Congratulations to the Senior camogie team who beat Rathnure in the Co semi final 2-8 to 2-6. Co Final here we come!
We were blessed with fine weather for Saturday’s Senior semi-final against Rathnure in St. Patrick’s Park, with the sun scorching down as the players arrived in their t-shirts ready to do battle. And a battle it was, with our squad showing their never-say-die spirit as they advanced in style to a meeting with Oulart-The Ballagh on October 12th.
The first-half was a tentative affair with a large quota of line balls which disrupted the pattern of play. Our girls didn’t perform to the levels they are capable of and this ensured that Rathnure stayed in the game despite their own difficulties in locating the posts. Significantly, we still led by 0-4 to 0-3 at the break and this gave us the impetus to drive on and take over in the second period.
Jackie Quigley had given Rathnure an early lead before Kate Kelly equalised from a free in the third minute. Deirdre McMahon put us ahead with a neat point which was cancelled out by Marie Morrissey, and we edged into a 0-3 to 0-2 lead when Kate hit the target from play in the 13th minute.
Hazel O’Leary replaced Anne-Marie Kelly for three minutes as a blood substitute when the latter sustained a cut to the shin, and we extended our advantage to double scores in the 25th minute with the best score of the half. Michelle Murphy called for a short free and Kate Kelly duly obliged, with our corner-forward catching the sliothar, taking one look at the posts and firing it over the black spot: simple but very effective.
An Olivia Hearn point reduced arrears to 0-4 to 0-3 at the break as we ended the half with our first two of just four wides overall from Sharron Daly and Kate Kelly (free). We had one chance of a goal when a Michelle Hearne effort was well saved, while Sandy Carr had to be alert to bat a handpass to safety at the other end. The discipline of our backs under pressure was exemplary, with no score conceded from a free.
The interval gave everyone a chance to re-group and focus again on the vital half-hour to come. We resumed with an early Kate Kelly miss from a difficult free from long range on the wing before Rathnure laid down the gauntlet as Evelyn Quigley and Claire O’Connor put them into a 0-5 to 0-4 lead. Our response was superb though as Kate levelled from a placed ball before Michelle Hearne worked her way through for a handpassed goal in the 38th minute.
Rathnure had no answer to our power and poise at this stage, and a hat-trick of points from Kate, two from play and the middle effort from a ’45, underlined our superiority as we raced 1-8 to 0-5 clear early in the last quarter. Eimear O’Connor finally ended a 14-minute barren spell for Rathnure when she pointed a free, and a long spell of frenetic, scoreless play followed before we hit the jackpot.
Once again Michelle Hearne applied the finishing touch with her right hand after another sweeping move, and we were ahead by 2-8 to 0-6 with five minutes of normal time to go. Tiredness set in after a herculean effort up to this point, and we also retreated a little too deep while Rathnure were the beneficiaries of some generous refereeing decisions too.
The nett result was that we had a few anxious moments in added time, starting when Eimear O’Connor goaled direct from a free. Then Evelyn Quigley bulldozed her way through for a handpassed goal, but there was no time for the puck-out to be taken and we had prevailed on a 2-8 to 2-6 scoreline.
The concession of those two goals will occupy our minds before the final, and of course we also missed a couple of gilt-edged second-half chances ourselves. On such thin margins are games won and lost, but in the overall analysis we were the far superior team and fully deserved to march on to a third final appearance in four years. Well done to everyone on a marvellous effort, and let’s keep the momentum going now for the next fortnight. St. Ibar’s abú!
Team: Sandy Carr; Ciara Donohoe (capt.), Leona Tector, Maeve Quill; Fiona Cullen, Bridget Curran, Sharron Daly; Aine Lacey, Katrina Parrock; Anne-Marie Kelly, Kate Kelly (0-6, 2 frees, 1 ’45), Shelly Doyle; Deirdre McMahon (0-1), Michelle Hearne (2-0), Michelle Murphy (0-1). Subs. – Hazel O’Leary for A.M. Kelly (temp.), O’Leary for Doyle, Niamh Walsh for McMahon, also Mary Cullen, Ciara Neville, Catherine Doyle, Lisa Quill, Eadaoin Fitzgerald, Róisín Tobin, Ceara O’Brien, Caroline Curran, Therese Sheil, Niamh Potter, Mag Kelly, Niamh Doyle.