By Niall Gartland
NAOMH Treasa dual star Grainne Rafferty is looking forward to the opportunity to pick up another Ulster medal in Saturday’s Junior ‘B’ showdown against Cavan side Lacken.
It’s a repeat of the delayed 2020 final which was played last year, which Dungannon side Naomh Treasa edged by a point after a gripping game away from home.
Of course, their exploits didn’t end there as they surged to success on the national stage with an All-Ireland triumph proving the definitive moment in the club’s history.
Rafferty, an experienced ladies footballer with Killeeshil and Tyrone, didn’t actually grow up playing camogie, but she linked in with Naomh Treasa nearly five years ago, and it’s fair to say she hasn’t looked back and also plays for the Tyrone camogie team.
For now, camogie is her sole priority as she looks ahead to this weekend’s Ulster final date with Cavan representatives Lacken.
“The football finished up around six weeks ago, and it’s always a good sign if you’re still playing at this stage of the year. I love football but it’s nice to be able to concentrate on camogie, it makes managing my time a bit easier.
“We played Lacken in the delayed 2020 championship final and only beat them by a point. It was low-scoring, the conditions were brutal so hopefully the weather holds up a bit better this weekend.”
The club hasn’t rested on its laurels after winning the 2020 All-Ireland title. Two weeks ago they produced a stirring second-half comeback to get the better of Armagh side Culloville in the semi-finals, and while star players like Rafferty, Cara Little and Roisin McErlean were in inspired form, some newer faces are also making a big impact.
Rafferty said: “There’s a great youth structure in the club and girls are coming through from the minor ranks. Success breeds success and things are going really well.
“We also can call upon the likes of Clare Kelly, she didn’t play last year, and she’s a great addition. Everyone’s pushing each other on, there’s different faces on the team and great competition for places.”
On the management front, Naomh Treasa are looked after by Mick and Cathal McErlean, Russell Bell, Tony Donnelly, Mary McLoughlin and Marian Colton. They also enjoying a fruitful relationship with Dungannon’s hurling club Eoghan Ruadh, with whom they share facilities.
“There is quite an overlap there and everyone involved with Eoghan Ruadh is so helpful to us. We feel there’s a great support behind us and that can only help on the field of play.”