Galway has only once won the All-Ireland senior title in camogie.That success was in 1996 and the current squad is keen to change that statistic this weekend when they take on Wexford for the O’Duffy Cup in Croke Park at 4pm.
One player, Veronica Curtin, played as a young 16-years-old in that victory 14 years ago and she has soldiered for the past decade or more in the county colours in an effort to add another winner’s medal to her collection.
Curtin, who is the deputy principal in Portumna National School, believes this Sunday can be the day that another senior title will be added to the one annexed back in 1996.
“Things have been going really really well in training and the mood is terrific in the camp. We have no major injuries and there probably won’t be too many changes to the starting team that beat Cork,” she says.
“Having a settled team brings a lot of advantages and we have won seven of the eight championship games that we have played this season. We know each other’s form and there is a terrific work-rate in the team and panel. We will need lots of that support for each other and hard work, on and off the ball, if we are to win on Sunday.”
Galway played Wexford earlier in the championship season, in late June, and they won by a narrow margin, 1-8 to 0-10 in Athenry, and there is rarely much between the sides.
Curtin expects a similar story to unfold on Sunday.
“Wexford is a big physical side and never easily beaten. If we can match their physicality, I believe we have the skill to beat them. We have trained hard all season with Bertie Sherlock [fitness coach] and we are in good shape. We are really looking forward to the game.
“There is plenty of experience in our squad and we should not be over-awed by the occasion. We lost the 2008 final and it is high time we went to Croke Park and won another senior title. That is what we hope to do on Sunday and it would be fantastic if there was as much Galway support as possible to help us to do that.”
Athenry’s Therese Maher is the team captain and she will be hoping to emulate her two sisters Dympna and Gretta, who both collected winner’s medals in 1996 when Imelda Hobbins hoisted the O’Duffy cup.
Wexford are hot favourites with the bookies to win on Sunday at 4/7, with Galway available at 13/8, and 9/1 the draw.
Galway manager Noel Finn (Cappatagle ), who is assisted by Helena Huban (Kinvara ) and Noel Power (Tommie Larkins ), says Galway have been waiting a considerable length of time for silverware.
“Certainly 14 years is a long time for a county such as Galway to wait for another senior All Ireland title. However I think that this crop of players will not be overly concerned with such a statistic. If anything, they will be looking to atone for the final appearance of 2008 and make up for that defeat. I feel that will be one of their primary motivators,” said Finn.
Eight of the side who played in that ’08 final against Cork are expected to feature in this weekend’s decider while forward Veronica Curtin, is the sole link to the victorious 1996 side.
The Galway team that defeated Cork by a point, 0-10 to 0-9 in the All-Ireland semi-final: Susan Earner, Sandra Tannian, Sarah Dervan, Regina Glynn, Therese Manton, Anne-Marie Hayes, Niamh Kilkenny, Emma Kilkenny, Orla Kilkelly, Caroline Murray, Therese Maher (cpt ), Brenda Hanney, Tara Rutledge, Veronica Curtin, Aislinn Connolly. Subs used: Jessica Gill, Aoife Lynskey, Lorraine Ryan.
*The game is live on RTÉ 2.
Path to the final 2010
12 June Kilkenny 1-14 Galway 1-11
19 June Galway 1-19 Tipperary 2-7
26 June Galway 1-8 Wexford 0-10
3 July Galway 1-14 Cork 0-11
10 July Galway 1-13 Clare 1-11
17 July Galway 4-19 Dublin 2-5
All Ireland semi-final, 14 August, Galway 3-11 Cork 1-17; 22nd August (replay ), Galway 0-10 Cork 0-9.