Camogie teams begin to turn attention to Ulster club scene
WITH just a couple of county finals now left to complete, the focus in local camogie is switching to the Ulster club scene.
Unless Swatragh cause a big surprise in the Elk Derry final on Sunday week, the Ulster senior final will yet again be between Loughgiel and Slaughtneil on November 19. It would be the eighth year in a row that the pair face each other with Slaughtneil going for a seventh successive crown.
Swatragh won the last of their five provincial crowns in 2000 and last appeared in a final 17 years ago. They have already beaten Slaughtneil to the league title in the county and cannot be ruled out of upsetting their neighbours' plans once more.
Ulster intermediate champions Portaferry lost their Down title at the semi-final stage 10 days ago. Their conquerors Liatroim Fontenoys now have another big hurdle to cross in the final with Clonduff who saw off Ballygalget in the other semi-final. The Down decider is on October 30.
Eglish meanwhile had no bother in defending their Tyrone title and they will be keen to win back the provincial title they lost to Portaferry at the start of 2022.
There are just two previous winners of the Ulster Junior title back in contention this season - and they will face off in a quarter-final on Saturday 29th October. 2020 champions Glen Maghera beat Kilrea in the Derry decider on Sunday past. They are managed by Paul Gunning who features highly in Malachy O'Rourke's plans to defend the Oak Leaf football title this coming weekend.
Glen have a difficult away assignment against Crosserlough the following weekend. Crosserlough won back the Cavan title last month and they took back-to-back Ulster titles in 2017-18.
However Derry have been strong at this level in more recent times with Eoghan Rua Coleraine winning the province's only All-Ireland Junior title last March. Glen would be expected to progress to a semi-final with Granemore who snatched the Armagh title from Ballymacnab at the weekend with a goal in the fifth minute of added time at the Athletic Grounds.
In the other half of the draw Brídíní Óga Glenravel are first time Antrim champions and they will know their semi-final opponents for November 5th after Sunday's Down final between An Ríocht and Kilcoo at Mayobridge (3.30pm).
There are just four contenders at Junior B level including Naomh Treasa Dungannon who won the delayed 2020 All-Ireland title just before Christmas last year. One would imagine they are the team to beat at this level.
Finally the Bridie McMemamin Shield, that does not move through to All-Ireland level, has resided in Antrim for eight seasons over the last decade. A very young Ruairí Óg Cushendall side will be difficult to beat when it gets up and running in December.
For those competitions that run to All-Ireland level the national semi-finals and finals are on consecutive weekends before Christmas.
Ulster club draws and dates
Ulster Senior Final November 19
Slaughtneil/Swatragh (Derry) v Loughgiel (Antrim)
Ulster Intermediate Final (November 19)
Eglish (Tyrone) v Clonduff /Liatroim Fontenoys (Down)
Quarter-final: Crosserlough (Cavan) v Glen (Derry)
Crosserlough/Glen v Granemore (Armagh)
An Ríocht/Kilcoo (Down) v Brídíní Óga, Glenravel (Antrim)
November 12: Final
Junior B semi-finals
Naomh Treasa, Dungannon v Culloville (Armagh)
Clontibet (Monaghan) v Lacken (Cavan)
Final: November 26
Bridie McMenamin Shield
1. Ruairí Óg (Antrim) (Bye)
2. Marcievicz (Donegal) v Ballerin/Drumsurn (Derry)
3. Éire Óg (Tyrone) v Crosserlough (Cavan)
4. Down winners v Killeavy (Armagh)
Semi-finals: Ruairí Óg (Antrim) v 3 and 4 v 2
December 10: Final