McCormack and Greville fire Westmeath to historic result

“You’re not going to get a ‘Jim Gavin’ from me – I’m as excited as anything here, as the players on the field!”

Westmeath camogie manager Johnny Greville, quite rightly, didn’t hold back with the superlatives, as his charges made history today – annexing the All-Ireland intermediate camogie title with a spirited second half display against Galway.

Nine points from the manager’s sister, Pamela, as well as a goal from captain Mairead McCormack, contributed to a 1-11 to 1-9 win over Galway’s second string, meaning that the Lake County – for the very first time in its history – will be a fully-fledged senior team in 2020.

Signs were ominous in the first half when Galway’s high intensity running put Westmeath under severe pressure, and the Tribeswomen went in at half time with a 1-8 to 0-4 lead at the break, finding the net through Ava Lynskey.

However, Westmeath emerged in the second half like nothing remotely resembling a beaten docket, and tore up the script by outscoring Galway 1-7 to 0-1.

Some positional changes saw skipper Mairead McCormack move to corner forward, and after Pamela Greville steadied the Westmeath ship with a couple of early scores, on 44 minutes, McCormack did well to field a long ball from the tireless Megan Dowdall. Although her initial shot was blocked, the Castletown-Geoghegan star did well to nudge the sliothar home on the rebound.

Mairead McCormack strikes Westmeath's all-important winning goal. Photographer: ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

From there, the Westmeath girls kicked on. Sheila McGrath notched the equaliser with a point from play, and at this stage, Galway struggled even to get ball into Westmeath’s third of the pitch.

After a trio of frees from Greville, the Lake County led by a goal in stoppage time, and endured a nervous moment when Galway’s Niamh Horan had to settle for a point from a dangerous free.

Manager Johnny Greville summed up the feeling in the camp when talking to RTÉ at full time.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable. This is what dreams are made of. This is why we do this – this is why we put in the time,” the Raharney stalwart said.

“It’s the passion and the drive and the enthusiasm of those players that drives you on for every second and every minute. And credit to each and every one of them, every girl in the stand, every supporter and everything to do with Westmeath. It’s absolutely phenomenal.”

Pamela Greville, who has been playing camogie for Westmeath since they were in the junior ‘B’ ranks, picked up her fourth All-Ireland medal today (junior ‘B’, junior ‘A’, premier junior and intermediate).

“We’ve been behind like that before, and we knew that maybe, if we left everything on the field we’d come out with a win. We showed that today,” said Pamela.

At full-time, Westmeath captain Mairead McCormack collected the Jack McGrath Cup from Camogie Association president, Kathleen Woods, while Megan Dowdall was awarded player of the match.

Westmeath panel: Fiona Keating (Cullion); Aoife O’Malley (Raharney), Méadbh Scally (Clonkill), Laura Doherty (Raharney); Amy Cully (St Brigid’s), Fiona Leavy (Raharney), Sandra McGrath (St Munna’s); Muireann Scally (Crookedwood), Niamh Horan (Delvin); Mairead McCormack (Castletown-Geoghegan, capt.), Sheila McGrath (St Munna’s), Megan Dowdall (Clonkill); Michelle Murtagh (Lough Lene Gaels), Pamela Greville (Raharney), Caoimhe McCrossan (Lough Lene Gaels). Subs: Anna Weir (Raharney), Aisling Egerton (Clonkill), Aoife Doherty (Raharney), Aoife Higgins (Lough Lene Gaels), Ava Balfe (St Brigid’s), Emma Broughan (Cullion), Emma Flynn (Castletown-Geoghegan), Joanne McCormack (Castletown-Geoghegan), Shauna McGrath (St Munna’s), Sarah King (Delvin), Sinead McKenna (Crosserlough), Róisín Scally (Crookedwood), Jane Nangle (Lough Lene Gaels), Caoimhe Gaffney (Delvin), Olivia Glynn (St Munna’s), Aideen Dermody (Lough Lene Gaels).

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