Athenry are back on the national stage following two All-Ireland senior final defeats in 2007 and 2009 to Tipperary’s Cashel.
After their shock relegation in 2016, the former senior champions have bounced back beating Mountbellew/Moylough in the County Final before dispatching Waterford’s Lismore in the All-Ireland semi-final.
It’s their first trip to Croke Park as the biggest day in club camogie only moved to GAA headquarters in 2011. Manager Katharine Duane played corner back for the team that dominated the Galway scene between 2006 and 2009 and chatted to Galway Daily ahead of the big match.
“We’re a few days out from the All-Ireland club final,” said Duane. “The girls are preparing well.
“Things have gone well in the last few weeks. Everyone is in good form and looking forward to the big day ahead.
“It’s over 10 years ago now and there’s a couple of survivors from those devastating defeats both days. We were well bet out the park in 2007 and we came within a point in 2009 or maybe two points up against good opposition in Cashel.
“Looking back on it myself, maybe 2006 and 2008 were the years we potentially probably should have won an All-Ireland. So, those girls will have those thoughts in the back of their heads and trying to make amends for those couple of games and bring home an All-Ireland medal.
“And then for the younger girls who are involved and who would have been very, very young at the time of those games. That’s only history to them. It’s not relevant! They’re just gearing up and looking forward to a final. And a final being played in Croke Park is a great thing for any club player.
“A lot of these girls haven’t and mightn’t ever play county camogie so they may not ever get the opportunity again. It’s a great chance and fair play to the Camogie Association for reaching the agreement with Croke Park.
“Because I know at the time, 10 years ago when we were fighting those senior club All-Irelands, we played them in smaller venues around the country. It’s a good arrangement to have in place with headquarters that these camogie club players get the opportunity to play on the hallowed turf.”
Hear the full interview BELOW
Athenry face Kildare’s Johnstownbridge this Sunday (18th March) in the AIB All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Final. Throw-in at Croke Park is 1.30pm.