Galway camogie look to turn the tables - ten years on

Galway head to Croke Park on Sunday for the showpiece of the camogie year - a decade since they last made an appearance in the All Ireland senior decider.

Cork are their opponents - as they were on that last occasion - but this time Galway will be looking to turn the tables and prevent the Leesiders from adding to an impressive record of 22 senior titles.

Cork will go into this contest as favourites, based on both form and an amazingly proud record. Having been beaten by Wexford in last year's decider, Cork are making their ninth final appearance in 10 years.

However they will not have it all their own way. The Rebels won five of their six games in the round-robin stage of the championship - their only defeat was at the hands of Galway.

Galway’s path to this weekend’s final started on June 1 with a win over Limerick on a score line of 4-18 to 1-6. A month later Galway faced Wexford and Cork - winning both. They too suffered just one loss this year, and that was to Kilkenny. However Galway will point to the fact that they tried a different team format for that game, before following up with victories over Dublin and a draw with Tipperary which saw Galway through to the semi-final with the 2007 champs.

While Cork proved far too good for Munster rivals Tipperary, running out 3-14 to 0-10 winners, Galway and last year’s champions Wexford were locked in a fierce battle for honours. With time up and a draw looking the verdict, Jessica Gill scored her most vital goal of the year to set up a final with the rebel women of Cork.

While Cork are looking to add another crown to their incredible record - their last two years ago - Galway can boast just one title - back in 1996. Anne Broderick, who played in the defence that day, is now a part of the management team, while Veronica Curtin also played that day at the age of 16, setting up Martina Harkin for one of four goals Galway scored against Cork that day - the Tribeswomen running out 4 - 8 to 1-15 winners.

There are many on the Galway side, who, regarded as camogie veterans, will be desperate to add a senior medal after years of hard work. Therese Maher, one of the most recognised players in Ireland, and holder of many honours, is looking for a win this Sunday to claim that elusive All Ireland and add to the family collection - her sisters Dympna and Gretta were on the winning 1996 side. As too will be Aine Hillary, who has won All-Ireland club crowns with Pearses.

Galway will line out much the same side as that which played in the semi-final. Sarah Noone comes into the middle of the field for Deirdre Burke, to join Niamh Kilkenny. The Ahascragh player is expected to turn in a strong performance, having missed the refixed semi-final due to her commitment on the Galway football team.

The back lines, so strong this year, remain the same, while Molly Dunne takes up the number 10 position in the half forward line along with Therese Maher and Veronica Curtin. Orla Kilkenny drops into the corner - in a switch which the management have made to utilise her speed. Jessica Gill remains in full forward. Galway will hope this 18-years-old Athenry player will create havoc for the Cork backs, and add to her incredible top scoring championship record of 6-40. Brenda Kerins lines out at 15, replacing Lorriane Ryan. A stylish player, Kerins made a huge difference when introduced in the semi-final, and she will be gunning to prove herself this weekend.

Although Lourda Kavanagh is not in the starting 15, she can expect to see action as an impact sub. Throughout the year, Kavanagh has made a massive different when introduced during games, and this may be the best move by manager Liam Donoghue and his management.

Having already beaten Cork this year will have given Galway a huge boost, but they will be under no illusions of the task ahead. Cork are well used to the arena, the occasion, and winning All Irelands, and Galway will need to remain composed.

However captain, Gurtymadden’s Sinead Cahalan says Galway will give it 100 per cent.

“ Our ambition all year has been to bring the O'Duffy Cup across the Shannon. You always want to be in a position that you' re training for an All-Ireland final.

“Before the semi-final with Wexford we said that you get one chance to beat a great team, but we beat Wexford twice this year. I hope we can do the same against Cork. We will give it everything.”

•A special train will run on Sunday, leaving Galway at 8.20am, serving Athenry, Woodlawn, and Ballinasloe. The train will return Sunday evening at 7.20pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Galway: Susan Earner (Eyrecourt ), Sandra Tannion (St Thomas ), Ailbhe Kelly (Davitts ), Therese Manton (Mullagh ), Anne-Marie Hayes (Killimor ), Sinead Cahalan, cpt (Mullagh ), Niamh Kilkenny Pearses ), Aine Hillary (Pearses ), Sarah Noone (Ahascragh ), Molly Dunne (Eyrecourt ), Therese Maher (Athenry ), Veronica Curtin (Kinvara ), Orla Kilkenny (Pearses ), Jessica Gill (Athenry ), Brenda Kerins (Ardrahan ). Substitutes: Susan Keane (Killimor ), Deirdre Burke (St Thomas ), Lourda Kavanagh (Davitts ), Catriona Cormican (Cappataggle ), Caroline Kelly (Davitts ), Lorraine Ryan (Killimordaly ), Clodagh Glynn (Kiltormer ), Lizzie Flynn (Davitts ), Sarah Dervan (Mullagh ), Paula Kenny (Eyrecourt ).


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