Thurles Sarsfields' Karen Kennedy is one of the emerging stars on the Tipperary senior Camogie team. Photo: Inpho
Bill Mullaney’s Tipperary team will face Cork in the Munster Senior Camogie Championship final on Saturday, May 26th at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork (1.30pm) - the Premier County face into this provincial final as distinct underdogs against the defending All-Ireland champions.
On Saturday, May 5th a rousing display saw the Tipperary senior Camogie team surge into the provincial final for the first time since 2015 thanks to an eleven-point semi-final win over the defending Munster champions Limerick at The Ragg (1-24 to 1-13).
In 2017 the Premier County had suffered two championship reversals at the hands of the Shannonsiders - Tipperary lost to Limerick in a Munster semi-final (0-14 to 1-14) and in the All-Ireland series (3-12 to 1-20) - but the performance of the Bill Mullaney-managed outfit in recent semi-final suggests that this group of players have turned a significant corner.
And, Tipperary should have no qualms about facing the defending All-Ireland champions in their own back yard. Tipp worked incredibly hard against a well-regarded Limerick team. Indeed, there was a real edge to the Tipperary tackling and although it led to cautions for Karen Kennedy and Ereena Fryday in the opening half the Premier County set the terms and conditions of the contest right from the first whistle.
The work rate of the half-forward line (Ciardha Maher, Orla O’Dwyer & Sarah Fryday) was especially eye-catching and the determination of this trio had a huge impact on the semi-final contest.
Ereena Fryday enjoyed a terrific outing in the middle of the field, Grace O’Brien buried the key goal and Cáit Devane was superb, but Casey Hennessy absolutely stole the show - the corner-forward belted over six points from play and worked like a woman possessed.
Sarah Quigley (Nenagh Éire Óg) made her Munster championship debut in goal with the experienced Ciannait Walsh (Éire Óg Annacarty) and Gemma Grace (Burgess-Duharra) in front of her. Laura Loughnane is settling into her corner-back role even though Laura plays in attack for Thurles Sarsfields.
At number six Karen Kennedy is maturing into a senior centr- back having excelled there at under- 16 and minor level.
Tipperary will, of course, also be keeping one eye on the up-coming All-Ireland championship campaign which begins on June 9th with a home match against Meath followed by a tricky June 16th fixture away to Galway.
The Tipperary team is managed by Bill Mullaney (Newport-Ballinahinch), Niamh Lillis (Drom & Inch), Cian Treacy (Thurles Sarsfields), Carmel Bradshaw (Ballina) and Aaron Whelahan (Birr, Offaly).
The starting Premier County team against Limerick read as follows: Sarah Quigley (Nenagh Éire Óg), Laura Loughnane (Thurles Sarsfields), Gemma Grace (Burgess-Duharra), Ceannait Walsh (Éire Óg Annacarty), Clodagh Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Karen Kennedy (Thurles Sarsfields), Mary Ryan (Moneygall), Róisín Cahill (Kilruane MacDonagh’s), Ereena Fryday (Knockavilla Kickhams), Ciardha Maher (Burgess-Duharra), Orla O’Dwyer (Cashel, captain), Sarah Fryday (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Grace O’Brien (Nenagh Éire Óg), Cáit Devane (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Casey Hennessy (Clonoulty-Rossmore). Subs used: Jean Kelly (Éire Óg Annacarty), Megan Ryan (Borris-Ileigh), Julie Anne Bourke (Borris-Ileigh) & Miriam Campion (Drom & Inch).
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