By Mark Casserly
Saturday June 9th
All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 1
Galway v Clare, Pearse Stadium @ 5pm – Double-header with Galway v Dublin in Leinster Hurling Championship @ 7pm
Limerick v Kilkenny, Bruff GAA @ 5pm
All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 2
Cork v Wexford, Pàirc Uì Rinn @5pm
Dublin v Offaly, Parnell Park @ 5pm
Tipperary v Meath, The Ragg @ 5pm
The 2018 Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship begins this weekend with Cork, who have the likes of Ashling Thompson, Orla Cotter and captain Aoife Murray to choose from, looking to maintain their period of recent dominance having won 3 out of the last 4 titles (with the exception of Kilkenny in 2016). Both of these sides will once again be favourites for the O’Duffy Cup as their intense rivalry continues.
The Rebelettes were crowned last year’s All-Ireland winners thanks to a last minute point from Julia White which dethroned Kilkenny in Croke Park. However the cats gained some revenge in April when they defeated Cork in the Division 1 league final in Nowlan Park with only 1 point once again separating the sides.
In Group 2, Cork’s (minus the services of stalwart Rena Buckley) biggest rivals for top spot and automatic qualification to the All-Ireland semi-finals will probably be Wexford (both sides meet in the opening round this weekend). Meath will be looking to impress in this their first year at Senior level having claimed the Intermediate title last year and with players such as Megan Thynne will be hoping to make it a sucessful one. In an even group, Dublin, Offaly, Tipperary will alsp fancy their chances of making the knockout stages.
In Group 1 Kilkenny, led by captain Shelley Farrell, Denise Gaule and Anne Dalton will be favourites to top the group while there is not much too choose between Clare, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
Once again it looks like being a battle between managers Anne Downey (Kilkenny) and Paudie Murray (Cork) to see where the O’Duffy Cup will be heading come September.