Cork vs Clare 14:30 on 21/02/15 at Cork Camogie Grounds
It’s the beginning of a new campaign for Clare camogie as Colm Honan’s senior side when they travel Leeside to face the reigning All-Ireland Champions.
Clare find themselves in a difficult group with Cork, League Champions Kilkenny, Dublin and Derry, with only two teams advancing to the last four. Needless to say a good start is imperative for the Banner as the sooner they hit form the better.
At present that task is more difficult as one of Clare’s most consistent players Deirdre Murphy has yet to link up with the panel but on the plus side has not officially announced her retirement. The McMahon sisters of Kilmaley Claire and Helen are not part of the panel as of yet and the duo will be a mammoth loss. Add in the fact that Eimear Considine is tied up with the Irish rugby side and Naomi Carroll in action with the Irish Hockey team and it shows how much of a tricky situation the Clare girls find themselves in.
On the other hand, Cork are setting the standards and enjoying the high-life that comes with the territory of being crowned All-Ireland Champions. The vastly experienced Jennifer O’Leary has called time on her career in the Cork jersey and the Barryroe woman will be a big loss to the setup. Such is the luxury in Cork camogie that no player is irreplaceable and a host of younger players are itching to make the step-up.
There has been some change behind the scenes in the management of Clare camogie. Peter Casey has moved to on ‘bigger and better’ things after joining Donal Moloney’s management for the Clare U21 hurlers. Leon Raath has come in as Strength and Conditioning coach and his introduction has been widely received by players and management. Dave Barry and Patricia O’Grady have remained as selectors with O’Grady now having a greater role since Casey’s departure.
Colm Honan will have learned a lot since his first year as manager of the Clare senior camogie team. He now knows the players better and the players are more accustomed to the Clonlara man. 2014 was a mixed bag but to his credit, Honan unlike his Clare teammates of the eighties and generations since is now doing something for camogie in the County and he is to be praised for that.
However praise won’t win matches and Clare are in for a battle to compete in this group. Some individuals have said reaching the League final of 2014 was a great achievement, it was an achievement but the display on the day certainly took away from it.
Cork are the team to beat when it comes to inter-county camogie, as previously mentioned they set the standards. Believe it or not but Clare could easily climb the extra steps to get there. However it remains unclear if this will happen with players going travelling for the summer and league preparations being greatly affected by schools and colleges action.
Nonetheless a relatively strong Clare team has been named for this encounter. Down the centre the Banner are rock solid so they will have to ensure the Rebeletes don’t clean up ball in defence. Fresh from being selected on the Ashbourne All-Star team, UL duo Laura McMahon and Niamh O’Dea line out at full-back and midfield respectively. All-Star Maire McGrath is named at centre-back while Chloe Morey will wear eleven.
In what would be an intellectual decision, the Clare followers should make a day out of the trip to Cork and take in the camogie match before preparing themselves for the hurling equivalent. The chances of such a move happening are unlikely though.
1: Denise Lynch (Kilmaley)
2: Aoife Griffin (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
3: Laura McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
4: Carol O’Leary (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
5: Kate Lynch (Kilkishen)
6: Maire McGrath (Sixmilebridge)
7: Kathleen Horgan (Truagh/Clonlara)
8: Róisín McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
9: Niamh O’Dea (Kilmaley)
10: Lisa Loughnane (Kilkishen)
11: Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge)
12: Eimear Kelly (Truagh/Clonlara)
13: Ellen Horgan (Truagh/Clonlara)
14: Fiona Lafferty (Inagh/Kilnamona)
15: Vera Loughnane (Feakle).