The 2022 Camogie All-Stars will be named in Croke Park on Saturday evening with Waterford players in line for the counties biggest ever haul.
All-Ireland Champions Kilkenny take prime position in the nominations of 36 players spread across 6 different counties. The Cats lead the charge with 11 nominees, Cork are next best with 10, while Waterford who lost to Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final can boast seven.
The Déise turned in their best championship in recent memory this year making it to Croke Park for the final four. It had been 63 years since a Waterford side contested a semi-final and while they may have fallen short against a better Cork side, the tone had been set that bigger and better things are to come from the squad.
The Derek Lyons' managed team have picked up nominations on every line of the pitch from goalkeeper to full forward.
Shot stopper Brianna O' Regan turned in a huge year between the sticks and is listed amongst the two goalkeepers who played in the All-Ireland final. The De La Salle stalwart continued county-standard performances when playing for her club - dramatically scoring a long-range free in the Munster club semi-final with Drom & Inch.
Fullback Iona Heffernan gets the nod alongside Kilkenny's Grace Walsh and Galway's Sarah Devlin. The Ferrybank defender was top the fore as Waterford saw their way past Limerick in the All-Ireland quarter-final. In the final group game with Clare Heffernan threw her body on the line to stop a Clare free from finding its way into the Waterford net.
Halfback Orla Hickey will be able to look back on what was a good year in the white and blue jersey. Beating Tipperary for the first time at senior level, reaching Croke Park and now being nominated for an All-Star all adds up to be a positive 2022. Having lost to Dublin in the opening championship fixture, the Déise offered the best possible response when they trashed Wexford in Walsh Park. Hickey chipped in with a goal that day on the way to a 3.18 to 0.9 thrashing of the Yellow Bellies.
Maybe one of the first names on the shortlist - Captain fantastic Loraine Bray. The Cappoquin dynamo was given the captaincy by Derek Lyons and filled those boots with ease. She stood tall throughout the league and championship looking like a player who was meant to lead from day one. She noticed two green flags in the Wexford demolition, she put three over the bar against Tipp and has been the driving force in the heart of midfield all year. While small in stature she has never been found wanting in the physical stakes and deservedly gets the nod not only as an All-Star, but is also in the mix for Camogie Player of the year. The captain faces tough competition in the overall competition however - she's up against Kilkenny's Miriam Walsh and Cork's Katrina Mackey.
De La Salle attacker Abby Flynn is one of three from her club to get the nod. Flynn made life hell for Cork in the All-Ireland semi, setting up Róísín Kirwan for Waterfords best chance of the game. Her goal in Thurles proved to be the pivotal score that sent the side on their way to that six-point win over Tipp. Flynn picked up two points in the All-Ireland semi-final despite being a massive injury worry for Derek Lyons ahead of throw-in.
It was very unlikely to see the All-Stars named without Beth Carton's name printed in bold letters on the sheet. The Waterford team simply would not be what they are without her in the side. Game after game she makes the difference and can often turn the tide when most needed. She was top scorer for the Déise in the All-Ireland championship this summer with 2 goals and 45 points. She also shot eight points in the famous win over Tipp, she followed up with 1.6 against both Clare and Limerick. This is the third time she has been nominated for an All-Star having already won two.
Rounding out the list is another previous All-Star winner in Niamh Rockett. The Kilmac native handed over the captain's armband to Bray this season but has offered even more in play than she did in previous years. Rockett sent six over the bar against Wexford, she notched 2 goals and a point against Limerick and sent two over the bar from play in the final group game with Clare.