All-Ireland premier junior final in association with RT+ Sport
Preview by Daragh O’Conchuir
Down v Waterford
Croke Park, 12pm
Referee: Walter Cole
There is a sense amongst Waterford’s camogie cognoscenti that it’s now or never and certainly, their representatives are warm favourites to annex the Premier Junior title at last, having fallen at the final hurdle on the last two occasions.
Last year’s setback was particularly hard to take, given that they were in match-winning positions in both the drawn game and the replay but Antrim’s subsequent showing at Intermediate level shows the level they are at.
So too did their success over the Saffrons in the Irish Daily Star Division 2 League final, and even though the teams were only separated by a point, the 0-16 to 2-9 scoreline told its own story. Waterford will be playing Division 1 camogie next year and they will be desperate to do so as an Intermediate side.
Down have made significant strides and are a well-rounded outfit. The county has a fine tradition at this level, winning the inaugural final at the grade in 1968. They’ve added two more titles since, in 1976 and 1991,while their last appearance in the final was back in 2004.
They only lost by a point to Antrim in last season’s semi-final though, so it is no surprise to see them in the decider this time around.
Karen Kelly is deadly dangerous in attack for the Suirsiders, while Trish Jackman’s commanding presence is the foundation for many an attack. Added to that, the Poc Fada champion’s long and accurate striking ensures that opponents have to be very careful about conceding frees from as far out as 70m. Nicola Morrissey is also an inspirational operator.
Niamh Mallon, Catherine McGourty and Fionnuala Carr are just some of those to look out for when Down take to the field.
Waterford had 11 points in hand when they met in July but Down were not at full strength on that occasion. It should be much closer this time.