Burden of history unlikely to weigh down sprightly Galway

Galway are looking to stop Cork from lifting a second consecutive camogie title

Galway’s Niamh McGrath will be vital to the county’s title hopes in Croke Park. Throw in is at 4pm with full live coverage on TG4. Photo: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Galway’s Niamh McGrath will be vital to the county’s title hopes in Croke Park. Throw in is at 4pm with full live coverage on TG4. Photo: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

 

It’s hard to shake the feeling in camogie circles that the sooner 2015 goes into the books, the better. A year that started with some of the sport’s best-known names laying down their hurleys came to be filled with rows over a coin-tosses, appeals over time-keeping and arguments over disputed scores. All in all, this is not a summer that will be mourned for too long and more than ever, the sport could do with a decent final here.

Cork are on the hunt for another two-in-a-row, a trend that they’ve made into a bit of a tradition. Of the 12 camogie All-Irelands they’ve won since the early 1908s, 10 of them have come in pairs. Only 2002 and 1995 weren’t followed up by a second title the following year. Whether they can back last year’s comeback effort up here is open to all sorts of questions.

To be still standing at all is fair going, given that they lost a huge chunk of last year’s team. Anna Geary, Jenny O’Leary, Angela Walsh and Joanne O’Callaghan stepped off the merry-go-round, taking nearly two-dozen All-Ireland medals with them between camogie and football.

Joanne Casey, the only sub used by Cork in the final last year walked away too and they’ve been missing Eimear O’Sullivan through injury for most of 2015 too.

They’ve already lost two games in this year’s championship, as well as the league final to Galway. If they come through this, it won’t be because experience got them over the line like it did in last year’s final.

Galway, meanwhile, arrive in the final having not lost a game in league or championship all year. They retain a pretty strong core of the team that won the senior All-Ireland two years ago, with Shauna Healy and Finola Keeley added in from that year’s All-Ireland intermediate-winning side. If they have an edge here, it is in their scoring power, with Niamh McGrath the star turn at centre-forward.

With 25 titles to Galway’s two, it can only be history that has Cork coming in as the oddsmakers’ favourites. On the basis that Galway have beaten them twice already this year, it seems wiser to stick with current form as a basis for a pick.

Verdict: Galway

Galway: Susan Earner; Therese Manton, Sarah Dervan, Heather Cooney; Siobhan Coen, Shauna Healy, Lorraine Ryan; Niamh Kilkenny, Clodagh McGrath; Aoife Donohue, Niamh McGrath, Finola Keeley; Catherine Finnerty, Molly Dunne, Ailish O’Reilly

Cork: Aoife Murray; Rena Buckley, Laura Treacy, Leanne O’Sullivan; Pamela Mackey, Gemma O’Connor, Meadbh Cahalane; Julia White, Ashling Thompson; Orla Cotter, Orla Cronin, Katrina Mackey; Breige Corkery, Amy O’Connor, Hannah Looney.

Referee: Ray Kelly (Kildare)

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