THERE were no surprises last weekend in Group two of the senior camogie championship.
Galway had a strong win over Antrim, Limerick beat Down and Kilkenny had a 3-17 to 2-7 victory over Offaly.
It stands as I suggested it would. It’s all down to the final day.
Six games are down for decision: Cork v Tipp, Clare v Waterford, Wexford v Dublin in Group 1 with Galway v Kilkenny, Down v Offaly, and Antrim v Limerick in Group 2.
Galway and Kilkenny are streets ahead of the rest and third place will be determined by the Limerick and Antrim clash.
A draw will do Limerick. Antrim need a win. Limerick will have a hard battle up north.
The Cork intermediates lost their fourth-round game to Derry last weekend and now, level on points, they hold a seven-point scoring advantage over second-placed Derry. They need a win over Kildare, a curtain-raiser to the senior game in the Páirc today, and to beat them by greater than the seven points that Derry beat Wexford by (if they win).
So, both teams need a win first and foremost and then a high-scoring average.
This won't be the time to give your extended panel a run. Throw-in time is 2pm in both games so Twitter will be the place to keep an eye on proceedings throughout the hour for scoring updates.
Kilkenny led by 12 points at the interval on the way to their victory over Offaly. The Cats racked up the scores with relative ease in the first half and after Mairéad Teehan equalised Denise Gaule’s opener,
Julieanne Malone began a run of 12 successive scores for Brian Dowling’s side that included six more points for Gaule.
Miriam Walsh, Aoife Prendergast, and Michaela Kennelly also clipped over nice scores and though Sarah Harding provided a brief respite for Offaly with a goal, Kilkenny’s reply was ruthlessly swift, Katie Nolan rattling the Faithful’s net from the next attack to make it 1-13 to 1-1 at the break.
Nolan grabbed her second goal six minutes after the resumption and when Malone raised another green flag in the 29th minute, the margin was 18.
Offaly must now defeat Down today to avoid a relegation play-off. A draw will be enough for Down to maintain their elite status. Down fell to Limerick by 2-11 to 0-12 but would have been harbouring quarter-final hopes approaching half-time as they led by nine points.
Limerick had the wind in the second half but more significant was the presence of Costelloe, who finished with a tally of 2-10 as she dragged the Shannonsiders back into the game and then hauled them clear of the visitors.
Galway opened up daylight early on against Antrim and dominated throughout.
The Camogie Association issued instructions to the relevant counties during the week that only four members of management are to be listed on programmes.
I appreciate that backroom teams are massive now but to list just four? Many counties have five selectors.
Speaking with Matthew Twomey during the week, he isn’t buying into it and doesn’t want any member listed if they all can’t be, well certainly more than four anyway.
However, if managements refuse to give four then the onus is on their county board to name the manager and three others who will appear on the programme.
There are people volunteering with inter-county teams that are giving endless hours a week to it.
They don’t get paid; they don’t even get expenses in the majority of cases.
The only little bit of recognition they get, and joy that their families and children get, is seeing their name on a programme.
It seems to be less and less about the volunteer, doesn’t it?
Did they really have to do this?
It’s important and interesting. If a team is in great shape, you’d glance at the programme to see who the driver behind that was. These won’t be named if the selectors are. There are some who volunteer to get their name ‘out there.’
It’s good for their sporting profile and in some cases their business profile. I know it was extremely difficult to get a strong backroom team in place this year and that’s the same across every code.
It will be even more difficult going forward if people aren’t even slightly recognised for their efforts.