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Women in Sport

27th Feb 2019

Camogie coming up in Waterford and whole county is backing it

Niall McIntyre

Camogie is the word in Gaultier these days.

The little village tucked away in the sunny south east of Waterford are preparing for an All-Ireland intermediate final this weekend and the place is hopping and the people are buzzing.

The camogie club is at the centre of it all. Gailltír aren’t complete greenhorns to this stage – they were in an All-Ireland semi-final against Eglish of Tyrone two years ago but there’s something different about the place this year, according to the team’s corner back Claire Dunne.

“It’s the first All Ireland final we’ve made. The club celebrated 60 years last year so it’s a great time to be in the club and be involved,” she said to us at the AIB All-Ireland camogie final press day.

“It’s my first time (to play in Croke Park) I’m sure some of the girls have played underage coming up through, we’ve a young team, but for the majority of us, it’s our first time and we’re looking forward to it. It’s a huge deal, it’s a huge experience. We’re delighted to be part of it,” she says to us looking out over the hallowed turf.

And they’ve had some journey to get here, coming through some sticky challenges in Waterford, in Munster and then onto the All-Ireland stages. The tight battles have made it all the sweeter.

“There’s huge competition down there (in Waterford), I think the effort that Waterford are putting into camogie at the moment is phenomenal. But it comes from the clubs, there’s huge clubs down there, it was such a tight season for us. Saint Anne’s were phenomenal, De La Salle are coming up through, Lismore Cappoquin, they’re just a phenomenal side, all of them and anyone who is putting the work in from underage right up to senior camogie in Waterford, they’re doing a great job, you can see it and people are reaping the rewards.”

Gailltír camogie club are reaping the rewards, and everybody in Waterford is rowing in behind them ahead of Sunday’s big game.

Including the county’s former senior hurling manager Derek McGrath.

“He took a training session there, came along, helped us out and had a talk with us after,” said Dunne, who teaches with McGrath at De La Salle college.

Claire Dunne

Gaillír’s Claire Dunne pictured at the AIB Camogie Club All-Ireland Finals Media Day in Croke Park.

“He’s been here, he’s done it, he’s had the ups and the downs so it’s nice to hear another voice.”

McGrath, who’s well known for his wide-ranging knowledge of hurling and his ability to strike a chord with players had a great impact on the Gailltír squad.

“Everyone really did enjoy it, especially the young girls.”

“No, it was great for the young girls to hear him and to see him because he’s been such a big part of Waterford hurling and club level, he’s a huge De La Salle man so it’s great.”

Lovely fella, so down to earth and what he does, I don’t think he realises himself when he starts talking about hurling and camogie, the impact he makes on people. It’s great.”

Camogie is growing in Waterford, with the seniors improving, the minors winning in championships and with the work being done by volunteers all over the county. Sunday will be another big step for them.

McGrath is behind them, the whole of Waterford are behind them, and now they’re rearing for Clonduff.