by Daragh Ó Conchúir
Sunday March 3rd 2019
Senior Final Preview – Clonduff (Down) v Gailltír (Waterford)
Referee: John McDonagh (Galway)
It isn’t significant but it is interesting to note that two new provinces are represented in this year’s Final, 12 months after Kildare’s Johnstownbridge got the better of Galway champions Athenry.
Ulster is the only province with two representatives at headquarters from the two Finals. The increasing competitiveness of the fare in the northern region has been evident in recent times.
Slaughtneil are the obvious role models at Senior level but Eglish, of Tyrone, only lost the Intermediate Final by a point last year and Eoghan Rua (Derry) were two-time victors at the start of the decade.
For a number of Clonduff players, it is a quick return after last September’s All-Ireland Intermediate Final, in which Down found Cork’s second string too strong.
Captain and nerveless freetaker Paula O’Hagan, Fionnuala Carr and her sister Sara-Louise are among the team’s leaders who will be looking to make up for that crushing disappointment and having dethroned Eglish in the Ulster Final – revenge for losing to them in the decider 12 months previously – they have a very good chance of doing so.
They showed a lot of composure in overturning a two-point deficit at the interval against Craughwell (Galway) in the All-Ireland Semi-Final. O’Hagan was deadly from placed balls throughout and Sara-Louise Carr illustrated her happy knack of scoring important goals with a crucial major at the end of the third quarter that moved her side into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
It is a very positive period in the history of Waterford Camogie and the winners of the Déise’s Senior Championship have been at the hot end of the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship for a few years now. Lismore were All-Ireland champions in 2014 and are multiple provincial winners. Gailltír took Munster honours in the 2016-17 campaign once they were able to see off their rivals from the west in domestic fare. On that occasion, they were just a point shy of Eglish in the All-Ireland Semi-Final.
This time around, it was a Beth Carton-inspired De La Salle that had to be overcome in a rip-roaring Déise decider, the talented young Fitzgerald cousins Annie and Aoife scoring nine points and 1-3 respectively in the 1-17 to 2-13 triumph.
The East Waterford contingent had 10 points to spare against Éire Óg (Cork) in the Munster Final, where again, the Fitzgeralds were very impressive. It was their hugely experienced Waterford teammate Áine Lyng who really took proceedings by the scruff of the neck however and the trio managed 2-8 of their side’s 2-10 between them – and 2-6 of that came from play.
Bagging a second provincial title in three seasons rounded off the club’s 60th anniversary celebrations nicely and now the target is to begin 61 with a historic All-Ireland, having gotten the better of St. Rynagh’s in the Semi-Final. Clodagh Carrol struck the decisive blow with her team’s third goal, while defender Ciara Jackman and the long-serving Emma Roche were part of a resolute defensive effort.
The form of these sides this year and using a direct line through Eglish, suggests that there is very little between these sides and it would be no surprise for the verdict to be in doubt right to the last whistle.
Tickets can be purchased in advance from www.tickets.ie or from selected Centre & SuperValu outlets nationwide. Tickets will also be available to purchase on matchday from the stadium at the Ticket Office at Gill's Corner.
Students/Senior Citizens: Adult prices, receive €5 refund on the day with sufficient ID
Under 16: €5
AIB All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Club Championship Final
Clonduff v Gailltír – Croke Park, 1:30pm on Sunday, 3rd March
AIB All-Ireland Senior Camogie Club Championship Final
St Martin's v Slaughtneil – Croke Park, 3:30pm on Sunday, 3rd March