After exploding into life last weekend with a full schedule of games, the Liberty Insurance camogie championship stutters somewhat into round two with just two games down for decision this Saturday. Nevertheless, despite the lack of games, the weekend sees two teams already staring down the barrel of elimination.
Clare v Limerick | Sixmilebridge – 5pm
This game has been almost overlooked in local media this week amongst the hype of the hurling fixture between the same counties. But without question Limerick and Clare already find themselves in the last chance saloon in the ‘Bridge today.
So good in the first half last week before crumbling in the second against Kilkenny last week, Limerick know that defeat here will make qualification almost impossible. Similarly Clare failed to fire in Athenry last weekend. Before the championship started most observers would have predicted a mini league between Clare, Limerick and Waterford for the third qualification spot with Clare and Limerick being seen as the stronger of the three. Thus whoever wins today will be in pole position to qualify with an almost impossible task facing the losers.
It might seem like lazy journalism but this game really could come down to a shootout between the two marquee forwards on show – Niamh Mulcahy and Chloe Morey. Much will hinge on how the opposing managements set up to deal with their potent threat. Limerick have traditionally not played with a sweeper in the past and may decide to offer a man marking role to Fiona Hickey or have Caoimhe Costelloe, now operating in the half back line, drop back to cover the space infront of Morey when Clare have possession. Either way, if Limerick don’t have a plan for Morey they will pay.
Mulcahy always delivers for Limerick. It will be interesting to see if O’Grady accepts this and goes toe to toe with Limerick or is willing to sacrifice their own attacking threat to play a 7-5 split. Clare have plenty of experience and will look to Niamh O’Dea and Carol O’Leary to provide the leadership for the stream of talented minors they have coming through.
An intriguing battle that is impossible to call.
Galway v Waterford | Athenry – 5pm
Its difficult to see anything other than another comfortable home win for Galway here. Imperious last weekend shooting eighteen points against Clare, they have an incredible home record and it really is a daunting opening task for the Deise.
There is a renewed confidence in Waterford this year and in Beth Carton they have the shining star of the Ashbourne Cup in their ranks. Carton is strong in the air, a powerful runner and a dead eyed sharpshooter. The question is whether she will have enough around her to get them over the line.
Galway are traditionally very well organised and tactically aware. I expect them to man mark Carton, likely with a 7-5 defender forward split to remove her attacking threat and to back their other 12 outfield players to have enough to beat Waterfords 13.
Prediction: Galway by 10
Columnist with GAAWrap and current Éire Óg Ennis Senior Hurling coach.