Previous results will count for nothing as Galway play host to Cork in the sides’ Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship opener at Kenny Park on Saturday (5pm throw-in – live stream on the Camogie Association YouTube channel).
So says Galway skipper Shauna Healy, who lifted the League Division 1 silverware after their most recent outing against the Rebels at Croke Park seven weeks ago, having defeated the previously unbeaten Leesiders at Páirc Uí Chaoimh to book their place in the decider.
Cathal Murray and his management team worked wonders to end the Spring in such a fashion, given the glut of big-name players that were unavailable, but the depth of the squad was illustrated by others that flourished given the opportunity.
With many of the walking wounded having returned, including Siobhan McGrath, Sarah Spellman and Maria Cooney, and Healy’s long-time predecessor as skipper, Sarah Dervan back training more than two months now after taking some time off, Galway are in rude health, even though unlike other contenders, they have not had provincial championships to keep them ticking over in May.
They must still plan without Niamh Kilkenny, Caitriona Cormican, Sarah Healy, Heather Cooney and Catherine Finnerty for the season, while Ciara Donohue, Rebecca Hennelly and Katie Anna Porter are recovering from injury and Ciara Hickey is unavailable until the completion of her Leaving Cert exams.
Galway welcome a Matthew Twomey squad licking their wounds after losing three national finals in a row as well as falling to Waterford in the opening round of their Munster campaign. They have also been rocked by the reported loss of Laura Hayes for the championship with a knee injury.
But Healy is expecting a revved up opposition and hopes that a fine-tuned preparation, as well as the comfort of familiar surroundings, will get the Maroons over the line.
“It promises to be a cracker. The sun will be shining in Kenny Park, first round of the championship, what more could you want?” asked Healy rhetorically while speaking on Galway Bay FM.
“Kenny Park is the main pitch for us when we’re training so it’s great to be (there) on Saturday. Hopefully the girls will relish the opportunity and take the game to Cork.
“We’re under no illusions. They’ll be coming down here all guns blazing (but it’s) one game at the time and that’s how we’ll be approaching the championship.
“Training has been going very well. Everyone is pushing for their positions and that’s the way to have it. It’s gone up a level and that’s what we’d have hoped for. Preparations have been top class. The lads have put in a serious effort and hopefully we’ll do them justice at the weekend.”