League final is a real bonus for Galway’s young camogie squad

Galway senior camogie captain Niamh Kilkenny - looking to keep the foot on the accelerator against Cork in Sunday’s final.

Galway senior camogie captain Niamh Kilkenny - looking to keep the foot on the accelerator against Cork in Sunday’s final.

The Galway senior camogie team will take on Cork this Sunday in the Irish Daily Star National League division one final at Semple stadium (1.30pm ).

Galway captain and midfielder Niamh Kilkenny knows the team will have to produce a top-class performance to defeat the Rebels who are the current All-Ireland champions and were division one league champions in 2012 and 2013.

“Cork are a very good team and they are hot favourites to win this Sunday. We know that, and we are not expecting anything easy on Sunday,” she says.

“ However we showed flashes of really good form in the first half in our win over Kilkenny in the semi-final and, if we can produce that quality of performance on a more consistent basis, we can pose a major challenge to any team.

“We will need to keep our concentration for the full game this weekend as we took our foot off the accelerator in the second half against Kilkenny and allowed them back into the game a bit and we cannot do that this Sunday.”

Kilkenny, who teaches English and geography at Holy Rosary College in Mountbellew, says the team is really looking forward to Sunday’s clash.

“The face that the game is in Semple stadium as part of a double header with the Allianz League division one final and is live on TV is great. It adds a good bit to the occasion and, more importantly, it is good for camogie at large as regards exposure for the game.

“We have a very young team this year due to a few retirements and some girls taking a year out, so games like this weekend are great to help us develop and gel and get big game experience for the whole panel.”

There are a good few new women in the senior squad this season from the 2013 All Ireland winning intermediate team and that infusion of new blood is a real positive.

“Girls like Tara Kenny, Shauna Healy [Ardrahan], Aoife Donoghue [Mullagh], Aoife Callanan, and a few others have been a great addition and have freshened up the squad a bit and added renewed momentum.

“We set our target at the start of the league to get to the league semi-final, so getting to the final is a bonus. Now that we are in the final, we will be doing our best to win it.”

Galway’s last league title was in 2005 and only two players, Susan Earner and Emma Kilkelly, from the current panel collected medals in that win a decade ago. Therefore the desire to win a league title within the squad is high.

To overcome Cork on Sunday, Galway will probably need another top-class performance of score taking from their inside forwards, Ailish O’Reilly and Molly Dunne.

The game is live on TG4.

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