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The Kildare camogie team have achieved their aim of bettering last year’s semi final appearance in the Junior “”A”” Championship but now that they are in the final, they are determined to lift an All-Ireland title.
Skipper Niamh Breen leads a team out to face Armagh in the decider this Saturday in Ashbourne who reached the last four after five championship wins out of five.
Although a semi final against London looked an inviting fixture on paper, Breen says that the painful memories of a defeat to Roscommon at the same stage last year played heavily on the team’s mind.
“”Last year we were beaten in the semi final by Roscommon by just a point after extra time, we were so close that time and they went on and won the final out. Coming in at the start of the year we all set out our goal to reach an All-Ireland final. We knew that we had it in us, it was just a matter of going out and performing for the year. Everybody in the squad knew that we were so close last year and we just wanted to push on and try to achieve that. Lucky enough we have got that far already and we hope to go one step further now and win it,”” said the St Laurence’s girl.
Kildare overcame their mental barriers to comfortably beat London by 3-14 to 0-10 to reach the holy grail and Breen feels that the experience the squad gained by playing in a higher division in the league this year has paid dividends.
Tom O’Mahony’s side were promoted to Division 3 after winning the Division 4 crown last year and they performed well to secure a mid table finish.
“”We’ve had a good run of form throughout the year and stepping up to Division 3 has helped to bring us on. Tougher opposition in that has I think stood us well for the championship,”” said 25 year old Breen.
One accusation that has been thrown at this Kildare side in the recent past is that they rely too heavily on the scoring talents of Susie O’Carroll. However, in the semi final the brilliant Celbridge girl had a rare off day but Breen was delighted with how the other forwards responded.
“”Last year we were very reliant on Susie getting the scores up there in the forwards but I think it’s been a feature for us this year that other girls are getting the scores. In the semi final against London, all six forwards scored and two subs that came on also scored. The scoring power has really spread through the team and that has helped us. Susie is a fantastic player and there have been times when she has been carrying us but the scores are coming from all over the field now and we’ve a lot more options up front,”” she said.
Standing between Kildare and an All-Ireland title is an Armagh team who they have already beaten in classic game this year as Breen remembers.
“”We played them in the first round of the championship and beat them by a goal. We were struggling in the first half and were eight points down at half time but we managed to turn it around in the final. They were beaten in the final last year so they will want to go one step further this time, it’s going to be a tough game, we’re not underestimating them at all. It’s going to be a physical battle and they have some very skilful players, it will come down to the wire on the day but if we play as we can then I think we can do it,”” she said
Armagh reached the final following a 4-09 to 1-06 semi final win over Westmeath. Collette McSorley and Andrea McAlinden scored 2-4 and 2-1 respectively in that game but Breen sees no reason why Kildare should change their game to look after Armagh’s most dangerous forwards.
“”We always say that we will play our own game and not worry about what the opposition are doing. They have some very good players, Collette McSorley is an exceptional player in the full forward line. Obviously we will have to watch her but I think we have to stay focused on our own game as we have been throughout the whole year. It’s stood to us well so far so I don’t see reason to change now,”” said Breen.
The game will be the start of what hopefully be a massive weekend for GAA in Kildare and Breen hopes and the camogie girls can do their bit by lifting an All-Ireland title.
“”The weekend is going to be huge for GAA in Kildare. To even get this far is a great boost for camogie in the county but if we could go on and win it, it would be fantastic. If the footballers can do the same then on Sunday, it will be a great year all round for Kildare GAA,”” she said.

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