Camogie celebrated its biggest day of the year with a new record attendance, the highest scoring Senior final since 1988 and three winners in Galway, Westmeath and Kerry that collectively had Croke Park buzzing.
The final crowd number of 24,730 set a new record for a standalone Camogie Finals Day, beating the previous record of 24,567 set for the Senior Final between Tipperary and Cork back in 2004.
Kerry won the Premier Junior title before Westmeath completed a remarkable rise from winning that two years ago to yesterday landing the Intermediate title and securing a place among the Senior elite next season.
The Liberty Insurance sponsored Senior Final saw Galway break up the dominance of Cork and Kilkenny over recent years and laid down a marker for their performance with a first of three goals coming after only 80 seconds.
This turned out to be the highest scoring final since 1988 with Galway’s 3-14 to 0-17 win over Kilkenny the highest scoring Final since 1988.
It was a measure of the quality of the game that despite losing in the end by six points, Kilkenny’s score would have been enough to secure the title in eleven of the last 13 Finals.
Galway had to overcome the loss of Tara Kenny on Thursday night to a cruciate knee ligament injury but Player of the Match Niamh Kilkenny and two goal hero Ailish O’Reilly were at the heart of a brilliant performance that inflicted a third Final defeat in a row on Kilkenny.
“They’ve been here so many times and come back and come back but it’ll be a long winter and we’ll reassess after it, sit down and see what everyone wants to do,” said Kilkenny Manager Ann Downey after the defeat.
“They’ll go back to their clubs and we’ll be there for them and support them to try and get over today.”
At least some of the players from Kilkenny and likely a half dozen or more from Galway will now be able to look forward to the Liberty Insurance sponsored All Stars trip to new York in November where the All Stars of 2019 will take on those of last year in a challenge match at New York’s Gaelic Grounds.
President Michael D.Higgins was there to see his native Galway lift the O’Duffy Cup while Leo Varadkar was able to take time out of preparing for today’s visit of Boris Johnson to enjoy the afternoon of sport as well. John Horan, President of the GAA and Maire Hickey from the Ladies Gaelic Football Association were also there.
The Camogie Association’s new Ard Stiurthóir Sinéad McNulty will be able to look on a fine first Finals day. Her three immediate predecessors in the role were also there yesterday with Síle Wallace, Joan O’Flynn and Sinéad O’Connor soaking up the atmosphere.
All in all very much a winning day for the sport.
Read More: Ready For Sunday – Sinead McNulty Interview
Read More: Liberty Insurance and Camogie in 2019
Read More: Women of Influence in Irish Sport 2019
Read More: Women in Sport Annual Conference 2019
Image Credits: Bryan Keane, Inpho.ie