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Kilkenny and Galway clash in hotly-anticipated All-Ireland Championship opener

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

05:02 14 Jun 2019


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The hotly-anticipated All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship opener between Galway and Kilkenny will be broadcast live this Saturday evening (4:45 pm) on the official Camogie Association Facebook page.

There will be one match broadcast in this way each week and Kilkenny defender Grace Walsh believes it could have a really positive effect on the game.

"If someone watches the game, Kilkenny versus Galway, and it's a really, really good and exciting game, they might think 'I might go to the next one', Walsh told Off The Ball.

"If it's a family and they have young kids, boys or girls, they might think, 'I might bring the girls or the boys to the next game because it's an exciting thing to be at.'

"The skill level is good, it's fast-paced. If it's exciting to look at online, then it'll be more exciting [being there]. I think it will encourage people to go."

While the Cats may have lost the league final against Galway, they did beat the All-Ireland champions Cork in the semi-final to gain some revenge for the Championship final defeat last year.

However, Walsh refuses to accept that they, in some way, laid down a marker against the Rebelettes.

"I'd never really say that we're laying down markers, against anyone," said Walsh. "For myself anyway, I don't really care who we're playing, I just want to win the game. I think everybody [on the panel] feels the same, it's all about getting the wins.

"And when you're winning as well, you get into that mentality and you're improving in your games as well.

"It's not really about getting one over Cork or getting one over Galway or whoever it is. It's just about getting the win and trying to get yourselves to the stage where you have the potential to win the All-Ireland final."

Dervan not placing any importance on Camogie League final

Galway defender Sarah Dervan is also reluctant to place too much importance on what happened in the league this year.

The Tribeswomen edged Kilkenny by 0-16 to 2-8 but Dervan feels the Championship presents a totally different challenge, keeping in mind that Galway don't have a provincial title to play for.

"We won the league but at the end of the day, it is only the league," Dervan said. "We've had a long lay-off of ten to eleven weeks so a lot of teams can come in and out of form.

"We're under no illusion as to what's ahead of us [playing Kilkenny]. We know exactly what they're going to bring; a different pace, different atmosphere, different everything. It's up to us to match it.

"Unfortunately we don't have a provincial championship. Kilkenny won theirs quite comprehensively, all their games. It's anyone's game the next day and we can go in and give it our best shot."

Like any other elite gaelic games athlete, Dervan just cannot wait to get out on to the pitch and feels that there's nothing like the buzz of the build-up to the opening weekend of the All-Ireland Championship.

"It's the buzz and the feel of it," Dervan replies when asked what she loves most about Championship camogie.

"We were training in Kenny Park last weekend and it was just fantastic, there's something about Kenny Park that's magical," she adds, with a beaming smile.

"You know Championship is coming, it's great!

"There's only so much training you can do. And it's the matches that get the butterflies going, it makes you feel alive. It's how you learn most about yourself as well. You have to love Championship, it's where you want to be."

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