by Cian Nelson
Last year’s All-Ireland Senior Championship went right to the very last puck of a sliotar, as Cork’s Julia White scored a dramatic winner against Kilkenny to finally separate the two fierce rivals and in the process made Cork the most successful county in Camogie history with a record 27th All-Ireland title.
The Rebels will be back in familiar territory of being the team to beat having now won three of the last four All-Ireland titles. They have been drawn in Group 2 for this year’s Championship which includes Dublin, Meath, Offaly, Tipperary and Wexford whom they will open their title defence against in a mouth-watering start to the campaign between two of the game’s heavyweights. Cork will be aiming for top spot and an automatic passage to the Semi-Finals. They will be buoyed by their form again this year as they went through the group stage of their National League campaign with a 100% record and then swept past Limerick in the Semi-Final en route to the Final where they faced Kilkenny before being on the reverse of another one-point game against the Cats in the Final.
This is a tight group in which Dublin, Offaly, Tipperary and Wexford will all realistically fancy their chances of making the knockout stages and even pushing for top spot in the group. Meath will be looking to impress in this their first year at Senior level having claimed the Intermediate title last year.
In Group 2 Kilkenny will be the team to beat and face a tough opening test away to Limerick. The Cats will be eager to regain the O’Duffy Cup and avenge their agonising Final defeat last September. They have blooded several new players into their starting line-up thus far in 2018 as they made steady progress to reach the National League Final as they defeated Galway in the Semi-Final before a hard-fought Final victory over their great rivals Cork to claim a third League title in-a-row.
This is a strong group with little to choose between Clare, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. Galway and Limerick both reached the Semi-Finals of the National League whilst Clare and Waterford also enjoyed promising League campaigns.
There are many exciting players to keep an eye out for across all of the Senior teams, in particular; Clare’s Chloe Morey, Cork’s Amy O’Connor, Dublin’s Eimear McCarthy, Galway’s Aoife Donohue, Kilkenny’s Danielle Morrisey, Limerick’s Niamh Mulcahy, Meath's Louise Donoghue, Offaly's Siobhán Flannery, Tipperary's Orla O'Dwyer, Waterford's Beth Carton and Wexford’s Sarah O’Connor to name but a few.
Fixtures: Saturday June 9th
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 1
Galway v Clare, Pearse Stadium @ 5pm – Double-header with Galway v Dublin in Leinster Hurling Championship @ 7pm
Limerick v Kilkenny, Bruff GAA @ 5pm
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 2
Cork v Wexford, Páirc Uí Rinn @ 5pm
Dublin v Offaly, Parnell Park @ 5pm
Tipperary v Meath, The Ragg @ 5pm