With eight minutes played in Saturday’s All-Ireland minor camogie semi-final, Robyn Conway set the tone for what was to come.
The full-forward raced out to put pressure on a Tipperary defender who was about to launch a ball down on top of the Clare defence. She robbed the ball from under her opponent’s nose, and quicker than a u-turn on water charges, she was gone and headed for goal. It took a fairly hefty and possibly dangerous tackle on the Feakle woman to halt her progress, but her team benefited from it as the resultant free was converted.
It sent a message to an undoubtedly over-confident Tipperary side that they were in the white-heat of battle and would get nothing easy. The Premier confidence in the stands was voiced as patrons wondered about a wedding that was on the following weekend that would clash with the final. As it turns out, they can rock the boat without any crisis of conscience now.
Clare were lead valiantly from the back by their captain Roisín Minogue, with the Bodyke woman keeping the ship steady as Tipperary rallied late. She says hearing the final whistle was a brilliant feeling.
“It was just unbelievable to hear it. When they scored the goal my heart nearly came out of my mouth but it just shows the character and heart that is in this group to battle back and get the win. Every ball that came in near us, we knew we just had to get the hooks and blocks in and try to get rid of it some way because we knew their forwards would be waiting to punish us if we didn’t. We set the target at the start of the year to try and reach this point so to hear that final whistle and realise that we have made it was just brilliant” she said.
Conway was a stone in the Tipperary shoe throughout the contest as she not only created several scoring opportunities but also racked up three brilliant points from play herself. She says getting over the line was a huge moment for them.
“We lost the semi-final last year so this year we came back absolutely gunning for it. We knew this team from the first year we got together that we have always been a serious group and we knew the talent was there to do it so it’s great to be in the final now. The experience of being there last year really stood to us I think. It’s a big day so there’s going to be nerves and things like that but to have gone through it so recently we knew how to handle it which was great. We knew this was going to be a massive battle and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. We knew we would have to throw everything into it from the first whistle to the last and we did that” she noted.
The clock in Gort GAA had long since hit the 30 minute mark when the Tipperary goal came, and it wasn’t until the 63rd minute had passed that the referee finally called an end to proceedings. The Clare captain admits they thought the final whistle would never come.
“It felt like it was never ending. We thought the whistle would never come but thankfully it did. We have a massive few days ahead of us now and it’s crucial we get the preparation right for it in terms of recovery and all that. Everyone put in such a huge effort to get us to this point and it’s a real testament to the dedication and work-rate right throughout the squad. Work-rate is so important and we really delivered on that so I think we were well deserving of the win. Being in an All-Ireland final is massive for Clare Camogie at any grade and they don’t come around too often so we want to make the most of the chance we have in front of us now. It’s great to be there and hopefully we can go one step further on Saturday” she concluded.