Participation is all-important for Loughgiel Seconds

By Niall Gartland

LOUGHGIEL Seconds take on Eoghan Rua in Sunday’s Ulster Junior ‘A’ final, but there’s more to this project than just winning trophies.

This famous Antrim club fields three camogie teams at adult level, so this is at least partially about participation and preparing younger girls to go on and represent the team at senior level.

It would be sweet of course, to pocket some provincial silverware, but their manager PJ O’Mullan points out that theirs is a very young team, so expectations needn’t be too high heading into Sunday’s final against Eoghan Rua.

O’Mullan said: “Camogie in Loughgiel is strong. Our senior team, seconds team and junior team are all very competitive. Our Junior team only got beaten by a point in their county final, and our senior and seconds team won their respective finals.

“The Seconds team is an extremely young team apart from a girl who’s back from Australia for a few months, and a couple of girls who had children and would’ve been on the senior team only they get didn’t get back in time for that.

“We do have a lot of youth in the team, and hopefully the games and experience they are getting will be beneficial in terms of them getting on the senior team in the coming season.”

The Shamrocks qualified for the final with a victory after extra-time away to Armagh side Ballymacnab last weekend. Katie McKillop and Orlagh Laverty scored four points each, while Ciara Connolly scored their goal. It was a very good result, all told.

O’Mullan said: “Overall we were pleased, we controlled the game for 50 minutes but got punished badly for two mistakes and that put us under pressure at the business end of things. We regrouped at the full time whistle, regained our composure and were the better team in extra-time. Overall we’re happy but we’ve plenty to work on and to get right this week.”

O’Mullan, who managed Loughgiel hurlers to the All-Ireland SHC title in 2012, says his side are underdogs against Eoghan Rua. The Derry club have been in the doldrums for a number of years but have arrested their slide and have some of the best camogs in Ulster like Grainne McGoldrick in their ranks.

“There’s no doubt we’ll be massive underdogs, they’re usually a Division One team in Derry. It’s an unenviable task but from our point of view we’ll embrace it. It’s a final and we’ll certainly give it a lash. They’ve good players all over the pitch like Katie Mullan and the two McGoldricks. They’re not a one-person outfit and the experience they have should stand to them massively, they’ve won All-Irelands in the last decade.”


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