With the 2017 Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship getting underway this Saturday June 10th Sportstalk’s Ger Kinane has all you need to know about this year’s championship.
Ten teams will compete in the 2017 Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship. The format is 2 groups of 5 teams each. Every county will play 4 group games. 3 points are awarded for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss. At the end of the group stages the team on top of group 1 and the team on top of group 2 will qualify straight for an All-Ireland Semi-Final. Runners up in group 1 will play the team that finishes 3rd in group 2 in a quarter final. Runners up in group 2 will play the team that finishes 3rd in group 1 in the other quarter final. The winners of both quarter finals will face one of the 2 group winners in a semi-final. The semi-finals will be a double header on the 19th August with the winners progressing to the All-Ireland final in Croke Park on the 10th September.
Group 1 is made up of Galway, Kilkenny, Clare, Waterford and Dublin.
Group 2 is made up of Wexford, Cork, Tipperary, Offaly and Limerick.
The bookmakers have current champions Kilkenny as favourites and few could argue with that assessment. Kilkenny finally won the All-Ireland last September after a lapse of 22 years. Manager Ann Downey has stayed with them this year and will be keen to make it back to back wins. They certainly have the potential to achieve this and with their intermediate team also winning the All-Ireland last year competition for places will be fierce with an array of talent at their disposal. So far they have shown all the signs of a team determined to succeed again this year by winning the division 1 league and leinster championship whilst also blooding lots of new players. They definitely look to be the team in the best position to lift the O’Duffy Cup in 2017 as long as they have the hunger when it comes to the heat of the battle. That determination to put All-Ireland titles back to back was never an issue for their male counterparts and all of Kilkenny will be hoping the camogie team will be the same.
Can anyone stop Kilkenny from doing 2 in a row? Cork were the beaten finalists in 2016 and will be hoping to make amends this year but were already beaten by Kilkenny in the league final earlier this year. They also lost recently to Limerick in the Munster final which will have dented their confidence. They have lots of experience in their side with multiply All-Ireland winners Aoife Murray, Gemma O’Connor and Rena Buckley to name a few. They lacked the aggression and drive of their Kilkenny counter parts in last year’s final and it remains to be seen whether 2017 will be their year. Galway have a new manager in Mark Dunne and he saw his charges reach the league semi-final back in April before being defeated by Kilkenny. With players of the calibre of Niamh McGrath, Rebecca Hennelly and Heather Cooney they are sure to be a force in the championship.
Cork camogie captain Rena Buckley announced at the weekend that she won’t be playing with the Cork ladies footballers’ this year as she focuses on camogie only. Briege Corkery didn’t feature for either the ladies footballers or camogie players this year and it is not yet known publically if Paudie Murray will be with or without the dual star this summer. Likewise there have been no retirement announcements from Wexford great Kate Kelly but as of recently she had not yet returned to the county fold. Both players will be a huge loss for their counties and the camogie world in general if they are to play no part in the 2017 championship.
Meighan Farrell (Kilkenny) – Meighan was named captain of Kilkenny this year and this honour has really helped raise her game to even further heights. Meighan who won an all-star last year at wing back has played lots of her camogie in mid-field so far in 2017 and has proven to be a real engine and the driving force behind the Kilkenny attack. She sets the tone for her team and will be a key player for them this year.
Beth Carton (Waterford) – Her scoring exploits for Waterford in the league this year resulted in her being named the Littlewoods Ireland division 1 player of the league. Deadly accurate from frees and open play she had a personal tally of 1-8 against Wexford in the league and an unbelievable 13 out of Waterford’s 14 points against Kilkenny. An underage star for Waterford down through the years the 19 year old is sure to light up this year’s championship and will be Waterford’s key player.
Teresa Ryan (Tipperary) – The Borrisoleigh native has shown fantastic commitment to the county team this year travelling home from the UK where she is studying to make training and matches. A versatile player with lots of pace and energy she can be seen lining out at centre back for the Munster side but will often switch to mid-field if needed or may even be assigned a man marking job in the full back line. Whatever her role on any given day she always displays great determination and Tipperary will look to her leadership and skill to help them progress from the group stages.
This year’s Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Camogie Championship has received a huge boost with confirmation that all of the knockout matches of the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship will be broadcast live on RTÉ television for the very first time. In 2016 RTĖ broadcasted the semi-finals live for the first time but for 2017 they have also committed to broadcasting the quarter-finals which is great news for camogie supporters. As always they will also show live coverage of the All-Ireland final on the 10th September.
First Round Fixtures
Saturday June 10th
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship (Group 1)
Dublin v Clare, TBC
Waterford v Kilkenny, 2.30pm, Walsh Park, Waterford
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship (Group 2)
Limerick v Offaly, 2.30pm, The Gaelic Grounds, Limerick
Tipperary v Cork, 2.30pm, The Ragg, Tipperary