That old mantra of the GAA being in the DNA will be very much to the fore at Croke Park this Sunday when several members of the McGrath family will spearhead Galway’s double bid for success in the All-Ireland senior and intermediate camogie finals.
Indeed, it is a real family affair with Niamh – Galway’s top scorer in the championship – and Clodagh featuring on the senior panel while their sister Orlaith will lead the Tribeswomen’s attack in the intermediate decider earlier in the afternoon.
And the family connections do not end there with their aunt Emma Kilkelly also set to line out for the Galway seniors, alongside her nieces, in the senior showpiece. Emma is a sister of the McGrath girls’ mother Geraldine, who, coincidentally, is Chairperson of Galway Camogie Board.
Interestingly, Niamh, Clodagh and Orlaith are daughters of former Galway hurler Michael ‘Hopper’ McGrath, a member of the 1987 and 1988 All-Ireland winning team and the association with that great team of this era continues with Maria Cooney – daughter of Joe Cooney – and Ann Marie Hayes – niece of Conor Hayes – also set to line out with the Galway intermediates and seniors respectively on Sunday.
Added to this, members of the groundbreaking 1980 All-Ireland winning squad, Jackie Dervan and Pascal Ryan, both of daughters on the senior team, Sarah Dervan and captain Lorraine Ryan, with Lorraine’s uncle Eanna also part of the successful ’87 and ’88 Galway outfit.
There is also a strong link between this year’s senior camogie finalists and Galway’s one and only All-Ireland winning side of 1996, with boss Tony Ward managing both, and four-time Galway All-Star Therese Maher having two sisters on the ’96 panel, namely Dympna and Gretta.
For full preview see this week’s Connacht Tribune