The Galway camogie ladies head to St Brendan’s Park in Birr on Saturday to take on Limerick in the Irish Daily Star division one National League semi-final (4pm ).
Galway, under the new management team this season of Ollie Bergin (Kinvara ), Joan Poland (Eyrecourt ), Francis Larkin (Killimor ) and David Forde (Clarinbridge ), are enjoying a good run of form with five wins on the trot in the league and they will be expected by many pundits to be too strong for the Treaty women on Saturday too.
Team manager Ollie Bergin, who is a native of Kilkenny, also has 2015 All-Star goalkeeper Colm Callanan and former Galway u-21 star Barry Daly in his backroom team in strength and conditioning roles, and he is pleased with this season's process and is targeting another victory in two days.
“We have been working very hard over the past few months and they are a fantastic group to be involved with so we are looking forward to Saturday and hopeful of producing a good performance," he says. "Thankfully we don’t have too many injury worries and the squad is hopeful of a win and a place in the league final.”
Last year Galway were defeated in the All-Ireland final by Cork, and Bergin and his management team have been doing a fair bit of experimentation in an effort to have a panel that will be able to compete at the top level over the coming months.
“We have been looking at some new players and girls playing in different positions over the past few games, and we are happy with the progress we are making. Saturday will be another step on that road and we are looking forward to taking on Limerick in what promises to be a good contest for both teams. Limerick are a fine side and we will have to produce an impressive performance to beat them.”
This league semi-final was expected to be on Sunday, but the game was fixed for Saturday afternoon to avoid a clash with the Limerick Ladies Football team which is playing on Sunday.
The Camogie Association is committed to ensuring fixture clashes for dual players can be avoided where possible in an effort to promote positive player welfare.
Earlier in April, the Camogie Association also moved the Cork v Limerick National League playoff to a Saturday to avoid a clash with a LGFA fixture.
The Galway players and management team have no problem with the change of date and Bergin believes it was the right thing to do.
“Limerick have a good few dual players involved in both codes and they put in a request last week for the change of day for the game and we have no issue with it at all. We are only focusing on our group of players - whether the game is on Saturday or Sunday is not relevant.”
In their bid to advance to the final, Galway will look for big displays from team captain Niamh Kilkenny, Aoife Donohue, Niamh McGrath, full-back Sarah Dervan and Rebecca Hennelly who has been impressive in her new centre-back role.
The game will be refereed by Cathal Egan (Cork ) and the winners on Saturday will play either Tipperary or Kilkenny in the league final.