AFTER an absence of a decade Limerick return to the All Ireland senior camogie championship this Saturday (2.30) when they play Offaly in Newcastle West.
Joe Quaid’s side commence the group stages of the championship with a clash with Offaly. Games against Cork, Wexford and Galway follow in what the manager describes as “the group of death”.
“Between that three they have won the last 10 All Ireland titles,” explains the Limerick manager.
But Saturday is not about the opposition, it’s about Limerick’s return to the top table after a two years quest under the Quaid regime.
“We are after a good league campaign, when we probably did better than we had thought and now we are ready for our first senior championship game in Limerick since 2005 and we are ready,” said Quaid.
Last year Limerick annexed All Ireland minor, junior and intermediate championship titles so confidence is high, especially with a Division One league semi final this Spring.
“This is a new level but we knew it had to be. Last year we were able to train right through our group games because we were going to win them but this year everything had to be tailored differently.”
Maura Shine joins Quaid as a selectors, with his backroom completed by Adrian O’Sullivan, Patsy Hall, Donie Browne and physio Sara Fitzgerald.
“We are really looking forward to it and feel that we have everything done that was possible.”
This Monday, Quaid and Co announced their starting team - with five changes from the side that beat Kilkenny in the Croke Park All Ireland intermediate final victory.
Into the line-up come Marguerite McCarthy, Noreen Barry, Karen O’Leary, Sinead McNamara and Caoimhe Lyons. Absent are the retired Michelle Casey, Claire Mulcahy (who got married last weekend), Katie Campbell (on route back from cruciate ligament), Mairead Fitzgerald (had cruciate ligament operation last week) and Mary O’Callaghan (eye injury).
“Everyone of our panel are All Ireland champions from last year and that’s certainly unique for any arm of Limerick GAA or camogie and that brings great confidence. We know what lies ahead but we are ready,” said Quaid.
“We have a very young squad with 10 minors. The likes of Michelle (Casey) and Deirdre (Fitzpatrick) came out of retirement two years ago to get Limerick back senior and they did that and now its time for the youngsters to take more and show what they can do.”
This Saturday, Offaly provide Limerick with the ideal chance to start with a win.
“We went up there in the league and beat them by one point so I can tell you it will be tight. Hopefully if we are still there with 10-minutes to go that the confidence will see us home.”
LIMERICK: Sile Moynihan (Ahane); Marguerite McCarthy (Ahane), Lorraine McCarthy (Bruff), Judith Mulcahy (Ahane); Rebecca DeLee (Newcastle West), Sarah Carey (Granagh Ballingarry), Fiona Hickey (Granagh-Ballingarry); Niamh Mulcahy (Ahane), Caoimhe Costelloe (Adare); Karen O’Leary (Newcastle West), Deborah Murphy (Knockaderry), Sinead McNamara (Na Piarsaigh); Noreen Barry (Killeedy), Caoimhe Lyons (Monaleen), Aoife Sheehan (Granagh-Ballingarry). Subs: Aoife Barry (Murroe-Boher), Rebecca Noonan (Granagh-Ballingarry), Megan O’Mara (Monaleen), Sinead Madden (Mungret St Pauls), Marion Quaid (Bruff), Tara Fitzgibbon (Ballyagran), Aisling Scanlon (Killeedy), Cliona Lane (Adare).