2022 was a memorable year for the Kilkenny senior camogie team.
For the second time in three years, Brian Dowling’s side claimed the O’Duffy Cup following a hard-fought victory over Cork in the decider.
It was the crowning moment of a season filled with personal anguishes for members of the panel and management team.
Any time a team wins an All-Ireland is special, but this particular victory was a seminal moment for camogie and for sport on Noreside.
For too long, sportswomen have not received the recognition they deserve but the tide seems to have turned with iconic figures such as Katie Taylor, Rachael Blackmore and many more bringing it closer to its rightful place as equals with their male counterparts on a national stage.
For camogie people both within and outside of Kilkenny, the senior team have had a similar impact in growing the sport.
The instant reaction to their success was far greater in scale compared to the 2016 and 2020 successes (albeit that was in the midst of Covid-19 restrictions) as the team were the subject of an outpouring of emotion from right across the county.
At the homecoming, it was clear that the result had impacted all camogie supporters in Kilkenny as thousands lined the streets to greet their heroes.
It was abundantly clear to everybody at the courthouse where the team arrived following their open-top bus tour of the city that the outcome was far more significant than the result of the match.
These players had collectively energised young girls and boys and had given them something to aspire to.
The greatness lies in the All-Ireland title returning to Kilkenny.
But it also lies in the fact that they have propelled the sport to new heights and in doing so inspired thousands of young girls to play camogie and young boys to play hurling.
That is something truly special.