Away from the big stage, the bright lights and the glare of the TV cameras, Derry camogie manager John A Mullan is confident that his side can complete their All-Ireland mission at the second time of asking this weekend.
The Oak Leaf side fought back from the jaws of defeat to snatch a draw against Galway two weeks ago at Headquarters, and in the less intimidating surroundings of Ashbourne this Saturday afternoon, the Derry boss is fully confident that his side will lay claim to the All-Ireland crown.
“I am putting it down to the fact that it was a televised game from Croke Park. We didn’t play the way we had done all season. Even when we were playing alright in the first half, we still weren’t playing the style of camogie which we had planned. We just never got off the ground at all."
“Even when we were a point up near the end, I would have been content enough with a draw. Being realistic about it, we were extremely lucky to have got out of there with a draw because for long spells we were very much under pressure, unable to even get our hands on the ball. So we were very happy to get ourselves a second shot at it".
“The two weeks have been good because it allowed a week to come down from the All-Ireland final, back to the point we should have been at, before spending this week building back up to the final and getting into the mindset we know we need to be at if we are to play the high tempo, skilful camogie we are capable of.”
The Derry boss reports a clean bill of health ahead of the replay, and although the opportunity for what would have been the perfect 100 percent season has passed them by, Mullan admits that simply finishing the year unbeaten and with an All-Ireland title secured will be more than enough for him and his troops.
“A one-point victory in the final will be more than enough for us. The opportunity for the perfect season has gone now, it’s finished, so now it’s simply up to us to finish the job and deliver the title, whatever margin that proves to be by.”
*copy c/o Ciaran Woods from Gaelic Life