by Sheila Norris on the 19th of August 2015
Where did it all go wrong? Surely this is a phrase that has been haunting the minds of all involved with the senior team since last Sunday’s heartbreaking defeat to the All Ireland champions, Cork in Walsh Park. There can be no doubt about it, the best team on the day certainly won through. Cork’s movement, speed and agility would have been great to watch, if only they were not using it against us. This Kilkenny team has been a few years in the making, full of extremely talented players and honed and tweaked into a formidable force; ask any of the teams that they blitzed in the earlier rounds of the championship.
The story of the match is even harder to understand. Kilkenny went into an early lead and it seemed that their earlier form might be retained and they would drive on but it was Cork who showed why they are champions. They dusted themselves off, rolled up their sleeves and upped their game considerably. Having been down by seven points midway through the first half, they managed to be a point up at half time. They never took off the pressure in the second half and though Kilkenny went ahead by a couple of points, three quick goals sucked the life out of Kilkenny and Cork went on to seal an easy victory.
To see the shock and devastation on the faces of the players and management left no one in any doubt about what this meant to them. We hear all the time in the media about how inter-county hurlers and footballers put their lives on hold to represent their counties. It is no different for inter-county camogie players. They have trained and worked since last winter in an attempt to reach the ultimate prize of an All-Ireland final. They don’t do it for the glory or the gear or the perks, (God knows, there are very few of them in women’s sports!) In all of these players, as in every top class athlete, there is an overpowering desire to win, to be the best that they can be. To fail to reach that zenith destroys the soul. These girls may be down but their competitive spirit is such that they will once again rise, like a phoenix from the ashes.
A huge debt of gratitude goes to these players who have represented Kilkenny Camogie with such skill, fortitude and sportsmanship. Also to the manager, Fintan Deegan, selectors, James Quinlan and Liz Dempsey and to the entire backroom team, we say ‘Thank You’ from all in Kilkenny Camogie.
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