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Keep an eye: 8 players to watch at the Ashbourne Cup weekend

Waterford IT hosts the massive third-level camogie competition – and UL are chasing five-in-a-row.

IT’S THAT TIME of year again.

There will be a host of top stars and inter-county talent on show at the UPMC Ashbourne Cup final weekend, as all roads lead to Waterford for the camogie elite.

ahsbourne Chloe Sigerson, Beth Carton and Kellyann Doyle are three to keep an eye on.

The Drive for Five is on for University of Limerick [UL] after the Shannonsiders completed an incredible four-in-a-row last year.

In many respects, things are different this year — but the four semi-finalists are the same.

UL face hosts Waterford Institute of Technology [WIT] in the early throw-in on Saturday afternoon, while Dublin City University [DCU] and University College Cork [UCC] go head-to-head in the second last four battle.

With the final pencilled in for Sunday at 4pm [live on CCAO Third Level Camogie social channels], we take a look at some of the major performers who will take to the stage throughout the weekend.

UL 

Beth Carton (Waterford / De La Salle)

A player who needs no introduction to camogie fans, Waterford star forward and UL captain Carton has enjoyed a meteoric rise on the senior inter-county scene over the past few seasons. 

beth-carton-is-tackled-by-ashling-thompson Beth Carton is tackled by Cork's Ashling Thompson. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

The underage sensation seamlessly transitioned to the Déise set-up, and has been key through the county’s rise, bagging All-Stars in 2018 and 2019 in doing so. De La Salle ace Carton is the definition of a sharpshooter; showing pinpoint accuracy from both placed ball and open play. Her 5-36 tally in last year’s championship says it all.

Player of the Match in last year’s final and top-scorer in the 2018 edition, the 21-year-old will be a major scoring outlet for UL as she eyes an individual perfect four-in-a-row.

Karen Kennedy (Tipperary / Thurles Sarsfields)

Kennedy has announced herself as one of Tipperary’s main players over the past few seasons, and was nominated for an All-Star last year for the second time in-a-row.

karen-kennedy Tipperary star Karen Kennedy. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Thurles Sarsfields defender is an all-round player; her strength and physicality is key at the back, though she more often than not pops up with a score or two. Kennedy scored a late, late goal in the Premier county’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat at LIT Gaelic Grounds last August.

While UL have lost several star players, Kennedy’s big-game experience will be key. Limerick dual star Rebecca Delee would definitely be one to watch but a recent knee injury leaves her involvement in doubt. Another dual diamond from Tipp in Roisin Howard, county mate Nicola Loughnane and Limerick’s Roisin Ambrose are more to keep an eye on.

WIT

Danielle Morrissey (Kilkenny /Conahy Shamrocks)

Morrissey is still only 19, but has serious inter-county experience under her belt. She’s been involved with Kilkenny for the past three seasons, and came off the bench in their Croke Park final loss in September.

danielle-morrissey-with-niamh-treacy-after-the-game Danielle Morrissey (left) and Niamh Treacy are WIT teammates. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Conahy Shamrocks prodigy powered through the underage ranks, catching the eye of Anne Downey, and she hasn’t looked back since. She’s another deadly free-taker and should be a key player for the hosts, who have a huge amount of talent in their ranks as they chase a first final appearance since the victorious 2015 campaign.

Waterford goalkeeper Brianna O’Regan is their number one, Tipperary duo Shauna Quirke and Niamh Treacy, and Joanne Dillon of Wexford are more to watch out for in Tommy Shefflin’s side.

Aisling Brennan (Offaly / St Cillian’s)

Brennan was really influential for WIT in last year’s competition, although they were beaten at the semi-final stage.

aisling-brennan-with-teeny-cormican-and-carrie-dolan Aisling Brennan on the run. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

The St Cillian’s star has been the spearhead of her Offaly side over the pat few seasons, and was a real standout player for the Midlanders last summer.

She’ll surely be the same for WIT this weekend as the hosts look to put down a marker — and what better way to do so than putting big scores on the board, something Brennan is more than capable of.

UCC

Chloe Sigerson (Cork / Killeagh)

The Cork college will be on a revenge mission to bridge a 17-year gap, having fell to UL in each of the last four deciders. Rebel star Sigerson, their captain, has really established herself on the senior inter-county scene of late.

chloe-sigerson-dejected-after-the-game Chloe Sigerson dejected after last year's final. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Shortlisted for the 2018 Player of the Year, the defender has been integral for Paudie Murray’s charges over the past two seasons. She’s a major scoring outlet from half-back, and one of her specialties is hitting long-range frees.

The Kileagh woman should have a big say this weekend.

Orla Cronin (Cork / Enniskeane)

Cronin is another of the many Cork talents in the UCC set-up, with young dual star Ciara McCarthy someone else worthy of a nod. A four-time All-Ireland champion with Cork, star forward Cronin was Player of the Match in the 2017 decider victory over Kilkenny. 

orla-cronin Cork star Orla Cronin. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Like Sigerson, she’s accurate from placed balls and chips in with scores from play too, but it’s her work-rate and skill that really makes her stand out.

Cronin was UCC’s Ashbourne captain in 2018, and the 24-year-old is one of the most experienced heads on the panel this time around. Hockey star Caoimhe Purdue of Tipperary is another UCC player with big potential.

DCU 

Hannah Hegarty (Dublin / St Jude’s)

The Sky Blues dual star has been focusing on camogie of late, and will hope to captain DCU to a maiden Ashbourne Cup triumph.

hannah-hegarty Hannah Hegarty. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Hegarty was nominated for an All-Star in 2017 as Dublin reached the All-Ireland senior semi-final for the first time in 27 years. She captained both her county camogie and football teams in 2015, so leadership is something that comes naturally to the St Jude’s ace. 

Her impact in the half-back line will be vital for DCU, who have an abundance of other players with inter-county experience like Sarah O’Connor (Wexford) and Ava Lynsky (Galway).

Kellyann Doyle (Kilkenny / Piltown)

Doyle starred for the Cats en route to last year’s All-Ireland final, after injury struggles hampered her development until then. The 22-year-old has come back stronger than ever from a cruciate setback, and her athleticism is key to any team she throws her lot in with. 

kellyann-doyle Kellyann Doyle in last year's All-Ireland final. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Industrious around the middle, she was nominated for an All-Star in 2019 and was Player of the Match in the final at just 17 when her club Piltown toasted All-Ireland intermediate success.

She’s one of a strong Kilkenny contingent on the Glasnevin college’s panel, with Ciara Phelan and Michelle Teehan also involved. 

2020 Ashbourne Cup semi-finals

Saturday, 15 February 

  • WIT v UL, 12.45pm, Waterford IT Arena
  • DCU v UCC, 2.45pm, Waterford IT Arena

The Purcell, Fr. Meachair and Ó Maolagáin Cup competitions are also down for decision.

Panels in full

UL

ul Source: CCAO Third Level Camogie.

WIT

wit Source: CCAO Third Level Camogie.

UCC

ucc Source: CCAO Third Level Camogie.

DCU

dcu Source: CCAO Third Level Camogie.

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About the author:

Emma Duffy

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