By Damian Dolan
De Cymru will make more history on Saturday when they run out in the final of the junior All-Britain camogie championship.
Wales’ first-ever camogie team, they’ve already made history. First game, first win, first final – the milestones have been coming thick and fast.
Now they’ve set their sights on bringing a first-ever camogie trophy back to South Wales, when they face London’s Tara in the final at Greenford.
“It’s a massive achievement; there isn’t a lot of camogie or hurling in Wales – we’re the first club there,” says Kyle Doyle, the team’s manager and the club’s founder.
“The team has only been training together for three and a half months.”
Doyle saw his side bounce back from an opening round defeat to Thomas McCurtain’s to book their place in the final by virtue of wins over London sides Croydon (W/O), Tara and Green Isle.
The game against East Londoners McCurtains was the team’s first-ever, and a momentous occasion in its own right.
De Cymru’s round 4 victory against Tara, played in London, saw them record a particularly impressive 3-15 to 2-6 scoreline, while their round 5 win over Green Isle was in effective a ‘winner-takes-all’ quarter-final clash.
Seasoned campaigners, Green Isle reached the junior final in 2020 and 2019, only to lose out to Fullen Gaels and Brothers Pearse respectively.
But it was De Cymru, who include former Tipperary inter-county footballer Caoimhe Condon in their ranks, who came out on top by 3-14 to 4-8 in Newport for a much-celebrated win.
It was a result that even got the approval of the Irish Consulate General in Cardiff, who took to Twitter to congratulate the team.
“It was a great game; we were winning 2-10 to 0-5 at half-time, and I just started to ring the changes. That didn’t help us, but my goal with the team is that everyone has to be involved,” said Doyle.
“They came back into it, but grit and determination won that game and we saw it out.’
Those three wins were enough then to take De Cymru into the final, with Tara also finishing with three victories to their name.
The Londoners emerged on the right side of a tough battle with Green Isle (3-5 to 3-2), while they also had impressive wins over Croydon (1-18 to 0-5) and McCurtains (4-10 to 2-2).
Doyle, who comes from Cork, previously managed St Barnabas in Nottingham before moving to Cardiff.
He set up De Cymru hurling club in June 2020 and the camogie team quickly followed on.
“I wanted to play a bit of hurling. I thought ‘surely there’s a bit of hurling [in Cardiff]”, but there wasn’t,” said Doyle.
So he took matters into his own hands and set up his own club.
“What started off as five or six lads turned into 20 lads, and then girls started coming out training with us. Before I knew what was going on I had a camogie club with about 30 girls.”
The camogie club draws its players mostly from Cardiff, with some also coming from Newport. They also have a few Welsh players in the team.
“We beat Tara quite convincingly when we played them in the championship at their ground, but Saturday’s final is going to be a different ball game,” says Doyle.