Another hectic weekend of club camogie action in Kilkenny is on the cards as the semi-finals of the St Canices Credit Union senior and intermediate championships are played along with the semi-final of the junior A championship between Tullogher and Danesfort and the junior championship B final between O’Loughlin Gaels and newcomers Conahy Shamrocks.
Two intriguing senior semi-finals are in prospect on Sunday in the most competitive championship for several years following a decade of dominance by the hugely talented St Lachtain’s, who won every county senior championship – except 2002 – between 1998 and 2009.
At 1.30pm Windgap, who were unlucky to lose out in the senior league final to Thomastown, play St Lachtain’s in the last four for the third consecutive year, while at 4.30pm league champions Thomastown play defending senior champions, Mullinavat.
On Saturday evening, the first of the intermediate semi-finals take place as Piltown play Tullaroan, while on Sunday (11am) the second intermediate semi-final goes ahead between Dicksboro and Paulstown.
St Canice’s Credit Union senior semi-finals
St Lachtain’s v Windgap on Sunday (1.30pm) - St Lachtain’s were heartbroken following a last gasp strike from Leanne Fennelly and Mullinavat in last year’s county senior final, and earlier in the year they unexpectedly flirted with relegation following three straight defeats to Lisdowney, St Martin’s and Mullinavat.
However, the year has improved following consecutive victories over St Brigid’s and St Martin’s. They will fancy their chances.
A number of the younger players have been given chances to establish themselves following the retirement of some stalwarts who gave sterling service.
The Freshford side still possess a wealth of experience with the likes of Anne Dalton, Deirdre Delaney, Aoife Fitzpatrick and ace-poacher Marie O’Connor.
Windgap lost out to Lachtain’s in the last two semi-finals, but they are a young team whose graph is on an upward curve. They are closer to the top level than the previous two years.
They were naturally disappointed to lose the league final, and a more attacking approach during the last quarter could have seen the result changed.
Victory over Mullinavat in the league semi-final is an indication of their growing stock. They will fancy their chances.
Mullinavat v Thomastown Sunday (4.30pm) - The defending senior champions against the league champions who are a young team on the rise. Mullinavat displayed inconsistency earlier.
Victories over St Lachtains and St Martin’s were followed by a shock defeat at home to Lisdowney, and then they relinquished the league crown to Windgap in the semi-final.
However, the ladies returned to their best mood when easily dismantling Lisdowney (5-16 to 2-4). The return of Leanne Fennelly from the US has added potency to the attack, and with the Aylward sisters Elaine, Sinead, Michelle Quilty, plus youngsters Julie Anne Malone and Aine Kinsella, they form a formidable force.
Thomastown recorded their first league title success when defeating Windgap in a thriller. Their senior silverware success was just reward for a group who won all before them at under-14, 16, minor and under-21 level.
They will feel confident they can go all the way in the not too distant future.
St Canices Credit Union intermediate championship semi-finals
Piltown v Tullaroan on Saturday (5pm) - Piltown recovered from their mauling against Dicksboro in the league semi-final when they defeated St Anne’s two weeks ago. Katie Power reappeared after being inactive all summer. She slotted into the goalkeeping position.
Piltown will fancy their chances.
The last three junior champions represent the four semi-finalists on show in this year’s intermediate semi-final.
Tullaroan have been lying low for at least five weeks since their absorbing victory over Paulstown in the league semi-final, 8-8 to 6-11. They are a talented young side with winners throughout.
Girls like Grace and Miriam Walsh and Noelle Maher are used to winning All-Irelands at colleges level with Loreto. Piltown have the advantage of a recent competitive game.
However, Tullaroan are a better, more balanced side.
Dicksboro v Paulstown on Sunday (11am) - This is another compelling semi-final. Dicksboro, like Tullaroan, have been lying low.
Paulstown easily defeated an understrength Rower-Inistioge, so they have the advantage of a recent game.
The Boro haven’t played since their hammering of an under-strength Piltown in the league semi-final at the end of August.
Another close game. Paulstown will look to inter-county senior player, Collette Dormer along with talented forward Eilish Cantwell to drive them into a county final.