Eoin Brennan previews this year’s Clare senior camogie championship, with the preliminary action taking place in two groups
Group A – Kilkishen/Bodyke, Kilmaley, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Scariff-Ogonnelloe, St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield
With three of last year’s semi-finalists pooled together in Group A, the developmental race to take on defending champions Inagh-Kilnamona should make for an intriguing wrestle for two semi-final places.
Newmarket certainly won’t require any extra motivational edge after five successive final defeats while 2019 Munster champions Scariff-Ogonnelloe also have a point to prove after their meek semi-final exit at the hands of the Blues.
Kilmaley actually came closest to lowering Inagh-Kilnamona when bringing them all the way to extra-time in their derby penultimate stage clash.
That’s not to rule out Kilkishen/Bodyke or St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield, with the former coming agonisingly close to first reaching last year’s knock-out stages before also missing out on Senior B honours.
However, when blending age profile with experience, Scariff-Ogonnelloe and the opening round winners between old rivals Kilmaley and Newmarket appear best placed to progress.
Group B – Feakle-Killanena, Inagh-Kilnamona, Sixmilebridge, Truagh-Clonlara
On paper, the reigning Senior A and B champions Inagh-Kilnamona and Truagh-Clonlara will be expected to fill the two semi-final spots from Group B, with a final round clash between them to decide the table-toppers.
However, an experienced Sixmilebridge and eager newcomers Feakle-Killanena will be determined to shred that script, with their expected first round ambushes the best way to assess the actual strength of their respective challenges.
Inagh-Kilnamona remain the team to beat, having annexed four of the last five titles and are already awaiting a Munster Final from last year at the backend of 2021.
Feakle/Killanena are also on track for their long-awaited Munster Intermediate decider but will receive a timely barometer against the senior kingpins.
Meanwhile, an opening derby between Truagh-Clonlara and Sixmilebridge will tee up the winners for a semi-final push but Truagh-Clonlara have been the more consistent sides in recent years and will expect to follow Inagh-Kilnamona into the business end once more.
The county Senior Camogie Championship comprises nine teams, divided into two groups, with the top two teams from each advancing to the semi-finals (1A V 2B, 2A V 1B).
The 3rd and 4th placed teams contest the Glenomra Shield (Senior B) Semi-Finals (3A v 4B, 4A v 3B). There is no relegation from this year’s senior championship.
A year longer than they first anticipated to spend in the second tier, Clooney-Quin’s appetite to bounce back to senior level should be sharpened after the heartbreaking manner of last year’s final defeat to Feakle/Killanena.
With no team coming down due to COVID, the three-in-a-row senior finalists from 2012-14 will never get a better chance at redemption with the only stumbling block being complacency in the knock-out stages.
Five group matches should separate the contenders from the strugglers, with neighbours Éire Óg and Clarecastle/Ballyea earmarked to be in the mix while Junior A champions Corofin will be determined to make an impact upon their return to the intermediate.
County Intermediate Camogie Championship comprises six teams, one group, with the top four teams advancing to the semi-finals (1 v 4, 2 v 3).
The winners contest the Intermediate Championship Final while the semi-final losers face-off for the Intermediate Shield.
There is no relegation from this year’s intermediate championship.
Being on the losing end of a county final thriller was of little consolation to Broadford after being edged out by Corofin in last August’s Junior A Final.
However, 12 months on, that experience should stand to Broadford who will be favourites for the 2021 crown.
They will be wary of new amalgamation Ruan/Crusheen who possess an exciting crop of young talent while the strength of the second strings of Inagh-Kilnamona, Kilkishen/Bodyke and newcomers Scariff-Ogonnelloe will depend on who they lose to their flagship sides.
Equally, flagship side Parteen, off the back of reaching their first ever adult county final, will be the hottest of favourites to finally get over the line at Junior B level this time around despite a relative step into the unknown regarding their opponents.
While the formation of a new championship at Junior C level provides a key initial stepping stone for the first teams of Banner, Cratloe and Kilkee-Bealaha to develop.
The County Junior A Camogie Championship comprises five teams, one group, with the top four teams advancing to the semi-finals (1 v 4, 2 v 3).
The winners contest the Junior A Championship Final while the semi-final losers face-off for the Junior A Shield.
There is no relegation from this year’s Junior A championship.