Glen Dimplex Senior Camogie Championship Preview
The Antrim Senior Camogie team will finally reap the rewards of last year's All-Ireland Intermediate victory when they get their Glen Dimplex Senior All-Ireland Championship campaign underway this coming weekend.
Antrim are back at the top table of Camogie thanks to their achievements last season and while the management and players are working hard on the training pitch we are going to look at the Saffron's form coming into the All-Ireland series and a look at the teams they will be going up against having taken the step up from last year.
Few within Antrim Camogie circles will forget that glorious day in September 2021 when Lucia McNaughton got her hands on the Jack McGrath Cup in Croke Park after a famous win over Kilkenny. That win has catapulted Antrim into the Senior Championship and while this campaign will bring about new challenges, there won’t be anyone shirking away from them and it will be a test that the team will relish.
Antrim are coming into the competition in good form. The league campaign was almost perfect with wins over Kerry, Galway II, Laois, and Cork II earning a trip to Croke Park to take on Wexford in the Division 2 Final. Unfortunately, Wexford got off to a great start that Antrim were unable to recover from and Wexford held on for a seven-point win.
That setback could have derailed everything but between the league and the upcoming All-Ireland series came the Ulster Championship and we took on our old nemesis, Down in the final. Down have made a habit of beating Antrim in finals in recent years and with that record and the loss to Wexford hanging over them, questions were being asked of Antrim but on the day they blew away all doubts and collected the Ulster championship with a seven-point win over our near neighbours.
This year’s Senior All-Ireland begins with two groups of six teams playing in a round-robin format. Each group winner will go straight through to the All-Ireland semi-finals while second and third place will go into the quarter-finals and play their opposite numbers in the other group for a place in the semi-final. The bottom team in each group will playoff with the losers dropping down into the Intermediate Championship in 2023.
Antrim have been drawn into Group 2 alongside Galway, Kilkenny, Offaly, Down, and Limerick. Here’s a look at the games and our opponents' recent form.
Offaly vs Antrim
Saturday 21st May - St Brendan's Park, Birr - Throw In 5pm
The opening game will be on the road with Offaly providing the opposition. Offaly have a bit more top-level experience than us but the last year has been about survival.
In last season's All-Ireland, they lost all of their group games to Tipperary, Wexford, and Limerick before heading into the relegation playoffs where they were able to secure another season at the top table with a win over Down.
This year’s league campaign followed a similar pattern with losses to Tipperary, Dublin, Down, and Galway sending them into the relegation playoffs where they were able to beat Limerick to earn their place in Division 1 for another year.
Last time out they took on Kilkenny in the Leinster Championship semi-final but they were unable to go any further and lost by 11 points.
A good start here could really set the tone for the campaign. Winning on the road and with all Antrim’s remaining fixtures to be played in Ulster would be a great place to be after the weekend and hopefully, the team can make it happen.