Derry camogie players dominate PwC Camogie Soaring Stars team
All-Ireland Intermediate champions Derry lead the way in the 2023 PwC Camogie Soaring Stars with no fewer than eight players making the team, including joint-captains Áine McAllister and Aoife Ní Chaiside, who have been short-listed for Intermediate Player of the Year.
These awards are presented annually by the Camogie Association in conjunction with their sponsors PwC to acknowledge outstanding performances through the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Intermediate and Premier Junior Championship season.
Joining the Derry joint captains on the team are goalkeeper Niamh Gribbin and defenders Niamh Quinn and Lauren McKenna, the latter picking up the Player of the Match award when Derry beat Meath in the final replay in Clones six weeks ago.
Midfielder Dervla O’Kane also makes the cut, while Mairéad McNicholl and Aoife Shaw who was top-scorer in the All-Ireland campaign with two goals and 37 points join McAllister in the forward line.
The third player short-listed for the Player of the Year is Meath’s Aoife Minogue who came in just behind Shaw with 7-20 from her six match campaign. Minogue is O’Kane’s midfield partner in the team.
In total Meath have four players listed with defenders Claire Coffey and Sophia Payne and forward Amy Gaffney joining Minogue as award winners.
The final three places in the team are taken by the Premier Junior finalists; Clare with two players and Jean Kelly from Tipperary.
Last season, Derry picked up three Soaring Stars awards after narrowly losing the All-Ireland semi-final. However, none of the three were involved in this year’s title-winning team. Megan Kerr and Therese Mellon both picked up ACL injuries last summer and are only back playing in recent weeks, while Gráinne McNicholl opted out of the panel just before the championship began.
Despite taking Derry to the All-Ireland title in his first year in charge, and with less than half of last year’s team available, PJ O’Mullan didn’t make PwC Manager of the Year.
That award has gone to Cork’s Matthew Twomey who turned his team’s year around to collect the O’Duffy Cup for the first time since 2018. Twomey stepped down as Cork manager a fortnight ago.
The Players and Twomey will pick up their awards at the PwC All-Stars Awards Ceremony in Croke Park on 4th November, when the 2023 All-star team and Players of the Year at Senior, Intermediate and Junior level will be announced.
Camogie Association President Hilda Breslin said: "I would like to congratulate all the Soaring Stars winners from our Premier Junior and Intermediate Championship, who are compiled by a dedicated All-Star Nomination Committee, to celebrate the high performance and commitment of these extraordinary players.
"The winners highlight the exceptional skill and talent displayed throughout the season for all to enjoy. The awards recognise excellence, dedication, and sportsmanship within our game.
"Sincere congratulations to Matthew Twomey on his outstanding achievements and for being an exemplary figure as Manager of the Cork Camogie team. His ability to inspire and motivate his team, coupled with his unwavering commitment, truly sets him apart as a deserving winner of the PwC Camogie Manager of the Year.
"We extend our thanks to our wonderful sponsors PwC for their invaluable support for our All-Star Awards and I look forward to a wonderful night of celebrations in Croke Park on November 4.
Enda McDonagh, Managing Partner, PwC, said: “On behalf of everyone at PwC, sincere congratulations to all the winners of the 2023 PwC Camogie Soaring Stars. Their high performance throughout the season sees them as truly deserving winners.
"The commitment, dedication and teamwork they demonstrate, while also inspiring future generations, is to be applauded. At PwC we are proud to celebrate high performance both on and off the field.
Congratulations also to the Manager of the Year winner, Matthew Twomey of Cork, for leading his team to All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship success this year.”
2023 PwC Camogie Soaring Stars team: Niamh Gribbin (Derry); Niamh Quinn (Derry); Claire Coffey (Meath); Sophia Payne (Meath); Lauren McKenna (Derry); Aoife Ní Chaiside (Derry); Ellen Casey (Clare); Dervla O’Kane (Derry); Aoife Minogue (Meath); Máiréad McNicholl (Derry); Áine McAllister (Derry); Amy Gaffney (Meath); Aoife Shaw, (Derry); Caoimhe Cahill (Clare); Jean Kelly (Tipperary)