Ahead of this weekend hugely anticipated Packie Kelly Senior Premier Final, we asked local experts to give their views on Saturdays decider. St Martins will be looking to complete a 4-in-a-row, having won their first of three back in 2017 overcoming Rathnure St Annes in a close encounter that day, who also made the title holders fight for their spot in this years final. Oulart The Ballagh, who boast many experience players who have also won numerous county titles along the way, will be looking for their first title since 2016.
We asked current Wexford Junior Manager Alan Brennan, All Star & All Ireland winner Claire O’Connor and current Wexford Senior camóg Laura Dempsey their thoughts on what is sure to be a close encounter this Saturday.
Looking back at this years championship the two form teams have made the final. Oulart had a comfortable win over Glynn Barntown in the semi final with 25 points to spare, but St.Martins were made to work hard for their 2 point win over Rathnure with a bit of experience winning it for them in the end. Both teams have excellent talent all over the field and a good game is expected. For St. Martins you have Mags Darcy, Sarah O’Connor, Amy Cardiff, Chloe Foxe and Linda Bolger to name a few, but they have vast experience from 1 to 15. On the Injury front Aoife O’Connor will be a big loss as she was flying in the earlier stages but a knee injury rules her out, and also the very experienced Lisa Bolger is a big loss with a long term shoulder injury.
For Oulart you have Karen Atkinson, Ciara Storey, Mary Lacey, Shelley and Stacey Kehoe and Ursula Jacob to name a few, they also have vast experience all over the field, and are very well balanced from 1 to 15, they have a clean bill of health going into this match and will definitely be up for this one. Having said that St. Martins will have to be favourites for this as they are chasing 4 in a row and will have to be still hurting from last years Leinster final defeat to St. Vincents. Its all to play for in this match and I think Oulart might just win out by the tightest of margins, they seem to be scoring freely this year, and getting most of there scores from play. They have been missing players the last few years, I think this year however, they have everyone back and will have learned from their mistakes of previous years so I’m going for Oulart to win by 2/3 points.
Verdict: Oulart The Ballagh by 2/3 points
County final day in Wexford and like any player I would love to be part of this very special occasion. I think there can be no doubt that Oulart and St. Martins are the two top teams in the county at present, despite Rathnure’s heroic semi-final display. Both teams are star laden and as we saw in last year’s final, there will be very little separating them at the end.
Much has been written about the brilliance of Úna, Ursula, Mary, Ciara Storey and the dynamic Kehoe twins, but the addition of young players like Anais Curran, Miria O’Dowd and Aoife Dunne has certainly re-energised the team and will make them very hard to beat.
The Martin’s for their part are worthy champions and have incredible talent within their ranks. Right throughout the field from the ever-dependable Mags D’Arcy, Sarah and Ciara O’Connor, Amy Cardiff, Chloe Foxe and Linda Bolger, they possess stars in every line. The loss of Aoife O’Connor will be a major blow however and could have a big bearing on the outcome.
Having experienced their good form and hunger in the semi-final, I will give Oulart a hesitant vote to come through on Saturday, even though they will go in as underdogs against a team that has won the last three championships.
Good luck to both teams and I’m sure we will have a great final (and maybe even a replay!)
Verdict: Oulart The Ballagh
Although the 2020 Championship campaign is the shortest in history, it didn’t deter both finalists from producing convincing, well rehearsed performances in the round robin stages of the championship.
Both Oulart and St. Martins have strong game plans where familiarity has been key to their fine performances on the path to the final. Oulart had a comprehensive win over an under performing Glynn Barntown in the semi final. St. Martins semi final on the other hand was a battle, ending with a 2 point victory over Rathnure.
St. Martins will have learned a lot about their own performance from that semi final and will need to resume to previous round robin performances for the final. It was in the last ten minutes of the semi final that they came in to their own with some trademark passages of play and score taking that has won them three consecutive club championships.
The chance to win four in a row now lies in their hands. It has already been achieved by Oulart in previous years.
Credit to Oulart’s scoring prowess and attacking nature in their semi final, they found each other very well, attacking with speed and finishing clinically. It was reminiscent of traditional Oulart forward line play. They will give the St.Martins defence a lot to think about, especially in the first ten minutes where Oulart like to build up early scores. St. Martins will need to be vigilant and start well.
Both teams know how to win and going for four in a row is no easy task for St. Martins. It would be a huge achievement. Oulart have a nice mix of youth and experience. If St. Martin’s defence can curtail the Oulart forwards, it will be a good days work done, enabling their youthful teammates elsewhere to enforce their usual attacking game. It could be the winning of another championship for them. Oulart may be the hungrier of the two teams with no win since 2016. On semi final performances, Oulart certainly gave a more polished performance.
These teams met last year in the final; twice! St Martin’s managed to squeeze a draw in the final and went on to win the replay. There is nothing between them. Every game takes on a life of its own and with two strong attacking teams, it promises to be a fantastic final. It could go either way, I honestly can’t call it.
Verdict: Just too close to call.
Action from Bellefield on Saturday will be live streamed*, along with the Junior ‘A’ decider going ahead at 1.00pm.
Wexford Camogie Junior ‘A’ Lilly Furlong Final
Rathgarogue Cushionstown v Rapparees
Wexford Camogie Senior Premier Final
Oulart The Ballagh v St Martins
*Both games will be streamed live via Wexford Camogie Youtube Channel. Links will be made available one hour before throw in.