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Clare Camogie manager, John Carmody.
Clare Camogie manager, John Carmody. Photograph by Natasha Barton

Carmody looking to Croke Park bounce for future of Clare Camogie


A rising tide lifts all boats comes to mind when speaking to John Carmody on his hopes for the future of Clare Camogie. Not content to just savour a first All-Ireland Final appearance in Croke Park this Sunday, the Kilmaley clubman, who guided the Clare minor camogie teams to successive All-Ireland deciders at the backend of the noughties, is confident that if the current momentum can raise the bar for all their adult teams.
“Look, we’ve a fantastic team, particularly this year as our results have been outstanding. We’ve shown real composure and shown a team ethic that you need to win big games and we’ll need that again on Sunday, We’ve asked the girls for one final push as we’ve focused on improving performances every day we’ve gone out this year and none more so than Sunday week as we’re targeting our best performance of the year. And if we get that, hopefully we’ll be going up the steps of the Hogan Stand for the trophy.
“There’s three or four years of great work to get to this stage, particularly the last two years we’ve really intensified the work and really trawled the county for young talent.
“I think the performances and strides that the senior girls made last year made the phone calls to join this year’s panel much easier as girls wanted to be part of this set-up.
“Our senior team, like many others, are trying to break into that top four and whether we like it or not, we’re not there yet. I mean we had some great performances again this year but the results don’t lie, at the end of the day we didn’t get there.
“That said, we have to be encouraged by Waterford’s progression to an All-Ireland Senior Final and we have to be encouraged by the fact that now we’ve made the breakthrough of getting to Croke Park ourselves.

We’ve a fantastic team, particularly this year as our results have been outstanding. We’ve shown real composure and shown a team ethic that you need to win big games and we’ll need that again on Sunday.

“So with this, I’d be saying to the senior girls to really stick with it now as hopefully we now have the addition of players here that can bolster that senior squad next year and have a real push for glory.
“Ultimately Clare Camogie need our senior team to be in Croke Park so hopefully thanks to this breakthrough we can secure silverware on Sunday and have a conveyor belt of talent coming through that can add six or seven of this panel to our senior squad for next year that are not going to be making up numbers.
“They will be there to push for places themselves and create that competition for places that the senior team will relish and need and I would hope that that dynamic would take the senior team forward next year into the big games.”
Having been downed by Tipperary in a battle of the counties’ flagship sides in this year’s Munster Senior Final, it’s fitting that the inter-county camogie season ends on a similar derby note.
“It’s Munster Championship now isn’t it? Tipperary are on a similar path to ourselves. We beat them in a Munster Semi-Final last year with an excellent second half performance in The Ragg while they went on this year and put that Munster Championship in the bag.
“As well as that, they have traditionally been an intermediate team so they are operating at a division above us in the National League so they have that slight advantage.
“So it has the makings of a cracker of a game. In a way we’re happy to be shut of northern opposition so it’s novel pairing, a local rivalry as well but at the end of the day, our girls have suffered enough heartbreak at this level so our girls are focused and really looking forward to the occasion.
“Croke Park has had the tradition of bringing out the best in Clare teams so hopefully that rubs off on our girls on Sunday.”
However, while it’s great to get to Croke Park, the bottom line is that victory is all that ultimately matters on Sunday so ironically Carmody is also trying to ensure that the players play the game and not the occasion.
“The test for us now is to forget about Croke Park and to realise that it’s just another pitch with lines and two sets of goalposts. Ultimately it might come down to who can forget about Croke Park and be able to implement their gameplan best amidst the big crowd and atmosphere that will prosper.
“That’s our job for the coming week, to ground these girls and forget about Croke Park. Because Croke Park will only be remembered if you leave with the cup, nobody remembers who loses finals in Croke Park so that’s our job now, to install that in the girls.
“And I think we will as this is a great bunch who are grounded and hungry, This has been coming for quite a few years so now that we’re there, hopefully now that the semi-final monkey is off their backs, they can let rip in the final and have a real go.”

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