ULSTER INTERMEDIATE CAMOGIE FINAL
Eglish v Portaferry
By Niall McCoy
WHEN it comes to leadership qualities then Portaferry joint captain Catherine Coleman has it in spades.
The Derry native captained Glen, Watty Graham’s to an Oakleaf Intermediate title back in 2003 and 18 years later she, along with Catherine Mullan, lifted more silverware as Portaferry claimed their first-ever Down Senior Championship with a narrow victory over Liatroim in the final last November.
Now in 2022, she is hoping for even more history as they come up against Tyrone side Eglish for the right to be deemed Ulster Intermediate champions.
“It’s a very proud honour and it’s turned out to be a great season for us with that first county title,” said Coleman.
“We did think we were close to Clonduff last year so we did think this could be the year, but you can never know for sure if that breakthrough is going to come.”
Their cause was undoubtedly helped by Clonduff’s inability to escape from the group stages in what was an extremely competitive Down Championship.
Portaferry were in Group One alongside them with the pair finishing on four points.
Ballycran did likewise and it was the Hilltown outfit that missed out on a semi-final spot on scoring difference.
Portaferry went on to defeat Ballygalget in the semi-final and then they edged a competitive decider with Liatroim.
Coleman has been living in the Mourne county for a decade now and she has been impressed by the progression of the sport.
“I have noticed that camogie has gotten a lot stronger,” she said.
“Clonduff have obviously been very strong in recent years but when I came down it was Ballycran at the top.
“Then Liatroim had a championship. Ballygalget have a good young team too now.
“It’s been very competitive so we were just so relieved to get over the line.”
When Coleman won that title with Glen in 2003, the competition ended at the county boundary but the provincial series has since been added and continues to bring plenty of twists and turns.
The Intermediate grade is quite unusual in that it usually has just a final between the Tyrone and Down champions.
Coleman has encountered Eglish in her past, and she knows just how difficult they will be given that they are much more experienced in the provincial arena.
“I was up at home, Eglish played in the Derry League so I have a wee bit of experience of them.
“I have been watching them this long time and they have been winning Ulsters and the like so they’re doing something right.
“We’re happy to be there but we want to win it too.
“We’re there on merit and we’ll give it our best shot.”