A championship campaign that has seen the Roscommon U-16 camógs rack up a series of comprehensive victories will culminate in an All-Ireland final clash with Armagh this Saturday afternoon, with the contest set to throw in at 3 p.m. in Kinnegad.
A 5-18 to 1-6 win over Kerry in last Saturday’s semi-final clash in Ennis was the county’s fourth consecutive landslide win, with a combined winning margin across those games against Wicklow, Down and Kerry (twice) now up to 121 points.
It’s likely to be a very different story on Saturday, however, as Armagh have also been hugely impressive throughout this campaign.
“We played them in our first game of the championship up in Armagh and they were a quite physical team, by far the strongest we’ve played,” joint-manager Seán O’Brien told the Roscommon Herald on Monday (yesterday).
“The standard is definitely getting tougher. Even against Kerry, the scoreline didn’t reflect how competitive Kerry were in the first half. At half time, we re-arranged things a little bit and we started to put some good moves together after that, but it wasn’t as straightforward as it might have seemed,” he added.
After losing last year’s final to Westmeath by a single point, expectations in the county were high regarding this group, which retains several of those players. Andrea Fallon, Anna Hussey and Hazel Kelly all started this year’s All-Ireland Minor C final against Westmeath and they will be key players on Saturday, as will Aideen O’Brien and Emma Connaughton, who came off the bench in that final, player in Tubber. Alannah Sutton and Kathleen Egan were also on that panel.
Meanwhile there is also a host of players from this year’s successful U-16 LGFA side, who won the Connacht A title. Siofra Hession, Niamh McNeill, Shauna Walsh, Tara O’Brien, Emma Hough and Lily Murray will all be hoping to add camogie medals to those football honours.
“The logistics weren’t easy at the start of the year. Naturally all of these girls, they’re also key players for their clubs, they’re playing minor with their clubs, they’re playing with their schools, and then there was football.
“I felt like I was on the phone to Declan Walsh (Roscommon U-16 LGFA manager) all the time, and while we worked together very well, it wasn’t easy due to the sheer number of games these girls had to play,” acknowledged O’Brien.
“But it has come together well, it looks like we’ll have a full panel to pick from on Saturday, and that’s very important to us. We’ve used our full complement of subs in every game so far, and that doesn’t weaken us. We’ve a very strong panel, as opposed to having a few star individuals. Now we just need to make sure that we bring our A game to the final, or we’ll be under pressure,” he concluded.