Ladies GAA preview

Trinity Ladies begin their Giles Cup campaign against IT Sligo next Tuesday.

sport1After defeating an impressive NUI Maynooth side to win the Division 2 league for the first time this year, Trinity are optimistic going into the Giles Cup Championship. With NUIM recently promoted to the first division, O’Connor Cup, Trinity are in an excellent position coming into the first round.

Trinity can boast seven inter-county players including Amie Giles of Co. Westmeath, Aine Haberlin of Co. Laois, Caitriona Smith of Co. Cavan, Meabh Downey and Michelle Peel of Co. Meath, and Sarah McCaffrey and Nicole Owens of Co. Dublin.

Success is familiar to both Sarah McCaffrey and Nicole Owens who were part of the Dublin side that won the Aisling McGing Under 21 final last year as well as the Dublin panel that reached the TG4 Senior Championship All-Ireland Final in September last.

Davy Burke, the Trinity Ladies manager was part of the management team that took this impressive Dublin side to the Senior All-Ireland final. Caitriona Smith is no stranger to big games, having played for the Cavan team that took home the TG4 Intermediate All-Ireland Title in 2013.

Other than their county players, Trinity ladies have a very strong panel, with 20 players constantly competing for the coveted 15 starting positions. They have been training hard since September, keeping up the hard work over Christmas, in the gym and on the pitch alike, while not neglecting the weekly show in Coppers.

This panel includes Petra McCafferty who was part of the Termon side that took home the Tesco All-Ireland Ladies Senior Club title recently. The girls are not afraid of hard work, boasting the motto “Trinity Ladies – the hardest working team in Giles” and hope that this will show in their campaign, when they face IT Sligo on Tuesday.

The Connaught side will be favourites come Tuesday and have the home advantage. IT Sligo has just been relegated from the O’Connor Cup, and will be an experienced outfit. Among their many established players, Sligo can boast Geraldine McLaughlin, the star of the recent Tesco All-Ireland Ladies Senior Club Final. McLaughlin scored an impressive 22-27 in just six championship games leading her Donegal side, Termon, to All-Ireland success.

Trinity will face the tougher of the two Giles Cup groups. Following a two week respite, they will play St. Pat’s Drumcondra, who have just been promoted from the Lynch Cup, after winning this competition outright.

With victory still fresh on their minds, the teachers will not bow easily to their Dublin neighbours. Trinity will only have a week to recover before facing IT Carlow in the last leg of the group stages.

Perhaps the favourites in the competition, Carlow are an experienced side well used to the standard required to compete in the Giles Cup. Having reached the semi finals last year this side will have the confidence to get themselves over the line in close games. On the other side of the draw await University of Ulster Jordanstown, IT Tralee and Athlone IT, one of whom Trinity will hope to meet in the semi final.

Ladies GAA is a minority sport in Trinity, but its popularity is ever growing. To date, the success of this year’s side is certainly helping to build the profile of GAA in the university. On the back of winning the Division 2 League in November and the Lynch Cup back in 2013 this outfit are no strangers to success.

This year the Trinity Ladies are aiming to reach the Giles Cup weekend which is being hosted in Cork IT, where the semi finals and final will be played. Yet just how good this side actually are will be decided when TCD face Sligo next Tuesday. It is yet to be seen if Trinity Ladies are in fact the hardest working team in Giles. Stay tuned to find out.