On one of the greatest days for Galway Camogie, NUI Galway is proud of its links with the Intermediate and Senior All-Ireland titles coming to the county yesterday with a total of 16 former and current students involved in the three finals.
At Senior and Intermediate level, both captains Lorraine Ryan and Sinead Keane, are former students of NUI Galway and played for the University’s camogie club for many years, winning a number of Ashbourne shield titles. Current students on the Galway Senior side include current NUI Galway Sports Scholarship students Niamh McGrath, Ailish O’Reilly, whilst Sports Scholarship student Aisling Dunphy was centre forward on the Kilkenny side. Former Sports Scholarship holders Niamh Kilkenny and Susan Earner were also on the Galway side. Current student Siobhan Coen was on the panel for yesterday’s game, as were former students Noreen Coen, Aoife Donohue, Colette Gill and Sinead Keane.
At Intermediate level a number of senior substitutes starred on the winning side of the All-Ireland final. Colette Gill, Sinead Keane, Caitriona Cormican and Aoife Donohue were on the starting line-up with current medical student Caitriona Lee on the panel. A further link with the Galway success is NUI Galway Camogie Ashbourne Cup manager Tony Ward, who was the manager of both successful sides.
The NUI Galway link to All-Ireland final Sunday was not just confined to the senior game. Apart from Aisling Dunphy on the Kilkenny side, there were a number of current and former students with other sides. On the Kildare side that captured the All-Ireland junior side were former student Niamh Concannon and current Ashbourne player Melissa Lyons. On the Limerick panel was Mary O’Callaghan, who is also a current student in NUI Galway.
NUI Galway Gaelic Games Officer Michael O’Connor is not surprised at the huge contribution of NUI Galway players on all sides on All Ireland weekend: “A significant number of players that starred on the Galway sides are part of the long running scholarship programme initiated by NUI Galway sport. A big cohort of the women who played on Sunday have a past and present involvement with NUI Galway camogie, having played with the University’s many winning awards and starring in many games over the last decade, or as recent at the most recent Ashbourne cup.”
He added: “No fewer than 16 players were involved in the three finals with huge performances provided by all, no more so than in the Senior final with Niamh McGrath as top scorer and Ailish O’Reilly grabbing the all-important goal. I would also like to pay a special tribute to dual winning manager Tony Ward who has transformed NUI Galway camogie in his role as Ashbourn manager with his efforts over the last season.”