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Spirit is key for Loughgiel in All-Ireland semi-final

By John Campbell

Published 30/01/2016

Leading lady: Loughgiel’s Una McNaughton will have big role
Leading lady: Loughgiel’s Una McNaughton will have big role

Loughgiel skipper Una McNaughton believes that the spirit and passion which took her side to victory in the Ulster Senior Camogie Championship final against Slaughtneil can be repeated against Galway and Connacht champions Killimor in tomorrow's All-Ireland semi-final at Clones (2pm).

The Antrim stars were good value for their 1-14 to 1-9 win over Slaughtneil but McNaughton, a tenacious defender, accepts that the team now face a much more difficult assignment.

"It was a great feeling to come out on top in the Ulster final but we know we have to push on from there," she stated.

"While we are delighted to be in the All-Ireland semi-final, we know this brings its own pressures but I think we have the spirit and the commitment to raise our game. To be honest, we will need to if we are to win."

The Loughgiel management team of Aidan McKeown, Mickey McFadden and Ciaran O'Connell have supervised an intense build-up to the semi-final during which the players' fitness and stamina levels have been brought to a new peak.

In addition to skipper McNaughton, Loughgiel will look to Caitrin Dobbin and Aisling McFadden to put scores on the board while Laura Connolly is a competent defender who collected the player of the match accolade in the Ulster final.

Charlene Campbell, Racquel McCarry and Lucia McNaughton are other key cogs in a side that has shown increased cohesion during a stirring championship journey that has embraced county and provincial titles.

Loughgiel vice-chairman John McKeown suggests that while Killimor are something of an unknown quantity, the fact that his club have acquired a winning habit should stand to them.

"These girls never know when they are beaten," said McKeown.

"They just keep going to the end. The opportunity to play in an All-Ireland club final will be a massive spur for them on Sunday and we are hoping that it will be a case of the last person to leave Loughgiel having the job of turning out the lights."

Belfast Telegraph

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