It was half time during the All Ireland Senior Camogie Championship 2017 and an action-packed final round of the Squad Goals challenge was taking place.
With a dominant display of accuracy in the camogie skills competition, it was the Déise side, Gailltír, that would take the win against the Tribeswomen, Shamrocks - exacting revenge for their county’s loss in the Hurling Final the week before. In doing so, the team claimed the €8,000 prize for their club. It was a deserving end to an exciting competition that has caught the imagination of camogie clubs throughout the country.
Now in its second year, Squad Goals launched back in early summer with great interest and support from Eoghan McDermott at 2FM and Wexford Camogie legend, Mags D’Arcy. The opportunity for young camogie players to test their skills, and work together to win €8000 for their club, was a real driving factor for all who entered, liked and shared the competition.
Through the support of the Camogie Association and Her.ie, there was phenomenal interest in this year’s event with a record 52 video entries. The judges whittled the 52 teams down to a top 10, to go forward to the public vote. No easy task due to the high standard of entries. Finally, though, the teams were chosen. They were:
St. Rynaghs, Thomastown, Shamrocks, Gailltír, Rathcoffey, Straffan, An Rinn, Ballygarvan, Clonkill, Kilkormac
Once the online polls opened, there were over 36,000 votes cast. Whilst some teams received massive support, the voting was otherwise evenly spread throughout the remaining teams. With the polls closing in mid-July, four teams emerged from the furious voting battle. Coming out on top and going through to the Squad Goals semi-finals on July 21st, were:
The semi-finals took place in Nowlan Park and it was a busy day for the girls (and their supporters!). First up was a warm up led by Wexford Camogie legend, Mags D’Arcy who made time to chat with each girl and offer advice and training tips. Then the girls got to meet with 2FM’s Eoghan McDermott and take part in some interviews as part of a new Liberty Insurance TV Ad.
After some rest and recuperation, the girls took to the pitch to compete against each other in three challenges:
1) Squad Skills
2) Squad Strength
3) Squad Goals
Squad Skills challenged players on their skills with the sliotar and hurl, asking them to show off their freestyle skills over the course of 60 seconds.
Squad Strength saw players from the two different teams compete against each other to hit the sliotar the farthest down the field. Individual scores were then totalled for the best combined team score.
Squad Goals, the final challenge, was one of accuracy. Here the players were asked to work together as a team to hit targets on the custom-made target sheet across the goals in Nowlan park.
Gailltír showed their prowess and talent from the off and claimed the first spot in the final by dominating in the first two challenges. They pushed hard in the final challenge but it was the Galway girls, Shamrocks, who claimed the second spot in the final.
The final itself saw the teams compete in front of a supportive crowd of over 20,000 fans at the Liberty Insurance Camogie Championship Final. Although there can be only one winner, it was a memorable day for both teams who did themselves and their clubs proud.
Everyone enjoyed the day in front of their family and friends, and took away new friends, new skills and memories for life.
Squad Goals will return bigger and better for 2018, so keep an eye on our social media pages where you’ll find more information on the competition early next summer.