For the first time in over ten years, Kilkenny will not be a part of the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior camogie championship semi-final makeup.
More to the pity is that the current All-Ireland champions would have had home advantage in a fortnight’s time with UPMC Nowlan Park providing the backdrop for this year’s semi-final stages given Croke Park is hosting the All-Ireland senior hurling final the following day. Despite a late rally sparked by Denise Gaule, Kilkenny exited this year’s championship at the quarter-final stage last weekend at the hands of Cork. That defeat has also led to the departure of two-time All-Ireland winning manager Brian Dowling, with Kilkenny Camogie confirming this week that an appointments committee is being set up to find his successor for next season.
The four teams heading to this year’s semi-finals, however, are sure to serve up two cracking games. Having broken their semi-final duck last season, Waterford are back again and will be itching to go one step further. The Déise finished runner-up in their 2022 group to make the quarter-finals against Limerick before losing out to Cork 0-15 to 0-10 in the semi-finals.
They topped Group 3 of the championship this year with three wins on the bounce, racking up 9-61 in the process. While their group draw may be seen as favourable in some circles but you still need to win the games in front of you, as Kilkenny will have found out. By virtue of finishing top of the group and subsequent draw, Waterford bypassed the quarter-final stages to set up a semi-final against Tipperary.
For Tipperary, it’s their fifth semi-final in six seasons following a 3-23 to 0-06 demolition of Antrim during last weekend’s quarter-finals in Croke Park. Up until last year, the Premier had made four successive semi-final appearances and given their form in the league and championship, they’ll be hopeful too of a return trip to Croke Park on the August bank holiday weekend.
Cork and Galway meet once more
The other semi-final will be a battle for the ages. With Kilkenny out of the picture, confidence will be high in both the Galway and Cork camps that they’ll be able to reclaim the O’Duffy Cup. For Cork, their one-point win over Kilkenny in last Sunday’s quarter-final will go a long way towards making up for their one-point defeat in last year’s All-Ireland senior camogie championship final.
Kilkenny had seen off Galway at the semi-final stages last year and indeed the 2020 final in a near-empty Croke Park thanks to Covid restrictions at the time. However, with Galway already getting the better of Cork in the group stage and finishing top with three wins from three, and adding a 2-13 to 1-12 win over the Leesiders in this year’s Division 1A league final, Galway may well feel they have the upper hand and would love nothing more than doing a three-in-a-row for the season of wins against Cork to put a foot into this year’s All-Ireland final.
While it’s disappointing we won’t see Kilkenny in UPMC Nowlan Park on 22 July, there’s no doubt both semi-final games will provide a showcase for camogie and an ideal chance for fans to get up-close insights into this year’s final makeup.
Tipperary and Waterford will meet first with a 3.30pm throw-in, followed by the meeting of Galway and Cork at 5.30pm. The winners will advance to the finals in Croke Park on Sunday 6 August as part of a triple-header of games including the intermediate All-Ireland and premier junior All-Ireland finals. It’s an all-ticket affair for the games in UPMC Nowlan Park and you can get yours here in advance.