With the county’s senior hurlers and Gaelic footballers making successful championship starts, it’s the turn of Galway’s senior camogie team to begin their quest for the O’Duffy Cup this Saturday (2.30pm at Parnells’ Coolock) when they take on Dublin.
The Tribeswomen will be strong favourites to overcome the Metropolitans in a group which also includes All-Ireland champions Kilkenny, as well as Clare and Waterford. Those other four sides began their campaign last weekend, with Dublin defeating Clare 3-11 to 1-14; while Kilkenny were 2-15 to 0-6 winners over Waterford.
Dublin are managed by former Kilkenny All-Ireland winning goalkeeper, David Herity, and goals from Siobhan Kehoe, Aisling Maher and Zoe O’Donoghue gave them the spoils with Faye McCarthy and Ali Twomey prominent scorers against Clare. They have targeted their two home games in the group, and will relish the joust with the 2013 All-Ireland champions.
Having not played in 10 weeks, Galway could be slow to assert their superiority but in truth, if the 2013 champions are to be realistic contenders this year, they should be comfortable victors. Last year, the Tribeswomen prevailed 5-9 to 1-7 in Parnell Park with Ailish O’Reilly and Noreen Coen sharing the green flags.
The same two netted with Orlaith McGrath in 2014, when Galway won 3-21 to 1-5. Indeed, the average gap in their last four championship meetings is 18.5 points.
New manager Mark Dunne led Galway to four victories in the round-robin stage of the league before they came up short against Kilkenny 1-14 to 0-11 in the semi-final. A positive first half wasn’t matched in the second period as the Noresiders’ sharpness from a stronger group stage told.
“There were positives and I suppose, we wouldn’t count them as negatives,” said Dunne. “There was learning curves more so than anything. But we were disappointed to lose it. Our intention was not to lose anything, and I suppose we reset for that again and we go with the same mentality. But you could lose that and concentrate on all the positives but we needed to learn.
“We needed to learn from that or we’d just be fooling ourselves. I think we did learn, and the responsibility the players have taken since then has been immense. So, it kind of comes down to them, and we couldn’t praise them enough for their response since that.”
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.