WITHIN weeks of the All-Ireland championship’s conclusion, thoughts turn to next year.
What’s needed by the counties that didn’t take All-Ireland honours and what’s required by the champions to stay on top.
Galway goalkeeper Sarah Healy is adamant the All-Ireland camogie champions “can go much further” than two final wins in three years. Galway’s status as camogie’s outstanding team of recent years was cemented on September 12, following on as it did from their 2019 victory and Healy spoke of a determination to add further silverware in the coming seasons.
Galway manager Cathal Murray also said that the next challenge for his All-Ireland winning troops is to do back-to-back. So, he doesn’t’ seem to be going anywhere, and going on Healy’s tone, the belief is certainly there that Galway can achieve such.
“We believe in our camp that we are a great team. We think of ourselves like that, so from the loss of last year we knew we were good enough to come back, we knew we were a good team, and that with the work we do that we can win two, we can win three,” said the Galway shot-stopper.
“We just got to believe that and push on. We have the players to do that.”
With three marquee players in their early 30s time will tell if they decide to bow out at the top. You can’t underestimate the void Sarah Dervan, 33, Catriona Cormican, 33, and Niamh Kilkenny, 32, will leave when they decide to hang up their boots.
Just as in Cork, we haven’t yet replaced the likes of Orla Cotter, Rena Buckley, and Gemma O’Connor. It takes time. But every county goes through it and Cork are in the fortunate position of not having to start from too far back.
We’ve won the last two out of three All-Ireland minor titles, losing the third final, and even when we weren’t winning those titles, we were still winning senior titles.
Galway might feel however that there is another year there before Cork reap the full rewards of their transition and Kilkenny, having been around a long time, still have to replace the void filled by Anne Dalton. Denise Gaule is 30 and Kilkenny will find it very difficult to replenish there when the time comes.
So, the big three are facing into a transitional period. Are Cork ahead in that regard?
You would think so with five debutants featuring in this year’s All-Ireland final and the rest of the team in their mid-20s, Ashling Thompson aside. Cork are a year or two ahead of Galway and Kilkenny in that regard.
That didn’t ease the pain of losing the All-Ireland final but it’s something that future management can take as a positive.
It has yet to be announced if a new management team will take over the reins after Paudie Murray’s 10 seasons in charge. Paudie is tipped to take over the Cork minor hurling role leaving the high-profile inter-county camogie position open.
A new management always brings a buzz for players, depending on who it is of course, and I think it’s vital that there is an excitement around the new set up if there is to be one.
Changes also need to be made. Some players on the panel aren’t up to the level and there are others not on the panel who should be, albeit many by their own choosing.
Where are Cork at this stage? Linda Collins has left for a two-year teaching adventure to Dubai while Hannah Looney will be in New York until next spring at least. Two huge losses.
While Cork’s semi-final win was very impressive and when it works, it looks great, I still feel we are too slow in getting the ball inside to our forwards. From the outset, Galway drove long diagonal balls into their corners.
We talk about keeping possession and working the ball through the lines and yet Galway’s half-back line completely dominated the game.
I also feel that Chloe Sigerson’s best position is in the half-back line.
Roll on 2022!