Loughgiel back on the big stage

All Ireland Camogie Senior Club semi-final

Loughgiel v Drom & Inch in Ashbourne, Co Meath

It is just over six years since Loughgiel last played in an All Ireland semi-final. That was against Galway champions Kilimor in Clones, on January 31st 2016, and though they were beaten they weren’t that far away. The year before they were well outplayed in the opening half by Oulaart the Ballagh of Wexford in Inniskeen, but after the break they showed just what they were capable of against the Leinster champions.

It looked like they were getting to a stage where they could compete at the highest level and the Slaughtneil came along. The Derry champions lifted it to a new level, and though they beat the Shamrocks for six years in a row, there were two or three of those finals that could have gone either way.

Three weeks ago they finally got over the line against Slaughtneil’s great team and they have to go into Saturday’s semi-final against Munster champions Drom & Inch felling they are in with a good chance. There have been a lot of changes in personnel since that last semi-final in Thurles, but the production line in Loughgiel has kept turning out new players and they have stayed at the top in Antrim without ever being seriously challenged. Dunloy pushed them hard in this years’ final and at half time appeared to be in a strong position, but when the chips were down the Shamrocks again found an answer.

The win over Slaughtneil in the Ulster final in Newry was a great day for the club when a giant weight was lifted off all of those involved. You feel anything from now on is a bonus. They probably have the draw they wanted in Drom & Inch for although there is little evidence to back that up, most pundits would wanted to avoid reigning champions Sarsfields, or St Vincent’s, who beat the 2020 champions Oulart in the Leinster final.

The team who won Ulster is likely to see any major changes on Saturday. Much will depend on the key players stepping up to the mark. Charlene Campbell rolled back the years in the last quarter against Slaughtneil while Katie Lynn, Una McNaughton and the excellent Shauna Devlin all showed well at the back. Lucia McNaughton and Amy Boyle will match any midfield in the country while up front Caitrin Dobbin and Roisin McCormick are the players they will look to for the scores, there are others who can also contribute like Christine Laverty, Anna Connolly and Annie Lynn

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