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Women in Sport

23rd Nov 2023

Tipperary’s Drom and Inch hoping to make it back to the All-Ireland stage


By Cliona Foley.

Defending  provincial champions Drom & Inch were pushed to the pin of their collar last week.

But surviving an extra-time thriller could yet provide the ideal preparation for Sunday’s AIB Munster senior club camogie final against Cork’s Sarsfields, according to Mairead Eviston.

“Having played De La Salle last year and also gone to extra-time that day we were expecting nothing less really,” Drom & Inch captain Mairead Eviston admits.

“We’ve no injuries and 80 minutes of championship hurling is a right good session coming into a Munster final because there’s not much you can improve on in a week.”

The unenviable job of marking camogie’s Player of the Year Beth Carton fell to Eviston whose defensive displays are such a cornerstone now for both club and county.

But it was Eimear McGrath’s goal, early in the second added period, that finally saw Drom’ home to their fifth Munster final in-a-row, a remarkable record given the province’s current stellar standards.

25 March 2023; Mairéad Eviston of Drom & Inch, Tipperary with her 2022/23 Munster Player of the Year and Team of the Year award during the AIB Camogie Club Player Awards 2023 at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Standing between them and a third provincial title since 2019 are the Cork champions who pipped Newcastle West by a point.

The Glanmire side feature Rebel seniors in Molly Lynch and Olivia McAllen plus talented forwards in Kate Fennessy and the Mullins sisters Clare and Orlaith, whose dad Mark starred for both his native Carlow and Cork.

“We played Sarsfields in the 2019 Munster semi-final, it was our first year coming out of the county,” Eviston recalls.

“We played them down in Cork and it was really tight. I think we got the winning score with the last puck of the ball. We haven’t come across them since but I hear they’re a really well rounded team.”

Matthew McGrath, who was Drom’s trainer for two years, took over from Pat Ryan as manager this season and they have a completely new backroom team.

Only a goal separated them from Loughiel in last year’s All-Ireland semi-finals but their county stars have since had a series of knocks.

“And we barely got over the county final this year,” stresses Eviston (26), who is now studying teacher training after doing commerce in NUIG and working for Kerry Foods for a number of years.

“You really don’t know what each season is going to bring. We had so many disappointments in the Munster and All-Ireland series this year so there is serious hunger in the group.”

As always with great club teams, there is a shared lineage that not only shapes their sporting prowess but tight friendships.

Siobhan McGrath is a first-cousin of sisters Aoife and Eimear McGrath, Michelle Shortt and Miriam Campion and Eviston, her sister Anne and Niamh Treacy are all first or second cousins with that quintet.

Drom’ also feature some particularly inspiring veterans.

“Joanne Ryan came off the bench and got the point to bring the match to a draw last week and Michelle Shortt,  who also came on, has five children and is a great inspiration to us.”

Another Tipp side, Shannon Rovers, take on Clanmaurice in Munster’s Intermediate final while the junior decider is a Clare/Limerick derby between St Joseph’s Barefield and Monaleen.

After retaining their provincial title by defeating The Harps (Laois), Wicklow’s Knockananna face West London side and British champions Tara in the preliminary round of the AIB All-Ireland Junior championship.

AIB All-Ireland Club Camogie Junior Preliminary Round
Knockananna (Wicklow) v Tara (London), 1.0, TUD Blanchardstown.

AIB All Ireland Club Camogie Munster Finals
Senior: Drom & Inch (Tipperary) v Sarsfields (Cork), 2.0, Clonoulty Rossmore Grounds (Tipperary).
Intermediate: Clanmaurice (Kerry) v Shannon Rovers (Tipperary), 1.0, Clare Camogie Grounds.
Junior: Monaleen (Limerick) v St Joseph’s Doora Barefield (Clare), 2.0, The Ragg.