*Kerry’s Niamh Leen collides with Louise Brown and Orla Mooney of Clare. Photograph: ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Success may have eluded them this year but the ambition for the Clare Junior camogie side is to contest the 2020 All-Ireland decider.
Moments after Kerry overcame Clare by ten points in the last four clash on Saturday, joint manager Ann Marie McGann declared their targets for next year must be bigger and better. She was first to admit that scoring six points in an All-Ireland semi-final is far from what is required. “The breeze probably killed us in the first half, there was a savage breeze and they played very well to it, you can’t justify scoring six points over the sixty minutes as a management team.
“To be fair, I thought our backs were outstanding, Rebecca Crowe had an unbelievable game and Edel McNamara was brilliant and Orlaith Cotter, they were fantastic it was just up front we were having issues getting the ball forward, we had to drop back Kate O’Gorman who was doing well midfield all during the year. Kerry are a good outfit and they showed us how to play camogie”.
Of their four championship outings in 2019, Clare’s record reads two wins and two losses, remarkably both defeats were their only home ties with Cusack Park not a big enough advantage for their cause. “Maybe it’s something that gets to us, it’s been called a home game but it’s not really, we’ve never been in here before, a lot of the girls probably haven’t played since Cumann na mBunscoil”.
“We set out two years ago with a three year plan, we said we would get to an All-Ireland league semi-final within two years and we said we wanted to make it more appealing for girls to play Junior camogie, however long that would have taken it has taken us two years and within three years which is going to be next year we wanted to be in a championship semi-final and we’ve done within two years. It’s been a success so far, we could do with learning an awful lot from Kerry but they were much better on the day,” the St Josephs Doora/Barefield club-woman stated.
It is expected that their exploits will lead to more players wishing to represent the Juniors going forward but McGann said those that rowed in with the panel first would be acknowledged before anyone else. “We’re going to stay loyal to the panel that have been loyal to us from day one. If people think they can put their hand up for the Junior panel, best of luck to them, they better make their way into the panel and earn their spot. We are open to anyone who wants to join the panel, we have great respect for girls that have come in during the year and embedded themselves very well, there is a savage bond between the girls, they are an outstanding group of girls. We want to bring this one step further next year and hopefully get into the All-Ireland Final”.