Athenry’s chance for All Ireland honours

A hungry Athenry camogie side face Cashel of Tipperary in the All Ireland Senior Club Camogie Championship final on Sunday.

This decider has been fixed for Newbridge at 2pm (weather dependent ) and is a replay of the 2007 final which the Tipperary side comfortably won.

As a result Athenry are keen to avenge that defeat, and with many of the same players involved, they believe this is their best chance in years to take the crown which they won only once before in 1977.

This is a team that has won four consecutive county finals and reached the All Ireland final in 2007, but has yet to win the most coveted prize. Two years ago an All Ireland final was something new for these players, but with that experience behind them, there is a greater sense of confidence that the title is there for the taking.

They will be cautious given Cashel’s pedigree. Two years ago Athenry were outclassed by the Tipperary and Munster champions in the decider. Although Athenry were well in the game until half time, there was no stopping Cashel when they found the right gear in the second half, and they eventually finished 1 - 18 to 0 - 9 winners.

Athenry, like many parishes, is steeped in the history and traditions of camogie and hurling, and Athenry Camogie Club was founded in 1973, building on the success of teams from Presentation College. In 1975 they won their first senior county final and went on to contest the All Ireland final which they lost by one point. Three successive county titles followed and the ultimate accolade, a senior club All Ireland title, was achieved in 1977. 1997 saw the club win the Feile title with many of the girls in the Athenry colours today having played on that winning team.

The links with the past remain strong and the present manager of Athenry, Midge Glynn, who played in the glory days of the late 70s, today sees her daughter Gina and nieces Alice and Jenny Poniard and Katie O’Dwyer all part of the current team.

Missing from Sunday’s fixture will be Jessica Gill, who is a big loss, robbing Athenry of one of Ireland’s top scorers. However Mary Keogh has recovered from illness and is expected to start, while youngsters Katie O’Dwyer and Ciara Cunniffe have stepped up to the mark this season.

With the talismanic Therese Maher leading the side, aided by the experienced Brenda Kerins, and Alice Poniard, Kathryn Glynn, Krystel Ruddy, Regina Glynn, Laura Linnane, Sarah Donoghue, Mary Keogh, and Nicola Nally, who boast All Ireland final experience, Athenry, if they spark on the day, have sufficient talent to take the title. It should certainly be more competitive than their meeting two years ago.

Athenry Senior Camogie Squad 2009: Katherine Glynn, Katie O'Dwyer, Jessica Gill, Laura Linnane, Therese Maher, Sarah Donoghue, Krystel Ruddy, Nicola Nally, Maeve Carr, Alice Poniard, Emerald House, Claire Forde, Deiredre Ward, Aisling Melia, Mary Keogh. Amanda Cannon, Jennifer Poniard, Natalie Jordan, Shauna Coll, Stephanie Gannon, Regina Glynn, Brenda Kerins, Noreen Coen, Darelle Coen, Ciara Cunniffe, Bridie Scully, Emma Costello, Fiona Gannon. Management:Midge Glynn, PJ Molloy, Eugene Cloonan, Dermot Monaghan, Frank O' Shea

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