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The All-Ireland Camogie finals take place this Sunday in Croke Park, with Wexford and Cork competing for the O’Duffy Cup. If you’re new to Ireland, or if “De Gah“* is a bit of a blind spot for you, camogie is that sport that looks like ice hockey being played in the air on a rugby pitch. It’s also, in my ever-so-slightly biased opinion, the greatest of sports.
Image: Pat Murphy/SPORTSFILE via Facebook
Wexford are looking for their third All-Ireland title in a row this weekend, and I can’t help but feel sorry for anyone trying to stand in their way. Six of the 2011 Camogie All Stars play for Wexford and they are a team with plenty of talent and experience on their side. They beat Offaly more than comfortably in the semi-final a few weeks ago — no discredit to Offaly who have come a tremendous way in the last few years, progressing through the divisions at lightning speed. This year was their debut at senior level, so hats off to the Faithful County.
Cork haven’t made it to the final since 2009, when they last won the O’Duffy cup, so they will certainly have ‘the hunger’ for it. They had to work hard to get past Galway in the semi-final, only really pulling away in the final minutes of the game with two superb goals engineered by Jennifer O’Leary, Katríona Mackey and Síle Burns. Regardless, Cork have a strong team with a healthy combination of big match experience and young blood.
Kate Kelly and Katrina Parrock will be women to watch in Wexford’s attack, while the likes of the Leacy sisters bring a wealth of experience and leadership to the field.
Briege Corkery, a major asset to Cork in both camogie and ladies’ football since the age of 15 (she’s won All Star Awards for both), will be keen to cause trouble up the other end of the pitch along with fellow Rebelettes O’Leary, Mackey and Burns.
The Final will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2 and online.
The 2011 All-Ireland Camogie final (Wexford 2-7 – Galway 1-8) was attended by a little over 14,000 people. The hurling final was attended by over 81,000. The two events are separated by just a week on the calendar and are held in the same venue… the mind boggles.
Woefully under appreciated and under reported as the sport clearly is, the great news is that you can rock up to Croke Park this Sunday afternoon and buy yourself a reasonably priced ticket at the turnstile. You’ll probably get a great seat, too. To attend the hurling final you’d need to have sold your soul several weeks ago.
If you can’t wait till Sunday for your annual fix of top class ‘gurling’, or if you’re strapped for cash, check out the All-Ireland Camogie 7s which are running all day Saturday.
The one-day seven-a-side competition has been hosted by Kilmacud Crokes in Stillorgan every year for the last 38 years, and will showcase camogie talent from 48 clubs from Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S.A. The chance to see so many fantastic inter-county players in the one place on the one day is not one you should pass over lightly. Matches start at 10:30 in the morning, and the finals are usually about half five or six.
If you’re feeling inspired, the puc fada competition is open to spectators!
What? Camogie 7s All-Ireland Final
Where? Kilmacud Crokes, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin
When? Saturday, 15th September 2012 from 10:30am
What? Cork v Wexford – Camogie All-Ireland Final
Where? Croke Park, Dublin
When? Sunday, 16th September 2012 at 4pm
(Also: Junior Final at 12noon; Intermediate Final at 2:00pm)
* Technically, the camogie championship is run by the Camogie Association and not the GAA. They do things “in association” with one another.