Offaly Camogie Out For Leinster Double On Sunday

Thursday, 25 May 2017

THE Offaly camogies team are on the hunt for a Leinster championship double this Sunday in St. Brendan's Park Birr with the seniors taking on Kilkenny in the senior final at 4pm and the juniors facing Wicklow at 12 noon in their decider - the finals are part of a treble bill.

Most attention will focus on the senior showdown and in recent years, Offaly have been very competitive in the Leinster championship, reaching the final in the last two years, losing to Kilkenny in 2015 and Wexford in 2016.

Having defeated the 2016 Leinster champions in the quarter-finals Offaly will be hoping for this form to continue ahead of the game. On their path to the final Offaly also defeated intermediate side Kildare comfortably on a scoreline of 4-18 to 2-8 to set up a final date with 2017 League champions Kilkenny. The Cat's defeated both Dublin (0-15 to 1-9) and Meath (2-18 to 0-11) to reach the final.

The last time Offaly and Kilkenny crossed paths was in the All-Ireland Quarter-final last August. The eventual All-Ireland Champions Kilkenny came away with a comfortable win in Nenagh on a scoreline of Kilkenny 1-19 Offaly 0-11, However form suggests this will be a much tighter affair. After racking up a colossal 4-31 in two games, the Faithful forwards are in scoring form and will be hard stopped once the ball is thrown.

All-Ireland Champions Kilkenny are a big physical side and tend to play very defensive, opting usually with seven defenders to free up their corner forwards and 2016 player of the year Denise Gaule. However, the management team of former Offaly hurler Paddy Kirwan, Joe O'Connor and Michael Cordial will all be hoping to counter the plans of 2016 Camogie Manager of the year Anne Downey and Conor Phelan.

With Tina Hannon now back on the panel and the emergence of some new young guns, the Offaly team that would already be backboned by the likes of Jean Brady, Michaela Morkan, Arlene Watkins, Lorraine Keena and Triona McDonald, look to be in a good place ahead of the final.

With Limerick in the first round of the All Ireland championship to come in June, the Leinster championship is an ideal chance to get some quality and championship paced games. Kilkenny will be a test but Offaly can afford to go and play with freedom and see where that takes them.

The team has seen a shake up since their last encounter with Michaela Morkan now operating at six and Siobhan Flannery pushed towards the forward line. Lorraine Keena and Linda Sullivan have reversed their attacking roles and are now in defence while the addition of Patrice Delaney and Mairead Daly has added plenty of life to the squad.

The Leinster Senior Camogie final will be the final game of three in the Leinster camogie finals day with the Offaly juniors also lining out in the junior final against Wicklow.

The Juniors beat Carlow in the semi final two weeks ago and they will be hoping that they can get the day off to the perfect start for the Faithful County.

Playing in just their second game of the year this Sunday at 12pm in St.Brendan's Park Birr, the Offaly junior camogie team face the reigning Leinster junior champions Wicklow.

On the other side of the draw, Wicklow comprehensively defeated the 2016 finalists Louth hitting 1-18 to Louth's 2-3. The Offaly team has a great blend of youth and experience with a number of minor players opting into the squad since being knocked out of the All-Ireland championship. Joint Captains Lisa Brady and Mary Teehan will lead the squad in a bid to win the Leinster junior camogie cup for the first time since 1999. The Leinster championship provides a great springboard for the All-Ireland championship which throws in for the Faithful on July 1st.

It is also a massive chance for Offaly supporters to see their County in two finals on the same day on home soil in Birr.







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