LIMERICK sides Mary Immaculate and UL play in camogie Ashbourne Cup semi finals this weekend.
On Saturday at 4.45pm in the Connaught GAA centre in Ballyhaunis, Mary I play UCC, while UL play WIT in the other semi final. The decider is on Sunday in Gort at 3pm.
If last weeks Ashbourne Cup quarter-final appearance was unchartered territory for the Camogie players of Mary Immaculate College then their victory over NUIG in that game has catapulted them on to another level altogether.
When the Ashbourne Cup was founded in 1915 it featured three teams and having already dispatched two of 'the Originals' in NUIG and UCD, the Limerick girls will have to complete the hat-trick to advance to Sunday's final.
UCC are the old traditionalists of the Ashbourne,second on the role of honour with 32 titles and while they haven't added to that since 2003 they are coming to Galway this weekend with a team loaded with experience.
Indeed the Mardyke girls have seven of the Cork starting team which won the senior All-Ireland in 2015 with All-Stars Pamela and Katriona Mackey and Orla Cronin the stand out names.
Mary I will have benefited greatly from a tough battle against NUIG in Martinstown last Thursday night, a game which they lead all the way before needing two late goals for victory following a stirring Galway come back lead primarily by Maria Cooney, daughter of Galway legend Joe.
Mary Immaculate will start with a very young side that features no less than six of the first year side who annexed the Fresher 'A' All-Ireland title before Christmas but also have an experienced spine.
Caoimhe Costelloe and Rebecca Delee are experienced Limerick senior players while Tipperary contribute four of their senior side namely Megan Ryan, Shauna Quirke, Julie-Ann Bourke and Mairead Teehan.
Cork’s UCC have the largest representation with six of the starting fifteen and it is testament to the strength of camogie in the Rebel county that of these only Linda Collins is currently a part of Paudie Murrays senior squad.
Manager Adrian O'Sullivan refuses to play the underdog card and is adamant that they are travelling on Saturday with nothing but victory on their minds.
“We have been down to Cork this year and won in the league, gave UCC a real trimming down there,” said O’Sullivan.
“Of course championship is different but we have a young squad packed with winners and we fear no one. If we loose to UCC nobody will bat an eyelid, they will find it hard to go back to Cork having exited to Mary I. That's the arrogance that exists in this competition. UCD had it, NUIG had it and UCC have it.”
He added: “We have nothing to loose and we are absolutely hopping for it, can't wait.”
There is also Limerick involvement in the Purcell and Fr Meachair Cup.