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"She said, ‘I’m not going to leave Kilkenny camogie down.’ That sums her up"

Anne Dalton was a shock inclusion in the Kilkenny squad that progressed to the All-Ireland senior camogie championship semi-final on Saturday.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

KILKENNY MANAGER BRIAN Dowling was satisfied with much of their performance as his outfit cruised to an All-Ireland senior camogie championship semi-final with victory over Wexford on Saturday. 

The All-Ireland champions were dominant during the opening half in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. For Dowling, it was a strong display with some room for improvement. 

“We were very happy with the first half, especially the first 20 minutes and they were probably the best 20 minutes we played all year but we dropped off a bit in the second half,” he said post-match.

“That happens when you’re far ahead but it’s something we have to work on because if that happens in an All-Ireland semi-final we’ll be out of the championship fairly quick.”

anne-dalton Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Prior to throw-in, the team sheet attracted attention where Anne Dalton was listed as number 16 for Kilkenny. The all-time great retired earlier this year but was drafted in to replace sub-keeper Emma Kavanagh who is currently injured. 

“Emma unfortunately got a serious knee injury two weeks ago in training. We needed a back-up goalkeeper. Anne is back in the panel for the moment. That sums up Anne. She hasn’t played anything since the All-Ireland in December.

“In fairness, she said, ‘I’m not going to leave Kilkenny camogie down,’ so that just sums her up. That’s the character of Anne.

“She’s after giving everyone a lift in the dressing room. Anne is a different kind of character around the place and she’s a role model for the girls. Emma won’t be back next week so Anne will be there again next week.

“The intermediates are in the All-Ireland semi-final so we didn’t want to take a player off them. It was Ray Challoner mentioned it first. I thought maybe she wouldn’t come back but we said we’d ask her and see and she said yes straight away. I told her she could get in free to matches and all now, so that sealed the deal!

“She’s not a goalkeeper or anything like that but she’s good hands and she’s confident and you need to be confident playing in goals. In fairness, we’d be hoping she doesn’t have to play and we’ll be wrapping Aoife up in cotton wool now but if we need to throw in Anne I’ve no doubts that she’ll do a job.”

bill-mullaney-speaks-to-his-team-after-the-game Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Elsewhere, a six-point win saw Tipperary secure their place in Croke Park next Sunday to face Galway in the semi-final. Manager Bill Mullaney was content to get the job done and move on to the final four. 

“We came to get a win, whether it was a point or 101 points. It makes no odds, we just wanted to get through to the next stage and we’re there now.”

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It is the fourth year in a row that the Premier County have reached the preliminary stage and Mullaney believes they have what is necessary to take the next step. 

“That’s where we want to be. Waterford will be disappointed today. There’s nothing for the quarter-finalists or semi-finalists that lose.

“People forget it very quickly. But everyone deserves a break. I think we’re probably due one at this stage but we’re established with the other three. We just need to push on and take one of them and solidify being a top-four team.”

“[We need to] play for 60 minutes and believe in ourselves, and really commit to the process and the game. I thought we played as well as we could against Galway last year but we were missing four starters.

“I don’t think we really tested out the depth of our panel whereas this year, we were emphasising trying to get the panel more experience and more game time. And I think we’ve brought on five, six, seven players that can come on and do the job for us.”

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