ROSCOMMON may not be rated as a camogie stronghold but their senior champions, Four Roads, are an experienced outfit and have been knocking on the door for All-Ireland junior club honours in recent years. Because of that experience, they will start this Sunday’s All-Ireland final at Kenny Park in Athenry against Corofin, the Clare and Munster champions, as favourites.
For the past two years, the Roscommon club has lost out at the All-Ireland semi-final stage, while six years ago they contested the All-Ireland final of this championship. Most of their players who figured in these games will make up Sunday’s team, which means they have a very experienced outfit.
That said, Corofin have grown in confidence throughout this campaign, even though all involved with the team have admitted that challenging for the All-Ireland title was not a consideration throughout the summer.
After losing the Clare intermediate finals of 2008 and 2009, the focus for Corofin this year was very much on getting over the final hurdle in their home county. All their preparations and plans were focussed on this, so when they achieved that target, it came as no surprise that wild celebrations followed.
They re-grouped after a week off and preparations got underway for a Munster final contest with Cappoquin from Waterford. In a tie played at Cashel, they recovered from a poor start to win comfortably and add the Munster title to their winnings.
They played well when beating Tir na nÓg from Antrim in the semi-final two weeks ago and will be looking to continue that form this week.
“Everybody is fit and well and there are no injury concerns,” commented team mentor Ollie O’Loughlin this week. “Training has gone well and it’s all systems go for the final on Sunday,” he added.
He admitted the Clare side know little about their opponents, other than that they reached the All-Ireland semi-final for the past two years.
“In that regard, it’s a little like the lead up to our semi-final, as we knew little about Tir na nÓg. We will be concentrating on our own team and aiming to play to our best.”
O’Loughlin and his fellow selector Pa Ryan won’t finalise their starting line-up until later this week but it’s expected to be similar to that which started against the Ulster champions.
Lisa Clancy and Muireann Kelleher are expected to fill the central defensive positions, with Edel Keating and Niamh O’Dea continuing their partnership in the middle of the field.
The team’s top scorer, Claire Commane will most likely start at centre-forward but is likely to move to the inside line at some stage, while the forward line is also expected to include the team captain, Aislinn Kelleher.
Meanwhile, the Connacht outfit will be looking to the likes of team captain Donna Kelly, who will probably start at full-forward, Niamh and Siobhán Coyle, Orla and Brenda Hughes, Catherine Rogerson and Aisling Fallon.
Having been in the concluding stages of this competition in recent years, they look to have the edge on experience but confidence is high in the Corofin camp and they are sure to make a great big effort to be crowned All-Ireland champions.