Hurling and camogie

Slaughtneil set sights on final

Niamh Archibald

All-Ireland Camogie Senior Club Championship semi-final: Robert Emmet’s Slaughtneil (Derry) v Burgess Duharra (Kilkenny) (tomorrow, Inniskeen, 2pm)

SLAUGHTNEIL will have a date with destiny tomorrow when they take on Burgess Duharra in their first All-Ireland Senior semifinal in Inniskeen Grattans GAA Grounds at 2pm.

The Derry side claimed the Ulster senior crown for the first time when a late goal from Mary Kelly ensured they overcame Loughgiel at the second attempt.

Their Tipperary opponents are also facing into the unknown as Sunday is also their first appearance in an All-Ireland semifinal after they claimed the Munster title for the first time seeing off Inniscarra of Cork 2-10 to 0-06.

County stars Gemma Grace, Caoimhe Maher and captain Jenny Grace who has shown excellent composure from the placed ball have all proved vital players for Burgess Duhara this season.

Midfield will be a key battlefield with the Maher sisters Caoimhe and Ciardha playing a key role for the Tipp camogs, while Shannon Graham has been hugely influential for Slaughtneil, helping to build many of their attacks.

Forwards Mary Kelly and Louise Dougan will look to test Burgess Duharra who will hope that centreback Trish O’Halloran and full-back Gemma Grace will come out on top.

Burgess Duharra have a very potent attack that have notched up plenty of scores so far this season and they will need another big game from sisters Amy and Tara Kennedy and five-time All-Ireland winner Eimear McDonnell.

Slaughtneil captain Aoife Ní Chaiside said her side would be concentrating on their own game and strengths rather than worrying about Burgess Duhara, saying: “We are expecting a physical game with a high quality of camogie skills on show.

“All along we have been concentrating more on our own game and strengths rather than looking to see what Burgess Duharra have.

“We know that they are great camogs, they are the Munster champions, so no doubt we will be up against it on the day but we feel that if we play our best camogie, we will put it up to them.”

The Slaughtneil captain added that the competition for places has ensured that her side are well prepared for tomorrow. “Training and preparation has been going very well in the lead up to our match against Burgess Duharra,” she added.

“Everyone is training hard and still fighting for places to line out in Páirc Grattan in the Sleacht Néill jersey.

“It’s great that there is that competition for places, it pushes everyone on to do their best during trainings and challenge games, it’s what makes us become better as players and as a team.

“Our managers, Dominic and Damien, have us well prepared, be it on the pitch or off, we are physically and mentally ready for the challenge that is ahead of us on Sunday.

“We will try our best for them, for our families, for our club and for ourselves to be in front at that final whistle.”  

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Hurling and camogie