Littlewoods ireland division 1 camogie league relegation play-off
Dublin v Waterford, Saturday, 2pm, St Brendan’s Park, Birr
By Aaron Dunne
St Jude’s star Hannah Hegarty was honoured to be voted in as captain of the Dublin senior camogie team by her team-mates once again last week – but her joy will be short-lived if her team can’t pull out the win the need to secure Division 1 survival on Saturday.
The Dubs face Waterford in a relegation play-off in St Brendan’s Park in Birr, in a game that will have double importance as they are also set to clash with their Déise counterparts again later in the summer after last weekend’s Championship draw pitted them alongside Cork and Down.
“We’re looking forward to it now,” Hegarty told the Dublin Gazette ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash.
“Obviously the results that we’ve gotten so far haven’t been what we’d want. But with new management coming in this year it was always going to be a process of building as the year went on.
“We’re going in the right direction, despite what the results may say. We have Waterford in the Championship too, the draw was done there on Sunday, so we know we’ll be meeting them again later in the year.
“Cork will be very strong obviously, Down are a bit of an unknown, they’re in the Division 2 league final, so they’re definitely going to be strong contenders in the group.
“Waterford have been in quarter-finals and semi-finals in the years leading up to now so we’ll definitely be expecting a tough challenge against them as well.
“I think it’ll be a tough enough group. A lot of people might look at it and think Cork would be favourites, and that the rest of us will just be battling it out for second, but I think it’s going to be a very tough group.”
The top team in each of the three groups, will qualify – the two best going straight into a semi-final and the third group winner and three runners-up heading into quarter-finals. But knowing that they will face Waterford again down the road when the real business start will be extra motivation.
“Absolutely. If it wasn’t a relegation game you might be hiding your cards a little bit in the lead up to Championship, but both teams have everything to play for to avoid going down to Division 2.
“So I think it will be as competitive as a Championship game.
“We were allowed fans back last weekend, and I didn’t really think it would make much of a difference, but it was absolutely fantastic hearing the cheers from people in the stands. I think we’re allowed 100.
“It had gotten very strange, just walking straight into the dressing room and not talking to anybody after a game. It’s been a bit strange not having anybody there.
The game will be livestreamed on the Waterford camogie website, an innovation that Hegarty believes has been great for the game’s exposure.
“It’s been fantastic. One good thing about the lockdown and not being allowed have supporters at the game has brought for us is that there has been so much more coverage of camogie through the livestreams.
“I hope that will continue, as it just makes it so much more accessible for people who can’t travel to games.”
Caption: Dublin and St Jude’s camogie player Hannah Hegarty pictured at the launch of the Go-Ahead Dublin GAA Leagues and Championships at Parnell Park in Dublin. Go-Ahead Ireland are proud to announce their continued dedication to the community by means of partnering with Dublin GAA for the next three years.
Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile