GALA ALL IRELAND CAMOGIE CHAMPIONSHIP SENIOR SEMI-FINAL PREVIEWS
Gala All Ireland Camogie Championship Senior Semi-Final Previews Saturday, August 14th
Cork v Galway, Nowlan Park, 2.oopm, Karl O’Brien, Dublin
The clash of treble chasing Cork and pretenders to the throne Galway is part one of a double bill at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny. Galway have already defeated Cork this season in the round robin stages of championship and will fancy their chances against the champions.
Galway’s Orla Kilkenny and Emma Kilkelly have vital roles to play at midfield while the half forward line of Caroline Murray, Therese Maher and Brenda Hanney will need to be on top form against a tough Cork halfback line with Mary O’Connor at centre back, flanked by Anna Geary and Jenny Duffy. Joanne O’Callaghan returns to the side after injury. There is no place amongst the starting line-up for last year’s captain Amanda O’Regan.
Both sides possess a potent set of forwards and Cork will rely upon six time All-Star Gemma O’Connor to pull the strings at centre forward with Sile Burns and Rachel Moloney hoping to prosper inside. Jennifer O’Leary, who returned to the panel this year after a two year absence has nailed down a starting berth at wing forward after some fine displays this season.
Cork possess experience in abundance and the prospect of a third All Ireland Final appearance in a row is a huge motivator. Whether they have the appetite for a hard battle remains to be seen.
Galway, provided they can curtail the influence of O’Connor and nullify the threat of Cork’s inside forward line should have enough to see them over the line.
Kilkenny v Wexford, Nowlan Park, 4.00pm, Fintan McNamara, Clare
A repeat of this year’s National League Final with little separating these neighbours and Leinster rivals.
Kilkenny, managed by Ann Downey boasted a one hundred percent record in the round robin stages of this year’s championship before suffering defeat in their final fixture to Wexford. They also lost the National League Final to Wexford. Despite that statistic they will relish the prospect of tomorrow’s meeting.
Kilkenny’s defence has been outstanding all season with Catherine Doherty at full- back and Jacqui Frisby in the corner. Leann Fennelly returns to centre back while Edwina Keane and Elaine Aylward slot in on the wings. The defensive displays of the Cats rearguard will be the key to this game as Wexford boast a powerful and robust forward line.
For Wexford, the performances of Una Leacy, Kate Kelly and Ursula Jacob will be key. Leacy starts on the wing, while Jacob has taken up the full-forward role with Katrina Parrock and Fiona Kavanagh inside.
All- Star Mary Leacy, sister of Una takes up her customary number six spot and her clash with Aoife Neary will be one of the key battles.
Little remains between the sides and a tight encounter is in store. Wexford possess greater physical power but Kilkenny, despite their youth, have displayed tremendous resilience all season
The Cats to sneak it by the slimmest of margins.