The eagerly anticipated Ashbourne and Purcell Cup takes place this weekend in the University of Limerick UL. The Ashbourne Cup semi finals will take centre stage on Saturday with UL, WIT, UCD and NUIG all vying for a place in Sunday’s final writes Fionnuala Carr.
Ashbourne Cup Semi-Finals previews
Host’s UL will play the first semi final at 1pm on Saturday when they take on Connacht College NUI Galway. UL captain Maria Walsh will be hoping to lead her charges to victory in what will be a tricky encounter against NUIG. The Limerick college topped Group A with excellent victories over UCC and UCD. The Bolger sisters Lisa and Linda, Cork Captain Julia White and Tipperary’s Cait Devane form the backbone of the team and they along with Maria Walsh will be hoping to go one further than last year when they were beaten by Waterford IT in the Ashbourne Cup final.
NUIG go into the game as an unknown quantity. They finished runners-up in Group B behind WIT and ahead of UUJ. NUIG recorded a comprehensive victory over UUJ before taking on WIT in Waterford. The NUIG girls fought valiantly for three quarters of the match before finally succumbing to Ashbourne favourites and defending champions WIT.
In the second semi final Dublin college UCD will take on WIT in what should be a thrilling semi final. UCD have not reached the final of the Ashbourne Cup since 2009 when they were prevented from winning the three in a row by WIT. WIT have since gone on to win four Ashbourne Cup finals and UCD will be hoping to extract some revenge when they go head to head on Saturday at 3pm. UCD are backboned by Katie O’Dwyer, Grace Walsh and the free scoring Susie O’Carroll. Monaghan’s Eileen McElroy and Alison Maguire provide the experience for UCD and they will be hoping to provide an attacking launch pad.
WIT are defending champions and firm Ashbourne favourites and they still boast an abundance of talent and can call on 2012 Camogie All Star Katrina Parrock, former young player of the year Denise Gaule and Laois defender Sarah Ann Fitzgerald. WIT recorded a comprehensive victory against UUJ in the group stages followed by victory over NUIG in the final group game. WIT will be hoping that Katie Power has recovered in time from her injury and Patricia Jackman continues her strong performances from last year.
Both semi finals will prove to be intriguing battles. UL should overcome NUIG while WIT will be hoping that their experience will help them overcome UCD. UCD will go into the game as underdogs but their quiet build up to the competition could see them upset the odds and make it through to the final on Sunday.
Pitch 1 North Campus
1pm University of Limerick –v- NUI Galway
3pm Waterford Institute of Technology –v- University of College Dublin.
Follow the action on twitter at twitter.com/officialcamogie and #Ashbournefinals
*Pictured: Top College Camogie Stars receive 2013 Camogie Bursaries. l-r; Fiona Keating, from Westmeath, attending St Patrick's College, Dublin, Tanya Johnson, from Kildare, attending Dundalk IT, Brona McIntyre, from Antrim, attending UUJ Jordanstown, Shauneen Donaghy, from Derry, attending Queens, Belfast, and Maureen Heneghan, from Derry, attending NUIG Galway. St Patricks college, Drumcondra, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn