Carlow trio Mary Coady, Shannon Kavanagh and Lorraine Bible are primed and ready for their upcoming battle with Limerick in the Liberty Insurance All Ireland Junior A final in Moneygall this coming Sunday at 2.30pm.
It’s not quite the changing of the guard rather like adding to a fortress which was pretty strong. At the start of the year, a number of promising young players were added to the Carlow camogie panel giving a good mixture of youth and experience.
For instance, Mary Coady was on the Carlow team that won its first ever Leinster title in 1993. It’s a measure of the progress of Carlow camogie when you can add in the likes of Marian Doyle, Ciara Mullins, Lisa Abbey and Tara Wilson, who have achieved success at club and county level. Young players such as Niamh Canavan, Kate Nolan and Suzanne Fenelon have come on board while teenager Shannon Kavanagh is another who is stepping up to the mark.
Working as a teacher in Wexford involves a lengthy commute for Mary Coady to Carlow and with so many hours on the road, it would have been difficult not to contemplate moving to a club in Wexford?
“You know it is a question I have been asked many times. Over the years I have played challenge matches and when we played Wexford teams, some of their mentors did ask me would I play down there. I never even considered it. Never, never. St. Mullins is my club. I would have loved to have played in Croke Park but Carlow is my county. I am where I am from. It wasn’t for me.”
Shannon Kavanagh is only sixteen years old but has played in all of Carlow's championship games this season. She is a settled panel member now, but admits she was star-struck when she stepped into the dressing room for the first time and looked around her.
“To be honest, it was scary. Looking at these girls who had won so much. They were like heroes. When we got to know them on the pitch, they were ordinary people and it was so easy to get on with them,” recalled the Mount Leinster Ranger player.
“The young girls stepped up to the panel this year and that is one of the main reasons why we are in an All-Ireland final. They earned their places. Shannon came onto the team this year and had a stormer against Westmeath. They have worked very hard. No-one did them any favours. They have been a huge addition,” remarks Coady.
Kavanagh could have played for St. Mullins. Her cousins include Marty and Jack Kavanagh while her father, James, won senior championship medals with the club.
While she still has a long way to go to reach the heights which Mary Coady has attained, she has already collected an All-Ireland medal with Borris Vocational School.
“Winning the All-Ireland seven-a-side and two Leinster camogie titles is definitely a highlight for me but I have under-14 football and camogie county medals too.”
For Lorraine Bible there is an added incentive to beat Limerick. She is a second year student in the University of Limerick and while she doesn’t have any connections with the opposition players, some of her friends would be aware of her connections with camogie in Carlow.
“I know a good lot of girls down there and it would be nice to be going back to college with that All-Ireland medal to show them,” she said.
Liberty Insurance All Ireland Junior A Final
Carlow v Limerick, Sunday August 24th, 2.30pm, Moneygall
* Pictured Eileen Murphy (Carlow) and Noreen Barry (Limerick) head of ther Liberty Insurance All Irleand Junior A Final
*copy c/o Kieran Murphy on behalf of Carlow Camogie Board