Galway will be aiming to bridge a 14- year gap by capturing the O’Duffy Cup this coming Sunday when they meet Leinster kingpins Wexford in the Gala All Ireland Senior Camogie Final at Croke Park.
Offaly face Wexford in the Intermediate final while Waterford take on Antrim in the Premier Junior decider; completing the triple header fixture.
Speaking at this afternoon’s Captains Day at the Gibson Hotel, manager Noel Finn acknowledged that the Connacht side have been waiting a considerable length of time for silverware, but highlighted that his charges did not feel the burden of history upon their shoulders.
“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 the ‘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.
Finn joined Galway captain Therese Maher, Wexford manager JJ Doyle and captain Una Leacy; Wexford Intermediate manager Karen Barnes, skipper Ciara O’ Connor, Offaly duo Joachim Kelly and Michaela Morkan and Premier Junior Finalists, Antrim manager Michael McCullough, captain Jane Adams, Waterford’s Andy Maloney and captain Mairead Murphy in the Point Village venue for the Gala Camogie Finals Captains Day.
Offaly, make their third All Ireland final appearance in a row under Joachim Kelly and the former hurling star highlighted the task his side face.
“Wexford have great strength and depth as shown by the fact that both the seniors and intermediates train together. We played them in the Division Two league final in April and they came away victorious on that occasion. Our side are looking forward to Sunday but we will need to be at our best to get the win,” commented Kelly.
Waterford will be looking to erase last year’s All Ireland final memories when they face Ulster side Antrim in the opening fixture on Gala Camogie finals day.
Manager Andy Maloney, a former Tipperary hurler will point to his native county’s recent All Ireland winning exploits for added inspiration for his young side who play their second All Ireland Premier Junior final in a row.
Speaking at today’s event President of the Camogie Association Joan O’Flynn;
“This coming Sunday creates a new tradition within Camogie. Our first triple header in Croke Park is a special occasion. It is a truly national event bringing together six teams, five counties and representation from the four provinces.
“The centre piece is the O’Duffy Cup and Galway and Wexford have the chance to achieve ultimate glory. Both visited GAA Headquarters within the last three years; Wexford victorious in ’07 and Galway contesting the ’08 tie.
Both Wexford and Offaly have the opportunity to create some sporting history. Both contest the first ever Intermediate camogie final in Croke Park while the Premier Junior decider brings together two counties with a rich camogie tradition; Waterford and Antrim. Waterford playing in their second final in a row and Antrim aiming to capture a much sought after All Ireland title.”
Gary Desmond, CEO of Gala who are now in their fifth year of sponsorship of the Camogie Championship, joined this year’s All Ireland contenders.
“Today’s six captains have certainly led by example throughout the duration of the Gala All-Ireland Camogie Championship. Progressing to the Gala Camogie All-Irelands is quite a feat and symbolises the commitment and dedication that the Wexford, Galway, Offaly, Wexford, Antrim teams have demonstrated throughout the season. Good luck to all of the captains and their teams on Sunday.
“On the Camogie Association’s national day of the year, Gala would encourage all of the counties to get behind their teams, and for players and friends of Camogie across Ireland to turn out in force this Sunday at Croke Park.”