Derry captain, Grainne McGoldrick is taking nothing for granted as the Oak Leaf girls face Tipperary this Sunday in the All-Ireland intermediate semi-final at Naomh Peregrine, Blakestown.
Derry are the only undefeated team in the championship having won all three group games. Tipperary in contrast have drawn two while emerging victorious twice in their five-team group.
The two-time All-Ireland club intermediate winner with Eoghan Rua believes that Tipperary’s second string unit will be stronger now than at any stage during the season.
“With Tipperary seniors out they can put their sole focus on the intermediate team. Some of their senior panel may be available for this game and we would also be cautious that some counties wouldn’t play their full teams in the group stages, so we would need to be prepared. We are confident but not taking anything for granted.”
Derry are actually undefeated all year, winning both the National League Division 2 title and also the NWP Recycling Ulster championship. This bodes well as they aim to get over their semi-final hoodoo. Certainly, McGoldrick believes that Derry are better placed than ever to reach Croke Park on All-Ireland finals day.
“We are happy with our performances this year. We have been undefeated all season but we have got to five consecutive semi-finals and never been more than a couple of points away… games have slipped out of our hands.
“We were five points behind at half time in extra time in the Ulster semi-final and the girls showed strength of character to keep plugging away and win the game. While the scoreline looked comfortable against Waterford it was a very tight game and we only pulled away in the last 10 minutes.
“We are confident going into the weekend and playing in All-Ireland finals at Croke Park is something that all the girls are working towards.”
While not looking past the semi-final, the skipper believes that if Derry will be playing in Division 1 of the league, they should also be operating at senior championship level.
“We want to reach the next level. If you are playing Division 1 league games then you want to be playing those teams in the senior championships. It would give camogie in Derry and Ulster a boost. It would mean a lot.
“Offaly beat us by two points in the intermediate semi-final two years ago and are now in the senior semi so we take confidence from that. They are up there and competing and that’s what we should ultimately aim towards.”