PJ O’Mullan excited about leading Derry in All-Ireland senior championship after tough draw pits them against Munster trio

Oak Leafs will also face Antrim and Kilkenny while Down take Cork and Galway

PJ O'Mullan talks to the Derry players ahead of their drawn All-Ireland final against Meath back in August. Picture by INPHO
PJ O'Mullan will lead Derry into the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship this year after their All-Ireland intermediate win in 2023
Glen Dimplex All-Ireland championship draws

PJ O’Mullan, manager of the Derry team that collected the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Intermediate championship last year, claims his team is very excited about moving up to the senior championship this season.

In the draws made yesterday in Croke Park they came out with three Munster teams, Waterford, Tipperary and Limerick as well as Kilkenny and Antrim.

“It’s obviously a very tough draw, but you weren’t going to get an easy one whatever way it turned out, I suppose,” O’Mullan said after seeing the line-up.

“You were always going to get one of the All-Ireland finalists, one of the semi-finalists and whatever came our way after that. Obviously our aim is to retain our senior status. We will see how we go in the league over the next couple of months, but it’s will be a step up from that.

“I suppose the next thing is to see how many home games we get. We have three away games in the league and it would be great to get three home ones in the championship.

“That would be fantastic for the promotion of the game in Derry and Ulster in general and I think the Derry clubs are really looking forward to seeing the top teams come up here.”

There is of course an Ulster derby guaranteed in the group with Bannside rivals Antrim. Two years ago the Saffrons just missed out on a quarter-final spot when they fell to Limerick.

Last year they beat Limerick on their way to securing a quarter-final berth.

However their last two championship games didn’t go too well with heavy defeats to both Waterford, the beaten finalists, and Tipperary who fell to the Déise in the semi-finals.

So overall the group is very familiar to the Antrim players, if not the new management team they have in place this year.

Down's Dearbhla Magee won Player of the Match in her side's Ulster Senior final win over Antrim and could be a consideration for Player of the Year
Down will once again face Cork in this year's All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship but will be without number of key players from 2023

The third Ulster senior team is Down and they will be under a lot of pressure this season to extend their term in the top grade to five years.

Similar to last year, they have been drawn in a group that contains Cork, Galway and Clare with Wexford and Dublin the other teams.

Last summer there were just four teams in a group and the Mourne County ended up at the bottom despite some very creditable performances.

That meant that they had to beat Offaly in a relegation play-off to stay up. With the retirement of goalie Catherine McGourty, the unavailability of captain and top-scorer Niamh Mallon and Lauren Clarke, one of the success stories of last season, gone to Australia, Down will struggle to avoid a similar scenario in 2024.

As in previous years, six teams will qualify for the knockout stages of the championship, three from each group.

The group winners will go straight to the All-Ireland semi-finals on Saturday July 27 in UPMC Nowlan Park, Kilkenny. 

The second and third placed teams will progress to the All-Ireland quarter-finals which will take place in Croke Park, ahead of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling semi-finals on Saturday July 6 and Sunday July 7.

Qualification for the knockout stages of the Glen Dimplex Intermediate Championship is in line with the Senior Championship with the two group winners going straight to the semi-finals on Saturday, July 27.

The second and third placed teams will play in the quarter-finals on Saturday, July 13.

Meath, beaten by Derry in a replay last August, will be one of the teams targeting success with relegated Offaly, Westmeath and Kilkenny, who took Derry to extra-time in the semi-final, others to watch.

Ulster’s only representative at this level is Antrim, Junior champions two seasons ago.

In the Premier Junior championship there are just five teams in each of two groups with the top two making the semi-finals.

Armagh and Cavan have been through to the knock out stages in recent seasons and they are kept apart this time with the Orchard county’s main problem last August’s beaten finalists Tipperary.

Glen Dimplex Camogie All-Ireland Premier Junior Championships

Group 1:  Tipperary, Armagh, Tyrone, Down, Wicklow

Group 2:  Laois, Roscommon, Cavan, Louth, Mayo, Limerick

Glen Dimplex Camogie All-Ireland Intermediate Championships

Group 1:  Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, Galway, Cork, Clare

Group 2:  Meath, Kilkenny, Carlow, Kildare, Kerry, Dublin, Antrim

Glen Dimplex Camogie All-Ireland Senior Championships

Group 1:  Waterford, Tipperary, Limerick, Derry, Antrim, Kilkenny

Group 2:  Cork, Galway, Down, Wexford, Clare, Dublin