“You could feel it; you could sense it all week”
BY DAIRE WALSH
There was unbridled joy in Donaghmore, Ashbourne GAA Club on Saturday afternoon, as Kildare booked their place in the All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie Championship Final with a fantastic 5-11 to 1-13 victory over Down.
With Susie O’Carroll and Melissa Lyons chipping in with two goals apiece, the Lilywhite girls were outstanding from the word go.
This came as no surprise to Kildare supremo Jim McMullen, who sensed in the build-up to the game that a major performance was on the cards.
“You could feel it, you could sense it. All week. You could sense it all year if the truth be known, but in the last week or ten days there was such confidence in everything they were doing. The drills were just so slick. The hand-passing, the stick passing. You could feel it was going to happen,” McMullen stated.
However, although their triumph on the day was emphatic, the deadly accurate Catherine McGrourty had levelled matters for Down in the 27th minute, before Kildare ended the half with a flourish. This was something that pleased the Moorefield club man, as it was something that the squad had discussed during their pre-match preparations.
“It’s something that we talked about beforehand, and the girls brought it up during the week. If we get a lead and we lose it, that we try and tag on a couple of scores before the end of the half. They were conscious of that. All we needed to do was get the ball past midfield. Our forwards really did a fantastic job. Any ball that went into them in the first half they got a score from it, and that’s all you can ask from your forward line.”
A Croke Park date against Laois on September 15th now awaits this ever-evolving team, and Kildare will be looking to make amends for their defeat against the O’Moore County at the beginning of the Championship.
McMullen believes that it will be an entirely different contest at GAA HQ, though, and is planning a trip to the capital for the panel beforehand as they aim to acclimatise themselves with their new surroundings.
“In Croke Park, on a big pitch, it’s going to be a completely different contest. Croke Park is huge. None of these girls has played in Croke Park before. You don’t realise how big it is until you’re out there striking the ball, and you’re looking at keepers barely making it to the middle of the field.”
“The plan would be to get up to Croke Park the week of (the game) and familiarise ourselves with the pitch.
“You’re not going to be allowed train on it, but at least get up there and familiarise with the surroundings. I think that would suffice. They’re focused enough,” said a very happy, pleased and contented Jim McMullen.