It was seventh time lucky for Loughgiel Shamrocks last month when finally beat Slaughtneil in the AIB Ulster Senior Club Camogie final.
They had endured six losses in a row in the provincial decider against the Derry club; year after year of pain at the hands of a team they just couldn’t get past.
Little wonder then that their breakthrough victory sparked such wild celebrations. Loughgiel craved that Ulster title. Now it’s in the bag, their sights are set on Drom and Inch of Tipperary who they collide with in the All-Ireland semi-final in Ashbourne on Saturday lunchtime.
Midfielder Amy Boyle has recently completed a maths degree at Queen’s University Belfast but she admits the numbers weren’t adding up in an unbearably tense end to the Slaughtneil game.
“The last 10 minutes of that match felt like a half an hour!” she said “You were just expecting… because that’s what happened in previous year, Slaughtneil have just got over the line every year.
“They’re very good at coming from behind, and when they’ve been leading we’ve found it hard to catch them, so this year finally being able to get over the line… after the match I was interviewed and I couldn’t even tell you what I said. The relief was just amazing.
“It’s been exciting so far this week. It’s nice around the village, seeing the flags and stuff up. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in this position in camogie. It’s my first time getting this far so it is very exciting.”
“The hurlers have been there and done it. We’re trying to emulate it.”
Buoyed by their first taste of provincial glory since 2015, Loughgiel Shamrocks will be fully aware they require another massive performance to quench the firepower of Drom and Inch, who produced a blistering Munster final display to sink rivals Scariff Ogonnelloe.
The four-in-a-row Tipp champs stepped it up a gear in the second half of that match, with second-half sub and minor star Katie O’Dwyer landing three points to power them home.
Their experience, quality and depth makes them a formidable proposition, however Loughgiel are in a really positive place, driven by a burning ambition to emulate the achievements of the hurlers, who have twice been crowned All-Ireland champions, in 1983 and 2012.
“From the start of the year there’s been a good energy about it,” Boyle added.
“It’s hard to put it down to one thing. Every single person in training really put in the work. It’s the tightest it’s ever been for places and everything. We focused on getting through Antrim and then when we did, we had a lot of belief that we could get over the line in Ulster finally.
“The hurlers have been there and done it. We’re trying to emulate it. The support of the parish… they definitely have been getting behind the camogie players.
“We have had brilliant crowds at all our matches and I’m sure it’ll be the same thing in Ashbourne at the weekend. They’ll be there with their flags out in numbers I’m sure.”