After fighting to get the 2020 Championship played, Thomastown Camogie finally have their chance to claim the provincial prize.
They travel to Chadwicks Wexford Park this Saturday to face old rivals Oulart the Ballagh for the 1.30 throw-in. Manager Ger Walsh, who spoke of the importance of playing off the 2020 championship last May to Scoreline, is looking forward to the test;
“We have moved on since then, all the clubs still involved had to force the issue with the Camogie Association. So now we are looking forward to Outlart the Ballagh, they are a strong team. We are up against it but we will travel with some confidence as well.”
It has been a while since they played a competitive game, the last coming against Dicksboro last month in the semi final of the County Championship, however Walsh belives they can have no ready-made excuses
“Dicksboro was the last competitive game. We are lucky though in Thomastown as we have a lot of girls involved in the panel. We actually have a panel of 44 if you believe it. We have had some good training sessions in-house, it is hard to get challenge matches, but we have had some very good training matches so I couldn’t use it as an excuse.”
The opposition for Thomastown is two-time All Ireland winner Outlart the Ballagh, who recently played St. Judes of Dublin in the Leinster Semi FInals, coming out on top with a scoreline of 2-17 to 2-13. A four-point victory is always hard-fought and Walsh thinks the extra game can only benefit the Wexford team;
“I say with fitness levels the way they are, it stands to you. Competitive matches sharpen you up, with a week between the games I couldn’t see it draining them. it probably gives them confidence going forward. I think the victory against St. Judes was maybe slightly easier than the scoreline reflects as St. Judes got a goal at the end of the game.”
In terms of injury concerns, Walsh admitted there is a few knocks and niggle but everyone should be fighting fit come throw-in. The only disappointment is the exclusion of one student carrying out university exams in Limerick;
“The only concern we have is one girl from the starting 15 is missing due to exam commitments. We tried to get the match switched but the association couldn’t put it past 1.30 but in case of extra time, there is no lights in Wexford Park. She is a young kid and a stalwart on the team, but we have someone else to step in.”
A chance to compete in an All Ireland Championship beckons for both teams with a win on Saturday. It looks like it will be a sprint to the finish line with games coming thick and fast;
“It is going to be run off in the next two weeks. So if we get through this test, we will be looking at a semi-final next week and a final the week after. So we can but dream.”
Everyone here at Scoreline will be cheering on Thomastown and we wish the whole team the best of luck.