Hurling & Camogie

Eglish can get it right second time around and retain Tyrone senior camogie title

Leanne Donnelly was Eglish's chief scoring threat in the drawn game
Leanne Donnelly was Eglish's chief scoring threat in the drawn game

Tyrone Senior Camogie Championship final replay

Eglish v Naomh Treasa, Dungannon (Sunday, Derrytresk, 12pm)

FOR quite some time now the coronation of Eglish as Tyrone senior camogie champions has been a mere formality.

The winner of the previous season’s intermediate title is pitted against them annually and Eglish have simply batted them aside to progress into the Ulster arena.

This year things are different.

A fortnight ago, Dungannon’s Naomh Treasa hit them with two goals and three points midway through the first half to lead by 2-4 to 0-5 at the break.

Only Leanne Donnelly scored for the holders in the first half and three of her five points were from frees.

However, Eglish got their act together in the second half, ate into Naomh Treasa’s lead and eventually established a 2-10 to 2-5 advantage going down the home straight with goals from Casey Gallagher and Niamh McNulty.

Róisín McErlean had scored Dungannon’s only point over the first 25 minutes of the second half. She then hit two more points from frees as the game went into added time and then Naomh Treasa drew level at the death with a goal from Áine McNulty.

Did Naomh Treasa miss their opportunity then in the first game when they had the advantage of surprise or will the draw convince them that they are good enough to beat the long-time champions? 

Were Eglish having an off-day? 

The final was played in spells that day in Garvaghey and when a team was on top their opponents couldn’t get going. Each of the two teams will want to deliver a more balanced performance, and definitely improve on their periods where they were in trouble.

While Eglish are the more experienced team, they have lost a few of their leaders this year and have been bringing through more younger players to replace them.

That transition has been taking place over the past few years and this term they fielded a team with a much younger profile than in the past.

Naomh Treasa are also a young team, most of them in their early 20s and almost all of them have had an incremental rise through junior and intermediate over the past six years with provincial honours in two of those seasons and then two years ago they went all the way to collect the All-Ireland junior B title.

The general feeling about the team is that they lacked belief that they could topple Eglish. The first half in Garvaghey, as much as the late rally, should convince them that they have the ability.

However, more of those involved in camogie in the county feel that there is more in Eglish and that the scare they got the last day will see them raise their game in the replay.

Verdict: Eglish