CAMOGIE in St Patrick’s Maghera is on the crest of a wave and coach Clare Kelly feels there is more to come from their senior squad on the biggest day of the season.
The Ulster champions, seeking an historic first All-Ireland title, face Loreto Kilkenny this weekend and she speaks of the “unbelievable” buzz in the school.
The juniors booked their All-Ireland final spot last weekend and it’s going to be an exciting few weeks ahead. The schools’ social media feed has also helped breathe even more energy into the build-up.
“Martin McConnell (School PRO) has been doing a lot of overtime but it has worked and it has created a great buzz. It really helps push the girls on that but further when they are out playing as well,” she said.
Kelly, who coaches the group alongside Catriona Scott and Ciara Mulholland, was also full of praise for the squad.
“I said this from the very start, that this bunch of girls are a lovely group to work with…they gel very well together,” she said.
“They have great relationships and there are a lot of great leaders, the older girls welcome the junior players that have come up onto the panel as well. It makes our job a lot easier.
“A lot of them have been very successful at club level and have that leadership ability when we get them. It can be fostered the bit further in the school, playing for the different teams in here as well.”
The school’s junior team were crowned Ulster champions back in October and with a crossover in players with the senior squad, they joined in with training to give a competitive environment for both teams to blossom. In house games were an important part of the development.
“All the managers came together and worked as a bigger group and that has worked really well this year,” Kelly added.
“That is down to the team spirit as well because there is such a big group of girls, the craic is good and they get on well together.”
The junior team won the Ulster ‘A’ Sevens last season before going on to take the All-Ireland at the ‘B’ grade, something she feels has added to the overall belief in the squad.
“We knew from the outset…I remember Catriona (Scott) saying this was a group of girls that could go all the way,” Kelly points out.
“As they have gone on, that belief has grown with every match. To see their hunger…they have done everything we have asked. They trained through Christmas, all over the holidays and were down south for a trip.
“Their commitment shows how much they want it, so we knew from the beginning. but there is a firm belief now that we can win an All-Ireland title.