Eoghan Cormican looks ahead to the All Ireland Junior Club Final
With Christmas just around the corner, the All Ireland junior crown up for grabs this afternoon is undoubtedly top of the wish list for Munster Champions Corofin and Four Roads of Roscommon, who lock horns in this eagerly awaited joust.
Today’s encounter may not carry the same appeal as other deciders around this time of year, or generate the same media interest but you can be sure that there’s not many sporting enthusiasts in North Clare or South Roscommon who won’t make the short journey to Kenny Park, Athenry for what promises to be a riveting contest.
Adding to the Nancy Murray Cup captured last year, an All Ireland club title for Four Roads would represent another major step in the development of camogie in Roscommon. Nevertheless, their presence in today’s final is proof positive of the huge strides made by all involved in the small ball game in the county.
Boosted by provincial success, Corofin will certainly not be lacking in confidence ahead of their first All Ireland final appearance.
Their talented centre-forward Clare Commane stepped up to the plate in the semi-final shooting 2-9, while, on the other side, Four Roads sharpshooter Lizzie Glennon-Tully tallied 1-7. Indeed, both teams possess a potent forward division and it may come down to which defence can best stamp their authority on proceedings.
Four Roads manager Simon Coyle will be hoping that his half back line and midfield can get the kind of possession grip that they enjoyed in their historic semi-final win against Kilmessan, for there’s enough wile to Lizzie Glennon-Tully and power in Niamh Coyle to turn the screw on the Corofin rearguard. Although at the other end Corofin will be confident that they too can inflict damage.
Centre-forward Clare Commane-whose battle with Siobhan Coyle should be one of the intriguing subplots of Sunday’s tie-will spearhead the attack, ably assisted by Aoife Davoren and Marie Rafferty, both of whom are well capable of finding the target.
Dead ball specialist Commane amassed an incredible 2-9 in the semi-final, with Edel Keating and Clare minor Niamh O’Dea forming a formidable midfield partnership.Further back the field, full back Muireann Kelleher, Lisa Clancy and Brenda O’Donoghue operate a frugal rearguard.
Certainly, Four Roads semi-final win was a statement in itself, decorated with unrelenting commitment, flair, skill and electrifying pace from a potent offensive unit. Each of these ingredients contributed to a comfortable 2-13 to 0-6 win over Leinster Champions Kilmessan.
Interestingly, Four Roads were unsuccessful at provincial level losing out to Sarsfields of Galway who will represent Connacht at intermediate level.
That said, for Four Roads, this afternoon represents a shot at redemption. Having lost out to Lavey of Derry in the semi-final twelve months ago, their semi-final victory over Meath outfit Kilmessan ensured their passage in the showpiece event.
Corofin, however, were made to work all the way at the penultimate stage with two goals in the third quarter proving vital in carving out the win. Despite trailing Ulster hampions Tir na nOg (Antrim) at half time, the Clare side who defeated Cappoquin to capture the Munster title rallied superbly to seal a final berth.
The outcome may be very much in doubt, but what is a certainty is that an intriguing tussle lies in store as two parish’s battle for the ultimate accolade.