Galway camogie players Shauna Healy and Orlaith McGrath ecstatic after All-Star success

By Tommy O’Callaghan

Shauna Healy and Orlaith McGrath, Galway’s latest All-Stars, have expressed their delight after being named on the 2020 All-Star Camogie team. In a virtual ceremony held on Saturday, Healy and McGrath were named at right-corner back and right-corner forward, respectively, for their exploits in the 2020 Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship.

Shauna Healy in action for Galway. Photo by Don Soules.

It was Healy’s second All-Star award in succession. She was also nominated for the Player of the Year award, which was ultimately won by Kilkenny’s Denise Gaule. As for McGrath, she returned to the Galway fold in 2020 after a year out in 2019 to clinch her first All-Star award.

“It was lovely to receive the second one,” Healy told Galway Pulse.

“There was great excitement in the house – a couple of glasses of prosecco – it was a quiet night after that but everyone was delighted. On the back of losing the All-Ireland, it was a nice accolade to get and it was a lovely evening. I’m so thrilled with the award,” she said.

The 2020 Camogie All-Star Awards ceremony was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The event was streamed through the Camogie Association’s YouTube and Facebook pages, with recipients tuning in remotely. Certainly, a different set-up to the usual red-carpet vibe.

“The glitz and the glam is just one part of it. We had the ceremony on the laptop and it was hooked up to the TV.  It’s really just enjoying the moment, you know, after the tough year we’ve had with COVID. It was just nice to receive it.

“We saved a fortune as well, so it wasn’t too bad,” joked Healy.

The corner-back had another outstanding championship in 2020 – this time being nominated for player of the year. Healy said it was not necessarily a personal target at the start of the year to register a second All-Star in succession, it was a case of just putting in the hard work.

“My intention is always to try and better myself and better the season from before. My motto is really ‘keep the head down and keep ploughing away’. My mother would say: ‘what’s meant for you won’t pass you’. That’s the way I go through life I suppose; I just kick on and hope for the best,” she said.

Healy received her first All-Star off the back of winning the All-Ireland in 2019. This time around, she was a runner-up. Naturally, the joys of winning an All-Ireland with Galway tops the priority list, and anything that follows in terms of personal accolades is a bonus.

“Obviously with 2019, coming off the back of winning the All Ireland, it was just the cherry on top really. With 2020, losing the All-Ireland, we were bitterly disappointed and we’re still carrying around a bit of hurt after it. At the end of the day the All Ireland is the main goal but anything after that is a bonus,” said Healy.

Orlaith McGrath was also named in the right corner on Saturday evening, but in the full forward line.

Orlaith McGrath in action for Galway. Photo by Don Soules.

Making her senior debut in 2012, she missed the 2015 championship after suffering a cruciate ligament injury, which saw Galway get to the All-Ireland final, losing to Cork that year. She took a year out in 2019, the year Galway won the All Ireland, but came back in 2020 and played a pivotal role in Galway’s pursuit to reclaim the O’Duffy Cup.

“I was delighted,” said the Sarsfield forward on winning her first All-Star award.

“I’m very privileged to have received that sort of accolade considering the calliber of players that were on the 15. It’s a nice finish on a personal level and delighted to get it and privileged to accept it,” she said.

After being absent for Galway’s triumph in 2019, McGrath was focused on getting back onto the Galway panel and reclaim the All-Ireland. Similar to Healy, McGrath said it was about putting in the hard work for the team and seeing what comes after that.

“Personally, I think the main goal you always have is to perform to the best of your ability and do your best for the team and give it 100 per cent. The main goal is to win an All-Ireland. Galway have always been in with a decent shot of that. Going into the 2020 season, we were fortunate enough to play in the first place,” she said.

All-Star awards are not new to the McGrath family. Orlaith has followed her father, Michael ‘Hopper’ and sister, Niamh, in bringing the prestigious accolade home.

“There hasn’t been too much of a reaction at home,” McGrath quipped.

“We didn’t get too excited because Dad and Niamh have been there. It’s a nice accolade to have and it’s a nice achievement and milestone for anyone’s career. It’s a nice one to add to the collection.”

2020 Camogie All-Stars:

  1. Áine Slattery (Tipperary)
  2. Shauna Healy (Galway)
  3. Claire Phelan (Kilkenny)
  4. Mary Ryan (Tipperary)
  5. Hannah Looney (Cork)
  6. Karen Kennedy (Tipperary)
  7. Davina Tobin (Kilkenny)
  8. Chloe Sigerson (Cork)
  9. Grace Walsh (Kilkenny)
  10. Niamh Rockett (Waterford)
  11. Orla Cronin (Cork)
  12. Denise Gaule (Kilkenny)
  13. Orlaith McGrath (Galway)
  14. Miriam Walsh (Kilkenny)
  15. Anne Dalton (Kilkenny)

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