In preparation for their first ever AIB All Ireland intermediate camogie club final, Gailltír invited former Waterford manager, Derek McGrath to take a training session with the club.
As a manager, he was revered by Waterford players and fans alike and so it was no surprise that the Gailltír players were delighted to receive his input following their semi-final win over St Rynaghs of Offaly.
Corner-back with Gailltír, Claire Dunne, teaches alongside McGrath at De La Salle College and speaking at the AIB Club Finals media day, she revealed that her teammates benefited hugely from his experience.
“He’s a lovely fella, so down to earth and what he does, I don’t think he realises himself when he starts talking about hurling and camogie, the impact he makes on people. It’s great.
“He took a training session there, came along, helped us out and had a talk with us after. We’d take any advice from anyone, they have all the experience and this is our first time out so it’s just great to hear another voice.
“Our managers have put an awful lot of effort in this year for us, and since they came on board three years ago, so another voice is nice to have as well. He’s been here, he’s done it, he’s had the ups and the downs so it’s nice to hear another voice.
“It was great for the young girls to hear him and to see him because he’s been such a big part of Waterford hurling and club level, he’s a huge De La Salle man so it’s great.”
After suffering hurt in the All Ireland semi-final last year, Gailltír are determined to make their mark on this year’s final. The magnitude of the event, especially with Croke Park as the venue, brings a level of nerves with it but Dunne insisted that the team are managing their emotions ahead of Sunday’s game against Clonduff.
“The nerves are definitely there but it’s good nerves. I think with nerves, you’ll have them on the morning, you’ll have them before you go out but I think the beauty about camogie, hurling, any GAA sport, it’s not you individually, it’s a whole team so it calms your nerves.
“Everyone is going to be feeling nervous but once you’re out there and you’re out there together, I’m sure we’re all playing for each other. If the person beside you is doing 110 percent, you’re going to give it 120 percent. Once we’re out on the field together, we’ll hopefully do the job next Sunday.”
Gailltír’s appearance in the All Ireland final is the latest sign that camogie within Waterford is on the rise. The county reached the All Ireland quarter-final last year while Beth Carton became Waterford’s first ever All-Star recipient in November.
Dunne maintained that the clubs are driving the progression of Waterford camogie.
“There’s huge competition down there, I think the effort that Waterford are putting into camogie at the moment is phenomenal. But it comes from the clubs, there’s huge clubs down there, it was such a tight season for us. Saint Anne’s were phenomenal, De La Salle are coming up through, Lismore Cappoquin, they’re just a phenomenal side, all of them.
“Anyone who is putting the working in from underage right up to senior camogie in Waterford, they’re doing a great job, you can see it and people are reaping the rewards.”