By Kieran Lynch
CLONDUFF and Eglish will renew acquaintances once more in the Ulster Intermediate Camogie final when they collide in Páirc Esler this Saturday, and the Hilltown club will be looking to reverse the fortunes of last year’s decider.
The sides have met in four provincial finals in recent years, with Eglish winning a close encounter in 2017, before Clonduff edged them out in 2018 and 2019. However, when the two sides met last year, Eglish stormed home, winning 3-11 to 1-3.
Clonduff manager Kieran McGourty says that can’t happen again; but his side should be full of confidence after a storming performance in the Down final saw them dispatch Liatroim 4-16 to 0-4.
“We were absolutely thrilled with our performance in the final,” he said.
We have been performing well recently and things have been starting to fall into place, and to be fair, it was just one of those days where everything went right for us.
“We were speaking about it afterwards, and we won’t get carried away it; it was just one of those emphatic victories where we played really well, and those days don’t come along too often.”
Now the challenge for Clonduff will be putting in a repeat performance in the Ulster final.
“It’s about stepping up the performance levels with each passing round,” said the manager.
Generally things get a little more difficult when you step up to the provincial level, and we’re expecting that again.
“I was manager for the most recent game against Eglish and they beat us pretty comprehensively, so we’re well aware of the task ahead.”
As for last year’s defeat, McGourty has intentions of overturning that result, but he doesn’t look at it as an opportunity for revenge.
“It’s probably more of a personal thing, I’ve never really got into the idea of ‘revenge,’” he explained.
“We will speak about it, but for me, it’s not so much about getting revenge, it’s about going out and trying to win the next time. It’s up to each individual as to how they might use that to their advantage, as in maybe they had a bad day, and they want to rectify that. But it’s not something that we will focusing on collectively, I think that’s a wee bit old school.
“But we will speak about their capabilities; we’re aware that they are a very well-rounded team, and they brought a level of fitness that we weren’t ready for the last time.”
In the 2021 final, Clonduff were missing three stalwarts in Sara-Louise and Fionnuala Carr, as well as Paula O’Hagan, with the trio on maternity leave. But they’re back now, and hungry to chase more silverware.
“They’re back now, and everybody in Clonduff knows about the reputations of those players, and it’s great to see in person their attitudes and their will to win, as well as the influence that they have on the team.
“It’s the reason that they have won so many accolades, and they really set an example.”