Medals galore, but Ann now eyes big prize

KILKENNY may have been starved of senior camogie success of late, but midfielder Ann Dalton has never found herself short of accumulating honours.

Dalton has featured during Kilkenny’s all-conquering minor teams of recent years, has gained Ashbourne Cup honours with Waterford IT and helped to steer Kilkenny towards a National League title last season. But it is at club level where Dalton has really thrived, picking up six county club titles, four Leinster honours and three All-Ireland club medals as St Lachtain’s of Freshford swept the boards. That slew of honours lead to Kilkenny boss Ann Downey opting to entrust Dalton with the mantle of captaincy.

“I’m happy enough with how the year has gone so far,” remarks Dalton. “We beat Tipperary and then lost to Cork by just four points, which wasn’t bad considering that they’d won the All Ireland title last year. After that we knocked Dublin out, and then of course there was the win over Galway.”

After a first half which Galway just about shaded, that semi-final tie looked to have slipped from Kilkenny’s grasp as they approached the final whistle. But then Marie O’Connor popped up to strike a sensational last-minute goal to alter the course of the game.

“After the goal I thought to be myself that we needed to hold things,” says Dalton. “And when Katie Power’s last point went over that was it. I knew we had it then. It was a great victory for us.”

At underage level Kilkenny have been rampant in recent seasons, but have hit a lull in the senior grade. It’s fifteen years since Kilkenny won an All-Ireland, but the as far as Dalton is concerned the Galway win, and the manner of the fightback, was indicative of their belief.

“We’ve finally broken through that barrier though, and we’ll approach this in the same professional way as we would any championship match.

“It’ll be the same thing as before, just rest, train and eat well. You need to see it and approach the match as you would for any other game.

“It’s a championship match and to prepare any differently could take your eye off the goal.

“We’ve prepared properly all year wrong, so we won’t change things now. It should be a great final. Cork have won four All Irelands and so many of our players have been together for four years now, they are getting stronger every year.

“We are a close team, friends wise, and the minor and underage structure is a great help to the seniors”, added a player who is relatively fresh out of the underage ranks.”


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