The Liberty Insurance All Ireland Camogie Championships reach the Quarter Final stage this weekend, with both Clare Vs Cork and Tipperary Vs Waterford being shown live on RTÉ 2 TV on Saturday afternoon.

One of our main national newspapers has yet to give a mention to the Championships in its flagship Saturday paper sports coverage, though that is out of line with the majority of papers and online sports websites.

The coverage is helped by strong output from the Camogie Association with material made available well in advance and match reports provided within a short while after the final whistle has blown.

To show the level of material that is provided to media, free of charge, each week, we have reproduced it here today.

The image above, shot by Lorraine O’Sullivan, was one of 26 provided free of charge by Inpho.ie as part of its partnership with Camogie.

We hope that the mainstream media on which influences levels of engagement, participation and commercial backing are mindful of their responsibility to cover all the sports which their readers are interested in, and of the fact that with well over 100,000 registered players there are more playing Camogie than a significant number of the sports that will be guaranteed very high levels of coverage.

Anyway, we live in hope and will be watching.

 

O’Connell praises Clare’s experienced leaders

By Daragh Ó Conchúir

Clare manager Ger O’Connell has pointed to the leadership provided by the experienced players in his squad as the pivotal factor in his squad bouncing back from the precipice of another group stage Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship exit, to be preparing for a first Quarter-Final since 2014.

The Bannerwomen face a stiff challenge in the form of a Cork side that impressed many in defeat to All-Ireland champions Galway last Sunday and playing on home turf at Páirc Uí Chaoimh (1pm).

They may be the fresher squad though, having had an extra week to recover. Also, now that they have achieved their primary goal from the campaign, they can play with freedom as they tackle Paudie Murray’s Rebels.

It wasn’t looking good for Clare when they lost to Tipperary in their Group 3 opener at the Ragg last month. It wasn’t the result that hurt so much as the performance during the nine-point reverse.

They were a different outfit completely against Dublin, accelerating clear of the visitors with a power-packed second-half display at Fr. McNamara Park on October 31st, to cement their spot in the last six.

Afterwards, Niamh O’Dea said, “That’s the real Clare you saw there today”, and O’Connell identifies O’Dea and fellow stalwarts Máire McGrath and Orlaith Duggan as key figures in the turnaround.

“After the Tipperary game, we were really disappointed and the second-half against Dublin was what we were expecting more of,” says O’Connell.

“All credit to the girls, we really tried to nail our colours to the mast and bring a big workrate and discipline to our performance.

“They’re a talented bunch. In fairness to Clare, they’ve had really good success at underage and there’s girls coming through from minor but I thought the older girls were outstanding.

“Niamh O’Dea, Máire McGrath and Orlaith Duggan, these girls are around Clare Camogie a good while and they haven’t been in a lot of Quarter-Finals. They really drove the group forward since the Tipperary game.

“I’m just so happy for that bunch, it has been a tough few years and our goal was to get to a Quarter-Final.

“I’m delighted for the group. There’s so much work goes into it and they’ve been outstanding. It’s been a year since we started and it’s great to be in a Quarter-Final. We’ll be ready and we’re going to give it a good go.”

 

Aside from that preview interview, the Association also provides two match previews and selections as below.

 

Clare v Cork, Pairc Uí Chaoimh, 1:00pm, Liz Dempsey (Kilkenny)

For the Banner county it has been a positive Championship campaign to date, and they will take massive pride knowing that this is the first time since 2014 that they have reached this stage of the Championship.

The highlight for the yellow and blue side was a fantastic victory in their final group match against Dublin, coming out with a 1-18 to 1-7 victory to clinch their place in the knockout stages.

Having been drawn in Group 3 of the Championship, alongside Dublin and Tipperary, one victory from their two games was enough to earn their spot, but they were made to work hard for that chance after leading by just two points at the interval, 0-6 to 0-4 against the Sky Blue outfit.

Their first group match did not exactly go as planned as Tipperary breezed past Ger O’Connell’s side by 0-20 to 1-8, after leading by the same margin of nine points at the interval. With Dublin also losing their fixture to Tipperary, it meant that it all came down to that last group fixture between themselves and the Dubs for that last spot.

In that pressure match, and playing on home turf, the Banner women showed their quality in the second-half and proved their worth with a surge of scores including a goal from Mairéad Scanlon, combined with excellent defending from centre-back Niamh O’Dea who claimed the Player of the Match award.

An attacker like Chloe Morey would be welcomed onto every county panel, and there is no doubt that having the quality in defence that O’Dea showed last time out provides that bit of confidence amongst the players in the Clare dressing room that they have the quality to hurt teams on their day.

The goal for Clare at the beginning of the campaign was progression to the knockout stages, so with that goal ticked off the list, their next one will be to overcome a powerful Cork side who are looking to make yet another Semi-Final.

Very rarely do we reach the knockout stages of the Senior Championship without the Rebels being one of the teams competing for the honours and despite the varying degree of differences that 2020 has brought both inside and outside of sport, it seems like business as normal for this Cork Camogie side.

Having been drawn in Group 1 alongside reigning champions Galway, and Leinster outfits Wexford and Offaly, it was a group that was sure to test the strengths and weaknesses of the Munster team.

An away trip to the Faithful County was to be the beginning of the Championship journey for Paudie Murray’s side however a walkover from the home side put Cork’s Championship start on hold.

After that delay, Wexford were the first opponents for the Rebels in the campaign. The margin of victory over Wexford was 10 points but the scoreline may have been harsh on their opponents on the day. Two late goals from Amy O’Connor and Saoirse McCarthy added to a hefty winning margin with Orla Cronin and O’Connor in clinical form on the day and also throughout the group stages.

Then came the repeat of last year’s epic Semi-Final showdown between the Tribeswomen and the Rebels! While it wasn’t the same fierce contest as the previous season it still produced moments of magic.

Despite losing the game by three points Cork will not be too disappointed as a missed penalty in the opening minutes of the game could have provided a different outcome as Chloe Sigerson put her effort straight at goalkeeper Sarah Healy.

They matched the champions for skill and work ethic and the defeat will bring its own positives, mainly that this team are still evenly matched with the team that snatched the title from them 12 months ago!

Verdict: Cork

Tipperary v Waterford, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 2:45pm. John Dermody (Westmeath)

Group 3 winners Tipperary make it back to the knockout stages after two impressive showings en route to this stage. It continues to be an impressive year for the Premier County, and they have carried over their extraordinary form from the start of the year into their Championship campaign.

First up for Bill Mullaney’s tribe was a home fixture against their Munster counterparts Clare in what turned out to be a very impressive performance despite going down to 14 players for the final 10 minutes of the match.

Having qualified for the Semi-Finals for the last two seasons, their experience showed through from the first whistle using the aid of a strong wind to secure a 0-13 to 0-4 lead at the interval. Dual star Aisling Moloney chipped in with vital scores from her midfield position while the ever reliable Cáit Devane showed yet again her class in front of the posts.

The second-half proved similar to the first with the home side closing out the game by knocking over another seven points. The only blemish in the campaign to date came after 50 minutes when Moloney, who had a mightily impressive match to that point, was red carded for an off the ball infringement, meaning she would miss the remaining group match and also this weekend’s fixture.

As it turned out they had more than enough firepower in the side to cope with her absence as they overcame the Dubs on opposition soil in their second group outing. Unlike their first game, this one was a much closer affair with only five points separating the sides at the final whistle.

Their 1-13 to 0-11 victory meant progression to the knockout stages as table toppers and they have set up a mouth-watering clash against another of their Munster counterparts Waterford.

An Déise are also making a habit of qualifying for the knockout stages having secured the same status last season. This year it came after finishing in second place in Group 2 which featured Kilkenny, Westmeath and Limerick.

An opening round defeat at home to Kilkenny may have disappointed the side but the seven-point margin only spurred on the Munster side in their remaining group fixtures.

Their next outing was mightily impressive, easily defeating Limerick by 2-15 to 0-9 thanks to two goals from Player of the Match Niamh Rockett.

All-Star Beth Carton also produced a clinical display in front of the posts for the Blue and Whites, meaning one more victory over Westmeath would be enough to secure their passage to the knockout stages.

Knowing the task at hand, Waterford went about their business in the last fixture with great effect, scoring 2-17 and conceding just 10 points to last year’s Intermediate champions Westmeath. Another fantastic performance from Carton (1-14) put the Leinster side to the sword who will go into this weekend’s Quarter-Final full of confidence.

Verdict: Tipperary

 

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