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The top four senior camogie teams come face to face in the Gala All Ireland semi-finals at Nowlan Park on Saturday, and in truth, these games are worthy of the entrance fee alone. Cork, the champions, are back for their ticket to an incredible eight consecutive final appearance when they meet Wexford, while last year’s beaten finalists Galway are keen for another attempt at lifting the O’Duffy Cup but first they must overcome Kilkenny.


The record book tells us Galway have just the one title in 1996. Sinead Cahalan captains the team once more, and despite playing Kilkenny in their home grounds in Nowlan Park she says they are delighted to be back again.


“”We are used to Nowlan Park. We have played All Ireland semi-finals there before and we played the league final there in 2008. We have had a few challenge matches with Kilkenny down there too, so we don’t mind it at all. Granted, Kilkenny will have big home support, but for us it is good to be back.


“”We are only in the semi-finals though. There will be very little between all four teams. Our preparations are coming together now. We feel we have a stronger team this year, overall. We are probably more balanced. But, the championship structure is different. This time last year we had played six matches but we’ve had only three this season. Our biggest win was against Wexford in terrible conditions.


“”We don’t know a whole lot about Kilkenny. We played them a couple of times in practise games but we were both building our teams. You learn little then. But they have great young players coming through, great underage structures and a good senior management, so they have to make the breakthrough at some stage.””


Meanwhile, Wexford and Cork will have little difficulty getting fired up for the second semi-final. The Purple and Gold defeated the Rebels when they bridged a 32-year gap to claim the All Ireland in 2007. Since, there is keen rivalry between the sides. Wexford captain Aoife O’Connor has already led the Leinster outfit to National League honours, so it would be memorable if she could complete the set.


“”We are apprehensive, we are always apprehensive of Cork,”” she says. “”We are going into this game with our eyes wide open. The reality is we have one All Ireland in the past four year, Cork have three. We had a fabulous day in 2007 and we are glad to have it, but nobody is getting beyond themselves.


“”We are positive and we will stay that way. We learned a lesson last year. It was a poor year for Wexford. That was difficult to take because we had been on such a high from the previous 12 months. For now, we are focussing on our own performance, we can’t look beyond that.””




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