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Dublin: 5°C Sunday 7 March 2021

6 players to watch in this year's All-Ireland Camogie championship

The All-Ireland Camogie championship kicks off this weekend.

Updated at 09.56

Una Sinnott – Wexford

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

A game in which you have been trounced by 20 points is usually consigned to the dark recesses of the mind fairly quickly but Una Sinnott will remember one such encounter as she made her senior debut for Wexford against Galway in the Irish Daily Star Camogie League last April.

The Craanford/Monaseed neophyte was earmarked as a potential star from an early age but her rise to the senior ranks has been rapid nonetheless. Having just turned 17 in January, Sinnott was called into the intermediate panel for the League and made such an impression that Colm McGee was quick to promote her.

She has proven an effective foil at corner-forward for her hero, Ursula Jacob with her quick hands, speed, skill and eye for a score. What has impressed many knowledgeable people in Wexford is the toughness that she possesses.

Although not tall, she doesn’t avoid contact and despite dislocating her shoulder in a challenge against Kilkenny three weeks ago, has no fears about being available for Wexford’s Liberty Insurance Championship opener against Offaly on Saturday week.

Méabh Cahalane – Cork

Orlaith McGrath and Meabh Cahalane Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Daughter of Niall and sister of Damien, Méabh is following the Cork tradition of dual players and as a result, is well on the way to making her own stamp on Gaelic games history.

She has made her way onto the all-conquering ladies football panel this year but has made the biggest impression at half-back on the Leesiders’ camogie side this term.
With a couple of vacancies in defence caused by the retirements of Anna Geary and Joanne O’Callaghan, Paudie Murray was quick to place his trust in youth.

Cahalane, who played when the intermediates won the Division 2 league last year, despite having the Leaving Cert to contend with, was amongst those to flourish and will have learned much from the league final defeat to Galway.

That was a difficult experience but the 19-year-old showed all the character that her father was famous for as Cork battled back in the second half.

As far as combining both codes, the St Finbarr’s defender need look no further than the legendary Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery for role models.

Shauna Healy – Galway

Briege Corkery solos past Shauna Healy Healy has made the centre-back position her own for Galway this year. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The last two years have seen the Ardrahan woman make giant strides having initially made to be patient in a bid to break into a very strong unit, after forming an eye-catching midfield partnership with Rebecca Hennelly that propelled Galway to an All-Ireland minor title in 2010.

Initially seen as a full-back with the county, Healy earned a call-up to the Galway intermediates in 2013 and starred on the edge of her own square as the Tribeswomen went on to win the All-Ireland.

She was back at Croke Park six months later but the result wasn’t as memorable as Milford had a point to spare in the All-Ireland club final.

The 22-year-old broke into the county senior side for the knock-out stages of last year’s championship – doing so while commuting from Salford University in Manchester for training – and has been a regular through the present campaign.

Stepping into the iconic No.6 jersey vacated by Therese Maher cannot have been easy but like her legendary predecessor, Healy is proving her value not just as a stopper but a creator too, with the accuracy of her passing off the hurley having been described domestically as Beckham-esque.

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Sarah Carey – Limerick

media_940987_XC_CCN_7432 Sarah Carey comes from a famous GAA family. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Another player with a famous father. Joe Quaid, who is manager of Limerick’s rapidly improving camogie team, was a team-mate of Ciarán Carey and has noted that the family trademark of manoeuvring up-field with the sliotar glued to the base of the hurley is alive and well.

He has also labelled someone on the receiving end of a challenge from his centre-back (where else?) as “being Carey-ed”. The 22-year-old is part of a breed of Limerick player that expects success and is impatient for it at the highest level.

Carey has known plenty good days with Granagh/Ballingarry, and growing up, had the likes of Vera and Aoife Sheehan pointing the way.

Last year she captained her club to the county title, an honour she holds on equal footing with Limerick marking their return to the senior grade by garnering the All-Ireland intermediate championship last September.

That came 12 months after losing the previous year’s final and Carey’s leadership qualities were very much in evidence. She has been comfortable in Division 1 of the League in the past two seasons and is certain to relish top-tier Championship fare.

Miriam Walsh – KILKENNY

Gemma O'Connor and Miriam Walsh Walsh chases down Gemma O'Connor of Cork. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Although she has played in the last two All-Ireland senior finals – the first as sub, the second from the start – Miriam Walsh is still only 20. This could be the summer for her to hit another level as Kilkenny look to avenge those two chastening defeats.

Unfortunately, they weren’t her first at the highest level. A fantastic underage player, Walsh starred as Kilkenny reached both the minor and U16 All-Ireland deciders four years ago. Unfortunately, both games ended in gut-wrenching one-point reverses.

She was back in a minor final in 2013 though and scored five points in a player-of-the-match display as the Noresiders took the honours in a replay. She was also named best-on-field as Loreto College annexed the post-primary schools’ All-Ireland that year.

The Tullaroan playmaker scored heavily as Kilkenny took League honours last year and has been operating as the fulcrum of the Kilkenny attack of late, providing some key assists in the recent Leinster final success over Offaly.

Beth Carton – Waterford

Beth Carton Carton has been superb since breaking onto the county scene. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

The De La Salle teenager has a similar profile to Una Sinnott in that she is hitting the top level of adult camogie available to her straight out of U16. Her CV is crammed with achievement of an individual and collective nature.

Last year, Carton was player of the match in both the minor B All-Ireland, when she registered a hat-trick of goals, and later on in the U16B decider, in which she clocked up 2-11 as Waterford also completed a notable double.

The flame-haired marks-woman has proved she can produce under the severest of pressure too, scoring 1-6 as Waterford lost to Cork in the Munster A championship this year.

It was only a matter of time before she would graduate to adult fare at inter-county level and the transition has been very smooth so far. Carton was top scorer for the Déise as they set themselves up for a determined bid for intermediate honours by garnering Division 2 honours in the League.

She maintained her high-scoring form with two second-half goals in an eight-point final victory over Laois, to highlight how integral she has already become to Waterford. And yes, she was named player of the match again.

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About the author:

Claire Egan

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