Drom’s Eimear McGrath gets to the ball first ahead of Lily Duggan

Drom hope for better preparation ahead of final

By Thomas Conway

Windswept and bleak, The Ragg wasn’t exactly a picturesque setting last Saturday, and the game which unfolded was unceremonious and harsh, but that won’t concern Drom & Inch.

The Tipperary champions fulfilled their objective, emerging as victors following a gritty encounter which forced them to play hardball in testing conditions. The run-in to this game was also testing. Manager Pat Ryan made no secret of the fact that Drom, like virtually every other team, school, and workplace, found themselves mired by Covid-related problems in recent weeks, hampering their preparations and making it almost impossible to assemble a full group of players.

“Like every club in the country, we had Covid issues and some of the girls missing,” he revealed.

“As a group we couldn't train together, today was the first game we've played since the Sarsfields game in December. But the fight in those girls is just incredible. I'm so, so proud of every one of them."

Ryan has consistently praised the spirit of his side, expressing pride after more or less every game over the past couple of months. You can see why. Although Newcastle West deserve credit for their work-rate and endeavour, it was clear from early on that Drom were more refined as a camogie team. Their first three scores were gems, combining slick stick-work with superb movement, rounded off by some clinical finishing.

With conditions deteriorating and the wind picking up pace, that type of game was never going to be sustainable in the long-run, but Ryan still felt his side could have utilised possession more intelligently in the second-half. They allowed the game to descend into a series of rooks and scraps, which doesn’t suit their general style of play. It’s an area which the side will be keen to work on ahead of the Munster Final, but they have the youth and the experience to do so, as Ryan noted.

"We have the quality inside in our forward line. We know that, but we have to get the ball in there quicker,” he added.

“We seemed to be living off rucks for a good bit of the game - instead of opening the play up and not putting ourselves under pressure in that second-half. But as I said, from one to fifteen, we were back there defending. We had some of the younger girls coming on, girls that were only playing minor last year, now getting their chance in a Munster semi-final. It's great for everyone."

Squad-depth could become particularly important over the next few weeks. Drom’s Munster Final opponents, Scariff-Ogonelloe, are young, capable, and highly ambitious. They denied Drom a Munster title back in 2019, edging them in the decider.

Both clubs have now tasted provincial glory, and both will be eager to take it a step further, having watched Oulart the Ballagh lift the Bill & Agnus Carroll Cup last month. Whichever team triumphs will still have a steep task on their hands, with sides such as Sarsfields and Oulart likely to feature in the All-Ireland series. First things first though. Expect a battle on January 22nd.