Galway senior Camogie ladies head to Semple Stadium in Thurles on Sunday to take on Kilkenny in the Irish Daily Star division one league final (1.30pm ).
Galway have been doing well this season under team manager Ollie Bergin (Kinvara ), and his selectors, Joan Poland (Eyrecourt ), Francis Larkin (Killimor ) and David Forde (Clarinbridge ), advancing to the league final after a one-point win over Limerick two weeks ago.
Bergin, who is from Kilkenny originally, will be coming up against his own home county in three days, but that is the last thing on his mind.
"It is not a factor at all and has not even crossed my mind to be honest. Our entire panel are really looking forward to Sunday's clash and trying to win another league to add to last year's success," he says.
"All the players have worked very hard over the past few months and they are a fantastic group of sportspeople. We have set ourselves a few targets for the entire season and, if we can win on Sunday, that will be one of those achieved.”
Galway struggled at times against Limerick and Bergin knows and expects a better performance this Sunday.
"We know we have to produce an improved display than we had against Limerick in the semi-final if we are going to win this weekend. We were not at the pitch of the game in the first half and we will need to start better and be more consistent against Kilkenny.
"Unfortunately we have had a few niggling hamstring injuries to contend with over the past week or two. However apart from Niamh Hennessy, we are hopeful we will have a full panel for tomorrow evening. We always stress the need for a good strong squad if we want to be successful. And no doubt the girls who come on as impact subs this weekend will have a big role to play too if we are to win.”
Having been beaten handily enough by Cork in the All-Ireland final last season, Bergin and his management team have given a good few players game time over the past few months in an effort to have a panel that will be able to compete at the top level over the coming months. Sunday's league final is another step forward.
“We have looked 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. Sunday will be another step on that road to try to find our best pool of players and we are looking forward to taking on Kilkenny in what promises to be a very good contest for both sides.
"Kilkenny are a very fine side and they have some really talented players such as Denise Gaule, Ann Dalton, Sarah Ann Quinlan and Julieann Malone. We know that, and as they showed in their win over Tipperary, they will be very difficult to beat. We will have to produce a really good performance to retain the league title. That said, that is what we are going to Thurles to try to do.”
If Galway are to put league titles back to back, they will need big displays from team captain Niamh Kilkenny, top-free taker Niamh McGrath, full-back Sarah Dervan and Rebecca Hennelly at centre-back, and former team captain Lorraine Ryan. The subs off the bench will also have to make an impact too as they did in the win over Limerick.
Sunday’s camogie final is live on TG4 and will be followed by the senior hurling league final between Clare and Waterford.
Galway are also in the division two league final in St Brendan's Park in Birr at 4pm.That game is on Saturday against Meath who have never won a league title at this level. Galway last won the division two title in 2003.