It is a big day for Ardrahan on Sunday (3.15pm) when the ladies face Milford in Croke Park in the All Ireland Senior Camogie Club Championship final.
The County Cork club will be favourites to retain the title they won last year, but Ardrahan, captained by the experienced Rachel O’Toole, will head to Dublin with confidence.
The south Galway club has enjoyed remarkable progress under manager Mike Carr in the last couple of years. In addition to their seniors coming through the intermediate ranks to advance to this season’s senior club decider, they have claimed three in-a-row at u-16 level before winning the minor title.
Carr, who saw his side come out the wrong side of the intermediate final against Derry’s Eoghan Rua two years agao, will not want to be on the losing side again.
While Mildford edged their semi-final against by Derry’s Eoghan Rua by 1-10 to 0-8, Ardrahan produced a superior second-half display to overcome Mullinavat on a score-line of 2-8 to 0-8.
That performance will hopefully stand to the Galway side as they had to dig deep to carve out a victory, having fallen behind by 0-6 to 0-1.
Carr will be looking for a similar display from his forwards, led by semi-final goal-scorer Keelin O’Shaughnessy, alongside Cliodhna Walsh and Edel Corner. In the backs Aiofe Lynskey and Shauna Healy anchor the defence.
O’Shaughnessy is one of several experienced players who were in Croke Park two years ago for the intermediate final, and that experience will certainly focus Ardrahan’s mind.
“We were heartbroken two years ago in Croke Park and we never want to feel that pain again,” she says.
Although wwithout the burden of expectation, Carr says his ladies will play with “determination and heart”. That strength, in addition to their scoring prowess, saw them over the line in the semi-final and hopefully it will be enough on Sunday.