Players welcome Semple Stadium’s camogie final curtain-raiser

Niamh Kilkenny

Galway and Kilkenny camogie stars have welcomed the decision to play their National League final at Semple Stadium on Sunday week.

The game will be the curtain-raiser to the Allianz Hurling League Division One final between Clare and Waterford at the famous Thurles venue on May 1.

“It is brilliant for everyone, it is great promotion for the game,” said Galway captain Niamh Kilkenny.

“Any young person that’s going to the hurling can come and watch our game and see what we’re about.”

Niamh Kilkenny, who captained Galway to victory over Cork (2-15 to 2-12) in last year’s showpiece, has fond memories of the decider as the crowd was swelled by those attending the men’s league final between Cork and Waterford

“I do remember last year, when the men’s final supporters came in, they did get behind the camogie, it was brilliant and it made such a great atmosphere in Thurles, it’s a great opportunity for the sport.”

Kilkenny half-forward Julianne Malone is set to make her senior league final debut against Galway.

The large crowd will be some extra pressure — but Malone is not complaining.

“It most certainly does add to the occasion. It will get a bit more of a crowd than a normal game, hopefully it will make a good atmosphere there and drive us on for a win,” she said.

“I suppose it’s a little bit more nerve-racking because we’re before the lads’ match. It’s such a big stadium, but I don’t think that will dampen our expectations, we just have to concentrate on our game.”

However, plans for the camogie All-Ireland as the curtain-raiser for the All-Ireland hurling final in Croke Park on the first Sunday in September appear further away than ever before.

“I don’t think it would ever happen,” said Niamh Kilkenny.

“We are two completely separate organisations but I suppose it would be nice to play before the men’s All-Ireland final.

“We’re senior players too and we probably should get the opportunity to play in Croke Park with a full crowd, I don’t think that will ever happen.”

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