CHAMPIONSHIPS really kick into life when they get to the knockout stages and that’s where we’re at in the SE Systems Senior Camogie quarter-finals over the next four days.
Inniscarra and Cloughduv meet tonight, St Finbarr’s v Killeagh and Sarsfields v Courcey Rovers tomorrow in Castleroad and on Monday it's reigning champions Seandún against Éire Óg.
Finalists for the last six seasons, winner of three in a row between 2016-2018, Inniscarra keep coming to the well and take on a Cloughduv side that have really done themselves proud in 2022.
Inniscarra will be firm favourites, Cloughduv will give this one a massive effort. Runners-up to Sars in Group B, Cloughduv took nine points from a possible twelve with wins over Fr O’Neill’s, Newcestown and Ballygarvan, table toppers Sars their only defeat.
Scoring 4-54 and conceding 6-29 Cloughduv will need to considerably tighten up at the back to prevent Joanne Casey, Aileen Sheehan and Ellen Crowley doing damage. Inniscarra had just three games in group A due to the walkover given by Douglas.
Their first-round draw with Courcey Rovers gave them a good standing for their second-round defeat of Glen Rovers and a third-round one-point victory over Killeagh, all three games providing strong competition with notable victories.
St Finbarr’s and Killeagh and Sars-Courceys should be two great games on Saturday afternoon.
The Barrs are tipped as potential champions and with their hurlers also in a strong position that will add to their momentum. They have talent spread throughout with a strong forward division of Keeva McCarthy, Orlaith Cahalane and Sorcha McCartan, all inter-county players, and Ella Wigginton Barrett also in fine form.
Add in the fact that Gemma O’Connor has returned and is lining out at full forward, and it’ll take a really good defence to stop them. Aisling Egan, Grainne Cahalane, Illana Keegan, and Aoife O’Neill all led by Maeve Cahalane in defence, and you see the strength in depth they have.
Killeagh know a hard task awaits but they have answered the call so far. Their fightback against Glen Rovers in round two gave them a strong belief and they followed up that victory with just a one-point defeat to Inniscarra and a three-point victory over Courcey Rovers. So, they’ll head into tomorrow’s game confident that if they dig deep, they can create an upset.
Killeagh finish strong and it’s important they don’t let the Barrs get too much of a head start before they settle. Stephanie Beausang is in form up front, Mary Kate Cullinane is competent between the posts with Ciara Daly, Laura Treacy, Hannah Looney, and Chloe Sigerson the outfield drivers. This one should be enthralling.
Sarsfields topped group B which was expected at the start of the campaign. They’re a young side and they’ll face a similar one tomorrow in Rovers, who were hugely disappointing in 2021 after setting the championship alight in 2020.
Sars are without Katie Barry, their dependable full-back, who is abroad, in addition to the injured Olivia McAllen and those losses are hard to replace. Orlaith Mullins is having an impressive championship. Lucy Allen and Katelyn Sheehan will also need watching.
Rovers are strong in most lines, their forward line lethal when on form and Sars will need to block the supply from the running Saoirse McCarthy and the finish of Fiona Keating and Linda Collins to advance.
Lastly, Seandún and Éire Óg will do battle on Monday evening. What a great season Éire Óg have had finishing second in Group C, their victory over St Catherine’s the one where people stood up and took notice and they followed that up with a three-point victory over Enniskeane, not always an easy hour.
Seandún of course will be favourites for this one, the only slight concern is that it’s three weeks since their last game.
FRIDAY: Inniscarra v Cloughduv, MTU, 8pm.
SATURDAY: St Finbarr’s v Killeagh, Castle Road, 2.45pm, Castle Road; Sarsfields v Courcey Rovers, Castle Road, 5.30pm.
MONDAY: Seandún V Éire Óg, Cloughduv, 8pm.