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It’s a busy weekend for college stars Jill Horan and Karen Kelly who will compete in the senior and junior club finals respectively. Jill will line out for Tipp club Cashel in the senior final against Galway’s Athenry whilst WIT player Kelly will be leading the attack for St Anne’s against Ulster side Lavey in the junior final. 

Speaking ahead of tomorrows’ finals both players talked about their ambitions for the college year and how they balance such hectic training and academic schedules.

UCC star player Jill believes that UCC Ashbourne success can be achieved for the first time since 2003 “”we have a great chance this year, we have a more balanced and all round team compared to last year with quite a few fresher’s and newcomers, everyone is training well and with a bit of hard work and a bit of luck then we wont be too far away come February.””

It has been a long physically and mentally demanding season for both players and in an era where player burnout is to the fore it is hard to imagine how they continually reach the high standards they set for themselves and now the college season is only starting with they will be hoping to achieve Ashbourne Cup success.  Both players know what it takes to achieve success and the sacrifices that have to be made.

  Playing senior inter-county, club, college and in her final year of a Masters, Jill admits “”yes it can be hard to stay motivated all year round but burnout isn’t a problem because I love playing and keeping fit, when I stop enjoying what I do I will know then that its is time for me to stop playing but until then I’ll play for as long as I can””

Cashel will contest their second All Ireland club final in three years against a strong Athenry side and after the frustration of the postponement of last week the Cashel player is extremely focused and determined “”we are really looking forward to the game, Athenry are a very good side and we are under no illusions that it will be an extremely tough match but we are well up for it and we are going to give it one hundred percent and hopefully the field will hold up for a great game of camogie””

Top scorer Karen Kelly has put the disappointment of losing this year’s All Ireland Junior final to Offaly behind her and focused on club success with St Anne’s.  She hopes to finish off a highly successful season after just recently been awarded with a Soaring Star and a third level camogie bursary with an All Ireland club medal.  After beating the holders in the semi final she is aware that the favourites tag will lie with St Anne’s but is fully aware of what will be a hugely competitive match against a physically strong Lavey side. 

Trainings and matches are coming thick and fast for Kelly and she too admits that it can be very demanding playing college camogie “”yes it is tough and a lot of sacrifices have to be made but when your playing in an All Ireland club final it isn’t hard to get motivated, I love playing and when Sunday is over I will be able to concentrate fully on WIT””. 

WIT have reached the final of the league and will take on Ashbourne hosts CIT in their qualifier Karen believes that it will take a good team to beat them “”we are really looking forward to this year, we have a few excellent fresher’s who would get on any team in the country and if we keep training the way we are then we will be prepared to play anyone””.

With talented players such as this on display this years Ashbourne promises to be an exciting affair and CCAO would like to take this opportunity to wish both players the best of luck in their respective finals and we look forward to them competing in the Ashbourne in February.

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