After a great weekend of camogie in Galway last weekend, third level camogie’s attention now turns to University of Ulster Jordanstown and the semi-finals and finals of the Ashbourne Cup and Shield. UUJ are this year’s hosts of third level camogie’s most prestigious competition. UCD will be driven this weekend by the goal of putting back to back titles together. They had a convincing win over UL in the qualifier with captain Susie O’Carroll completing the day with a fantastic tally of 1-10. UCD are not without experience with many of last year’s winning side still available. The team is backboned by sisters Mary and Una Leacy along with mid-fielders Rena Buckley and Julianne Woodcock. Their defence also looks impressive with Mags Darcy between the posts and Tipperary’s Mairead Luttrell at full-back. UCD’s opposition in the semi-final is NUI Galway, who last lifted the Ashbourne Cup in 1994. Although underdogs NUIG will enter this contest eager to cause an upset. They fought out a closely contested battle in their qualifier seeing off CIT on a scoreline of 1-9 to 1-7. Cork’s Deirdre Twoomey scored 1-4 of her side’s tally that day and NUIG will look to her to lead their attack again on Saturday. Clare’s Laura Linnane will also be hoping to plot a win over UCD on Saturday and book her side a place in Sunday’s final.
The other final spot will be contested between Waterford IT and the Garda College. Both teams contested last year’s shield and have shown great progress to date to reach a cup semi-final. The Garda College defeated UUJ in their qualifier, thanks to a goal and 4 points from Kilkenny’s Marie O’Connor. Others to shine that day was Michelle Shortt from Tipperary and keeper Vanessa O’Donnell. Waterford IT also recorded a good win in their qualifier disposing of the challenge of UCC by 6 points. Their defence was outstanding on this occasion, in particular corner-back Therese Shortt a sister of the Garda College’s captain Michelle. Captain Ursula Jacob along with Collette Dormer will lead WIT’s attack on Saturday as they do your utmost to book a place in the cup final. Their last appearance in a final was in 2001. The Garda College have never won an Ashbourne Cup. They first took part in the competition in 2006 after winning the Purcell Cup in 2005. Since then they have made great strives and last year captured the shield title. So they will be full of confidence heading into Saturday’s final. WIT will also be determined to succeed and have left no stone unturned in preparation for this weekend.
After losing their qualifier games the 4 teams in this year’s shield final have since re-grouped and are now completely focussed on bringing silverware back to their respective colleges. UL take on CIT while UCC play hosts UUJ. UL’s side include Tipperary’s Sabina Larkin and Ciara Johnson along with Aine Lyng from Waterford and Kilkenny’s Edel Maher. CIT will be looking to players of the calibre of Katie Aherne, Colleen Long and Michelle Browne to defeat UL. UCC have plenty of talent in their side including Catriona Foley, Orla Cotter and Jill Horan. No doubt they will have a tough task against UUJ who will be eager to reach a final on their home turf. For UUJ Fionnuala Carr has been in fantastic form this season and she will be hoping to lead her side to a final on Sunday. While it would be impossible to predict the weekend winners, one thing is guaranteed, that is that a weekend of top class camogie is sure to unfold in Belfast.