There is very little to choose between the two sides competing in this year’s All-Ireland Junior final. Four Roads and Myshall have been operating at the sharp end of the competition for a number of years and both sides possess the quality and experience necessary to prevail writes Daragh O’Conchuir.
Four Roads are the dominant force in Roscommon camogie and they annexed their fifth consecutive senior title by overcoming Athleague in the county final at the beginning of October. They shrugged off the absence of full-back, Orla Hughes through injury and with Lizzy Glennon Tully and Cáit Kenny scoring 2-9 between them as they tormented the Athleague defence, it was comfortable in the end.
That wasn’t the case in the All-Ireland semi-final though, when last year’s beaten finalists, Tara made the trip from London. Once again, Glennon Tully and Kenny were the chief scorers as the Rossies led by seven points at the break. That margin was down to three though when Gráinne Egan pounced for a late goal to decide the matter.
This is Four Roads’ third appearance in the final. After losing heavily on their debut in 2004, they finally reached the Holy Grail two years ago when Glennon Tully captained them to victory over Corofin of Clare.
It is Myshall’s first All-Ireland but like their opponents, they have been the standard-bearers in their own county for many years. They won the Carlow senior championship for the 32nd time when defeating Naomh Brid at Dr Cullen Park in September, never looking back after Catherine Foley bagged the first of three goals in the 11th minute.
They retained the Leinster title at the expense of Meath representatives, Kilmessan in a rip-roaring encounter. Ciara Quirke pounced for two goals early on but Myshall needed three late points to bring the final to extra time. Foley scored a brilliant goal to finally break the Kilmessan resistance.
Having lost the previous year’s semi-final, Myshall were determined not to fall at the penultimate hurdle this time. Goals from Ciara Quirke, Olivia Jordan and Kate Nolan confirmed their place in the decider at the expense of Truagh/Clonlara.
Nuala Quirke, who pocketed her 30th county senior medal earlier in the campaign, scored two points in that game. The venerable attacker is joined on the team by her daughters, Niamh (full-back) and Ciara (corner-forward).
Nuala’s husband, Tom has six county senior mementoes himself in both hurling and football but is quickly falling behind the female members of the family… mind you, his wife left him in her wake many years ago!
This promises to be a very entertaining and competitive affair that is so difficult to call given the depth of familiarity both teams have of playing in finals, and winning them. Myshall and Four Roads each possess an all-round strength, particularly through the spine of their units and some of the individual battles will be worth the price of admission alone.
Whoever gains the upper hand in the middle third is likely to emerge victorious, as despite the strength of the defences, the two forward lines have the individuals who will make hay if the supply is right.
Myshall v Four Roads, Sunday November 25th, 2.45pm