by Daragh Ó Conchúir
Finally getting their hands on some silverware by winning the Munster title was worth celebrating but Eimear Loughman reveals that the Tipperary players have applied a mental reset now as they prepare for their ultimate priority, the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship.
The Premier hadn’t enjoyed ultimate success at senior level since securing provincial primacy in 2010.
The All-Ireland hasn’t been won since 2004. Given that was Tipp’s fifth triumph in six seasons, there was no one watching young skipper and match winner, Joanne Ryan being presented with the O’Duffy Cup thinking that she would remain the last blue-and-gold-clad woman to be in that position 19 years later.
In that context, coming away with the Morrissey Cup after a 17-point victory over Clare three weeks ago has to have been a welcome boost of confidence, particularly after defeat to a Kilkenny team that was out of contention cost Denis Kelly’s charges a place in the League final the previous month.
Of course the Cats are the All-Ireland champions and the teams will renew rivalries in the closing tie of Group 2 on July 1. Wexford and Dublin complete the group, with Saturday’s clash with the Metropolitans at The Ragg Tipp’s only home game.
Thus with two to qualify, the element of jeopardy gives this opener a must-win feel to it already. Though Tipp registered a straightforward victory when they met Dublin in the League, the Blues have made significant progress in the meantime after Gerry McQuaid took over the managerial reins in difficult circumstance, pushing Kilkenny to two points in the Leinster final recently.
The sides also drew in last year’s Championship and have a history of close encounters so Loughman is expecting a tumultuous battle.
“The mood is really good, training’s been good, great numbers, great effort,” the Clonoulty-Rossmore defender reported on Tipperary Live this week. “We’ve been training since last November or December and we’re really looking forward to it. There’s been a great block of training since the Munster final.
“It’s a great boost (to win Munster) but it doesn’t give you any guarantees of winning a match. We’re going back out to Dublin, Wexford and Kilkenny. Kilkenny beat us in the last round of the League, so we definitely won’t take anything for granted against any of the teams.
“It’s always very tough against Dublin. Over the years, it’s always been a close match. We drew with them a good few years. There’s always only been a point or two in it. We expect it to be a close battle again.
“There’s a lot of players putting their hands up for positions and management have a very tough job picking the team.”