CLARE’S qualification for not one but two Munster camogie finals this weekend represents serious progress according to management of the senior and junior sides.
Ann Marie McGann has given many hours to the promotion of camogie in Clare, as a club and county officer and as a team mentor.
Having jointly managed the Clare junior team for the past number of years with Tim McGrath, she took a step back this year but accepted the invitation to be part of the backroom team under managers John Carmody and Conor Dolan who are in charge of both the senior and junior county sides.
“There is a lot being done in Clare camogie. Getting to Saturday’s provincial finals is down to all the girls who have committed. They all see the effort the management and the board officers are putting in. All are looked after equally with the availability of psychologists, nutritionists and physios. Some of the juniors might make the move up later in the season but for now we are holding them for the junior. All the girls have serious pride in the fact that we are in two Munster finals this Saturday and they are hopeful that they will have big support at Páirc Ui Rinn”, the St. Flannans College teacher told The Clare Echo.
Continuing she said “to be in one Munster final is great, to be in two is fantastic. We are urging supporters to get to Cork and to support the teams. In Thurles two weeks ago in our drawn senior game with Tipperary, the Clare supporters really drove Clare on when the game was in the melting pot. Both Clare teams deserve support”.
She is not concerned about having to play Cork in the Leesiders own venue. “The venue was pre-determined, it was always going to be in Cork regardless of who got through. The girls are on a serious high. They have something to be proud of in getting to these finals, We are proud of what they have done so far. Having to go to a replay in the semi-final against Tipperary means that we will be in action five or six weeks on the trot. We have to try and mind the players, physios and pool sessions are available and the girls are directed in the right way”.
“We are in a tough group in the All-Ireland campaign and the fact that we contest two Munster finals this Saturday bodes well. We want to be mixing it with the top teams and we have shown that we can match them. We have to step up to match it with Cork this week. We are meeting Tipperary again in two weeks and then we have Dublin and Wexford and they are on the way up. It’s a tough group”.
When asked about the involvement of Sixmilebridge’s Davy Fitzgerald with Cork, McGann responded, “We are going to Páirc Uí Rinn to represent Clare and we are not interested in sideshows, we are there to play camogie. This is a Munster final and both teams will want to win and anything else is null and void”.
Saturday is also a big day for the Junior side, she highlighted. “I have been involved with them for the last five or six years and we have managed to get to a few finals but didn’t get over the line. We have a serious squad this year and we have recently brought in six or seven minors to the panel. Hopefully the girls will embrace the occasion. All the background work has been done. We don’t know much about Waterford as their games were generally on at the same time as we were playing but in Aileen Gallagher, Niamh Murphy and Leah Sheridan they have strong players. Having recently won the minor shield, they will have their eyes on this cup. We have the experience of being in the final before”.
For the record the Clare management team for both senior and junior comprises Conor Dolan and John Carmody (joint managers), Ann Marie McGann, Eugene Foudy, Éanna Mulvihill, Colm Fitzgerald, Brendan Foley and Niall Duhig.