages of the league. They are favourites to get a repeat result here - but in a closer battle.
Junior B championship semi-final - O’Loughlin Gaels v Carrickshock
O’Loughlin Gaels finished off the league campaign with victory over Mooncoin. The city side, defending Junior B champions, are among the favourites to retain the title. As for Carrickshock they struggled in the group stages of the league, winning just one of their five matches.
O’Loughlin’s will be hoping the Buckley sisters, Sarah and Stephanie, can lead them back into a junior final. They may get their wish.