For Niamh Kilkenny, 2019 was a year like no other.

She welcomed in Christmas with League and All-Ireland senior camogie winners' medals, a player of the match accolade from a thrilling final in Croke Park an all star and the ultimate 2019 player of the year award.

"Looking back now it’s still hard to put it into words - it was everything I’d ever worked for."

In September, Galway had claimed back the O'Duffy Cup with a six-point victory over Kilkenny to secure the title for the first time since 2013.

Captain Sarah Dervan recalls the lead up to the game: "We always knew we had the players but that bit of self doubt always crept in. We have a savage management team behind us who really push us. They demand only the best."

"Our semi-final win over Cork was hugely important. It was a tense affair, but we knew we had to be calm and composed when it would matter most."

As finals go, last year’s decider couldn’t really have worked out any better for the Tribeswomen.They scored early and often and had a comfortable cushion at the break leading the Cats by 3-07 to 0-10.

Niamh Kilkenny, who dominated the centre-field clashes, never doubted the potential her side possessed.

"The goals settled us down, that inside forward line with Ailish O’ Reilly and Niamh Hannify, there are no better women to get you a goal or two and they both delivered on the biggest stage of all."

Kilkenny were appearing in their fourth final in a row, and hoping to avoid a third defeat in succession. They didn't go down without a fight and came more into the game in the second half.

"They play that fast running game and wanted to dictate the pace in the second half so it was up to myself and Aoife (Donoghue) in the middle allied with our half forward line dropping deep to counter act them," said Kilkenny.

Ann Downey’s side reeled off seven of the first eight scores in the second half and at one point had the gap down to just two points - but Galway responded in style with Kilkenny firing over some crucial scores. 

Those three first-half goals proved crucial as the Leinster champions came up just short yet again: Galway 3-14 Kilkenny 0-17

Attention out west has already turned to defending their All Ireland title but the many unknowns linger in the breeze.

"An autumn or winter championship with the inclement weather might not sound that appetising to some but the GAA is such a big part of our lives and not playing at present only makes the love, the hunger and the want - even more."

Niamh Kilkenny may look at back those memories from last year with a degree of satisfaction but it only adds to the desire for fresh ones - whenever that opportunity might come.

Watch all of the Camogie senior finals from 2010-2019 on the RTÉ Player