Boyle holding out hope for provincial finals to be played

Amy Boyle says that she and her team-mates are eager to play the Ulster Club Championship final that has been postponed since last year.

Loughgiel won the Antrim title by beating Ballycastle and were due to play Sleacht Néill in the provincial decider. However the Covid-19 pandemic forced that game to be postponed.

Now Boyle and her team-mates are waiting to see if that game will be played at all.

“We were supposed to play in the Ulster final but that has been pushed, and we don’t know if that is going to happen. We don’t know if it will be called off, or if it will be pushed back, or if it will go into a new season.

“Trying to prepare for an Ulster final when you can’t train together is not the easiest thing to do.

“It is frustrating, and it has been a hard year. We all want to just get back onto the pitch.

“As far as I know there will be a decision at the next camogie meeting. When they decide then we might have two weeks to prepare. We don’t know how much time we have to prepare.

“We don’t know if it is going to be league games that we will start, or will we go straight into an Ulster final.”

Despite the confusion, and the challenging preparations, the game is still something that excites Boyle.

“It would be amazing to play that Ulster final after a tough year. Ulster finals don’t come around all the time. I think it would be great for the community to get a bit of hype around getting out to play these matches. It would be a great way to finish the season. It would feel incomplete if we didnt get to play in it.”

Boyle said that the 2020 campaign was difficult, and getting through it was a great achievement. That’s why they would like to make it properly complete.

“Last year was a tough championship. We got beat by Ballycastle in the opening round. We had to do a lot of work on ourselves. Positions changed around.

“We have to build on that, and improve on our weaknesses, but we have to do that on our own away from the pitches.”

So while they are waiting for news on how the season will finish, the team have come together to prepare. They do Zoom classes once a week.

“It is good to get together that way. We also have team challenges and they are good fun, and they get very competitive.”

Yet while they are fun and competitive, Boyle says it remains a challenging time.

“It is hard to get out and see your friends. It’s good that we can stay in touch, and you can see what other girls are doing and they can help push you on.

“Training on your own is never easy. It’s easier when you have someone else there pushing you on.

“I am fed up with the break. It’s been far too long. We all just want to get back playing whatever way we can.”

She says that the break has also taught her why she likes camogie so much.

Camogie has always been important to me but I realise more now how much I value seeing my friends and the social aspect of it. It is a team sport at the end of the day. The biggest thing we miss is the craic at training and seeing everyone.

“And getting out playing matches as well. I can’t wait to get out and play some matches. We are lucky that we got to play any camogie last year as a lot of ones didnt play any.”

There was also another lesson learned last year, and one that has brought great positivity to the camogie world.

“It was brilliant last year that we got our county final streamed. That hadnt happened before. But that happened and while people couldnt go to the matches more people could see them.

“More people were talking about camogie, and there was more coverage.”

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