Raharney face tough test against Clanmaurice

Gerry Buckley

The year 2019 will be forever remembered as a glorious one for camogie in Westmeath because of Johnny Greville’s intermediate side winning the Jack McGrath Cup in Croke Park almost three months ago.

Another famous son of Raharney, Padraic Connaughton, will be wearing the bainisteoir’s bib in Nenagh this Sunday as the Deelside club, featuring quite of number of stars from the aforementioned triumph in Jones’ Rd, take on Clanmaurice from Kerry in an eagerly-awaited All-Ireland junior club final.

Indeed, the term ‘Clanmaurice from Kerry’ could easily be labelled ‘the Kerry junior team itself’ as early-comers to GAA headquarters for the inter-county triple-header in September would have noticed that the Kingdom side was more or less Clanmaurice by another name. The girls in the famous green and gold jerseys defeated Limerick in the first of the three finals prior to Mairéad McCormack and her colleagues staging a memorable comeback to win the sec-ond game on the programme.

Undoubtedly, the team spirit created by a club side effectively representing their county will be a major plus when Clanmaurice take to the field in McDonagh Park next Sunday (November 24) at 2pm. Victories over St Jo-seph’s, Doora Barefield (Clare) in the Munster final and St Brendan’s, Bally-macnab (Armagh) in the All-Ireland semi-final, where the Kerry girls won by 0-11 to 0-3 having always looked the better outfit, have qualified them for next Sunday’s showdown at the Tipperary venue.

However, Raharney are a seasoned side, inspired by the incomparable Pamela Greville, still playing as well as ever in attack despite her veteran status. Other seasoned campaigners like Fiona Leavy as defensive pivot ensure that a hard core of experienced players remain in situ in key areas. ‘Core’ is also a key word in terms of the talented young stars on board, with Hannah and Erin Core consistently proving to be a very lively duet of corner forwards.

The girls in blue have dominated camogie in the Lake County over the past decade and a comfortable county final win against Clonkill (2-12 to 1-3) in Kinnegad in late September propelled them to another shot at a much-cherished provincial crown. A hammering of Camross (Laois) by 9-20 to 0-1 in Joristown in the penultimate round preceded a much closer encounter with Kil-cormac/Killoughey (Offaly) in Clane, where the final scoreline of 3-11 to 2-5 in Raharney’s favour somewhat disguises quite a close match against the Faithful County representatives.

Raharney qualified for next Sunday’s final with a 1-5 to 0-5 win over St Dom-inic’s (Roscommon) in the semi-final in Athlone. Hannah Core’s goal and a great late save at the other end by Anna Weir from a penalty stroke by the Connacht champions were key factors in what was a hard-earned win.

Throngs from the vicinity of Raharney will flock to Nenagh next Sunday. All Westmeath Gaels are hopeful that Rachel O’Malley will be presented with the All-Ireland trophy come 3.30pm next Sunday.

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