Teams prepare for camogie's big day

The countdown is on for this Sunday's Gala All-Ireland Camogie Championship finals at Croke Park, where the junior final will see Offaly and Waterford going head-to-head and reigning champions Cork will take on Kilkenny in the senior decider.

The captains and managers of the four competing counties joined Joan O'Flynn, President of the Camogie Association, and Gary Desmond, CEO of Gala, today at Croke Park.

Marion Crean captains Offaly for the second year in a row, while Waterford are led by Sally O'Grady. Amanda O'Regan is the Cork captain, while Ann Dalton skippers Kilkenny.

Appearing in their eighth successive final, Cork will be looking to put back-to-back titles together.

They are bidding for their 24th All-Ireland senior title, which would bring them to within two titles of Dublin who top the table with 26.

This year the Rebelettes won all of their three games in the round robin stage of the Championship.

A confident O'Regan said: "Training has gone well and the competition for places is very strong.

"But, we know Kilkenny will be very hungry, they are a young team coming through."

Kilkenny last contested the All-Ireland final in 2001 when they fell to Tipperary. Their most recent victory was in 1995 when current manager Ann Downey played against Cork boss Denise Cronin.

Excited to be back on camogie's biggest stage, Kilkenny captain Ann Dalton said: "It is the first All-Ireland final for many of our players and we have worked hard.

"It was great to see the hurlers do the four in-a-row on Sunday, and it would be massive if we could bring home another cup for the second week in succession."

Meanwhile, Offaly will be hoping to bring a first title to the Faithful County, while Waterford are appearing in their first All-Ireland junior final.

Camogie President Joan O'Flynn said: "Every camogie player's dream is to win an All-Ireland in Croke Park. So in next Sunday's finals, dreams will come true in the biggest day in the sporting lives of the players of Cork and Kilkenny, Waterford and Offaly.

"The All-Ireland finals are the showcase of camogie. The skill, speed, athleticism and artistry of the game's finest players will be on display.

"The club and family base of camogie, as part of the Gaelic Games community, will be much in evidence.

"I am delighted that this year's All-Ireland programme continues to unite the camogie and hurling families when the All Ireland U-21 hurling title will also to be decided. We have a great day is in prospect."

The All-Ireland Junior Camogie Championship final will get underway at 12.45pm on Sunday, with the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship final following it at 2.45pm. Both games will be live on RTÉ Two.

The Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship decider between Kilkenny and Clare will throw in at 4.30pm at Croke Park (live TG4).

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