IT PROMISES to be a big weekend on the camogie scene, as silverware will be up for grabs in three adult championships.
By Sunday evening the destination of the titles should be known. Mullinavat will be hoping to retain their senior crown against St Lachtain’s (Freshford), while Tullaroan will tackle Dicksboro in the intermediate encounter. There will also be junior joy for either Young Irelands (Gowran) or Tullogher in the third big game of the weekend.
Senior camogie championship final - St Lachtain’s v Mullinavat
For the third consecutive year, Mullinavat and St Lachtain’s will meet in Kilkenny camogie’s senior showpiece of the year.
The score reads 1-1 following Leanne Fennelly’s dramatic late strike as Mullinavat snatched victory in last year’s decider to win the senior championship for the first time.
The midfield area will be a key battle. Expect Anne Dalton and Leanne Fennelly to feature prominently in that sector.
The Mullinavat half-forward line of Angela Kenneally, Julie-Anne Malone and Miriam Frisby can expect to provide able assistance in helping the midfield that will leave space for Michelle Quilty to do damage up front. Quilty will fancy her chances of running riot in the final, as St Lachtain’s conceded five goals in the semi-final.
The Mullinavat defence is very solid and astute led by the Aylward sisters Elaine and Sinead, who have been part of the backbone of their success over the past. Meanwhile the battle of the two Sinead’s Aylward and Connery may prove to be a key duel.
This is an intriguing final which is expected to go down to the wire, but St Lachtain’s were hurt following last year’s defeat at the death. That could be the motivating factor.
Verdict: St Lachtain’s.
Intermediate camogie championship final - Tullaroan v Dicksboro
Tullaroan and Dicksboro meet in what should be a gripping intermediate final.
Both sides were impressive in their respective semi-finals; Tullaroan had a resounding 11-point victory over Piltown, while Dicksboro defeated Paulstown in an epic thriller.
The clubs are the most impressive in the county, both having claimed junior titles since 2008.
Tullaroan have plenty of young talent in abundance with Grace Walsh, Miriam Walsh, Noelle Maher. Aine Fahey at centre-forward is another experienced key player.
Both sides certainly know where the goalposts are - Dicksboro have scored 23 goals in five matches, while their opponents have bagged 25 goals in their five games. Crucially, Tullaroan have conceded 16 goals in all their games, while Dicksboro have leaked eight.
Needless to say, Tullaroan will need to stop conceding goals or else Orla Hanrick and co will punish them.
However, they have they greater firepower up front and that may make the ultimate difference.
Verdict: Tullaroan (narrowly).
Junior camogie championship final - Young Irelands (Gowran) v Tullogher
This is another epic contest to look forward to.
The Gowran girls are unbeaten this year, tasting league success along the way, but it’s the championship they crave the most.
A number of the girls were involved in the heartbreaking minor thriller defeat against Danesfort, while inter-county senior star Sarah Anne Quinlan will have a key part to play in the final.
Generally, Young Irelands are a young team with the average age around the early 20s mark.
Tullogher are a very experienced outfit, a team who will be hoping to make their way back up towards the senior ranks.
There is plenty of experience there with inter-county senior goalkeeper Catriona Ryan and Siobhan Murphy (a major doubt following her ankle injury in the semi-final win over Danesfort), while Linda and Joanne Cotterell and Elaine Mullally rank among the best for the South Kilkenny contingent.
An absorbing close contest will emerge, but the hurt and pain from last year’s county final can spur Young Irelands on to greater effort to help them get over the finishing line.
Verdict: Young Irelands (Gowran).