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NOELLE KENNEDY has five senior All Ireland medals under her belt with Tipperary. She is retired from the inter-county scene but still enjoys playing for her club Toomevara. She would love to pick up another trophy this weekend – this time as manager of the Tipperary U16 team that will meet Galway in the All Ireland A final on Saturday in the Gaelic Grounds (2.30pm).

More than anything she hopes this will be the start of a long and glittering career for her young charges. She believes this is a defining time in any teenager’s sporting life, and for that reason alone she would love to see the All Ireland U16 final staged ahead of the All Ireland senior camogie final in Croke Park.

“”I think we need to give incentive to this age group. Play the competition later in the year, during the summer months with a trip to Croke Park for the finalists. You have to get the younger players looking up to the older players, and one way to do that is to play the games side by side.

“”You will have the parents, and the uncles and aunts at all the matches, but if you bring the games to the bigger arena you will give neutrals the opportunity to see their talent, while making the occasion extra special for the players. This competition will be completed by next week and I think it is a pity we won’t see more of these girls during the next few months.””

Tipperary, who recently contested the National League Division One final hasn’t won an U16 title since 1994. They lost a decider a few years ago to Kilkenny, and while Noelle isn’t too familiar with the Galway line up, she rates her own team fairly high.

“”We had a good win over Clare in the semi-final. This was a tough game. We are a balanced side. Aisling Carroll picked up any injury that day, she is our only concern.””

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