THE Dicksboro camogie girls will have Leinster glory in mind this weekend when they play the queens of Laois, Harps of Durrow in the Leinster intermediate final in Palmerstown.
Following the euphoria of their dramatic last gasp injury-time victory over Tullaroan in the county final, it will be back to business for Dicksboro in Leinster. They travelled to Dublin to face Lucan Sarsfields in the semi-final, and won by 3-10 to 1-9. They led by 2-5 to 1-4 at the interval with the goals from Niamh O’Donoghue and Orla Hanrick.
O’Donoghue and Hanrick also pointed during the opening-half with Jenny Dillon also finding the range. A scrambled goal in the second half sent the ’Boro on their way. Niamh O’Donoghue added four further points to stretch the advantage. O’Donoghue was top scorer with 1-6 (0-3 frees).
Harps are seasoned campaigner and they have been fantastic for camogie in Laois. They achieved a hat-trick of All-Irelands from 2006 to 2008 before their adventure ended when defeated by 3-10 to 0-16 by St Anne’s in the All-Ireland semi-final in 2009.
The Leinster intermediate championship was run for the first time last year. Harps won it by overcoming near neighbours, a youthful and brave Lisdowney by 0-12 to 1-7 in Durrow.
Harps eventually contested the All-Ireland club final in March, but they lost to Eoghan Rua, Derry by 3-8 to 2-3.
The Laois champions made it six in-a-row by winning a hard fought county final against Camross by 0-10 to 1-4, before negotiating a bruising encounter against Bunclody (1-9 to 1-7) in the Leinster semi-final last weekend.
Those results suggest that Harps are not the formidable force they once were. Nevertheless, they are a powerful, physically strong outfit with experience in abundance.
Denise Quigley and Catriona Phelan are commanding figures in defence. The Dicksboro forwards who have been in devastating goal scoring form all year, won’t find goals easy to come by.
The Mahonys’ Elaine, Aine and Louise are experienced players who have been great servants to the Durrow club.
Dicksboro have scored 29 goals in their seven competitive matches this year – over four goals on average a game – and in all their games, they haven’t tallied less than three goals.
If a similar outcome transpires this weekend, provincial glory will be theirs.
There is a feeling that this may be the only chance that the ’Boro girls might get at winning a Leinster title. Certainly for the likes of the older players Jenny Dillon, Anne-Marie Hoyne and team captain Emer Tynan, this is a golden opportunity.
Harps have the experience, but the ’Boro are younger and fresher. They may be significant factors. Also, there is a hunger and determination to win a Leinster title, and that may prove to be the difference.
Lachtain’s in Leinster
St Lachtain’s (Freshford) won five Leinster titles in succession from 2003-2007, and they will be attempting to get back into the Leinster senior final for the first time since 2008 when they face Wexford champions, Oulart the Ballagh in the semi-final this weekend.
The Northerners regained the Kilkenny title in emphatic fashion, destroying Windgap and Mullinavat in the semi-final and final respectively. There is plenty of experience still involved. All have been through the mill at Leinster and All-Ireland level. They will be quietly confident of reaching the final.
Oulart are the defending Leinster champions. They easily defeated Rathnure in the county final, 3-10- to 1-6. It was their third championship win in succession. They are also attempting to win their third Leinster title in succession.
However, All-Ireland glory has eluded them. In the 2009 All-Ireland semi-final against Cashel they were defeated by 1-14 to 2-7.
Last February they were undone at the semi-final stage by eventual All-Ireland champions Killimor (0-9 to 0-8). Oulart are a serious outfit. They have Wexford inter-county senior stars and All-Stars, the Leacy sisters and prolific forward Ursula Jacob in their ranks.
For Lachtain’s, players like Gillian-Dillon-Maher, Imelda Kennedy, the Connery sisters Aine and Sinead, the Fizpatrick sisters Eileen, Aoife and Lydia – who haven’t won a Leinster senior championship medal – as well as Anne Dalton and Deirdre Delaney are a formidable opposition for anyone. They defeated Oulart in a challenge six weeks ago, although the Wexford girls were without their inter-county stars.
A number of the Oulart girls have been involved non-stop with club and county over the last three years, but there is still a hunger, determination, eagerness and freshness about their play. Unquestionably it will be a tough ask, but the Freshford girls have made a habit of winning.