Westmeath Show Grit To Overcome Cork and Top Group 1
Cork and Westmeath played out a gritty and tenacious game at a cold, wet and blustery Castle Road on Sunday last in the final round of Group 1 fixtures in the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 2. The fixture was to determine who topped the table and it was to be a well taken Pamela Greville goal that proved the difference between the sides on the day in order for Westmeath to secure the top spot.
Playing against the strong swirling wind it was Cork who raced into a two point lead inside four minutes courtesy of Rachel O’Shea and Katelyn Hickey with two fine efforts. Hannah Core responded for Westmeath when she slotted over on the run. However another Cork brace from Hickey and a well taken Rachel O’Callaghan point had Cork three ahead on 11.
Westmeath rallied, and with moves involving Greville, Core and Mairead McCormack, who were proving lively in attack, registered three unanswered points to level proceedings. Caoimhe McRossan split the posts when Megan Dowdall popped her a handpass, Mairead McCormack fired over from a superb Core layoff before the influential Greville fired over a 20 metre placed ball to tie up the sides on 17.
Greville pushed Westmeath one clear on 18 with a tight angled 25 metre free before Keeva McCarthy cancelled it out on 21 when she fired over a placed ball from 40 metres. Finola Neville restored a slim lead for Cork when she split the posts on 23 to see Cork 0-06 to 0-05 to the good. However, a great piece of play between Core and Greville saw Greville shoot low past Amy Lee when Core put her through on goal with a well-timed handpass to put Westmeath in the lead for the second time in the game. When Greville pointed a 25 metre free on 29 for Westmeath she ensured they took a three point advantage to the dressing room on a scoreline of Cork 0-06, Westmeath 1-06.
On the resumption Hickey and Greville exchanged points before a brace from McCarthy, one from play and one from a placed ball, cut the deficit to just one on 43. Greville fired over a 45 metre free before McCarthy struck from range to see Westmeath once again hold the lead by the slimmest with 57 on the clock. Cork enjoyed some prime possession in attack but failed to convert their chances to scores, however, it was Westmeath who remained resolute and two late Greville placed balls from 35 and 25 metres respectively put three between the sides and ensured Westmeath took the points and secured their place on top of Group 1 after the concluding game of the group stages.
Both teams have secured their semi-final places, and the opposition remains to be confirmed between Kilkenny, Tipperary and Dublin who are all within a point of each other at the top of Group 2 with their final group games down for decision next weekend.
Cork: A. Lee Na Piarsaigh, R. Kileen Ballyhea, K. Barry Sarsfields, N. O’Callaghan Sarsfields, L. Callanan Glen Rovers, M. Lynch Newcestown, K. McCarthy Aghabullogue, A. Kavanagh Inniscarra, S. Buckley Ballincollig (acting capt.), F. Neville St. Catherines, K. Hickey Blackrock, R. O’Shea Carrigaline, K. McCarthy St. Finbarrs, R. O’Callaghan St. Catherines, C. Collins Ballinhassig
Subs: J. Barry Bride Rovers for M. Lynch (HT), M. Lynch for K Barry (42, inj), C. Sugrue Ballinascarthy for C. Collins (46), K. Cullinane Fr. O’Neills for A. Kavanagh (46).
Westmeath: A. Weir, S. King, M. Scally, R. Scally, A. Higgins, F. Leavy, A. Cully, S. McGrath, M. Scally, M. McCormack (c), C. McRossan, D. McGrath, H. Core, P. Greville, M. Dowdall.
Subs: Sheila McGrath for Sandra McGrath (37), O. Glynn for C. McRossan (41).
Cork: K. McCarthy 0-04 (0-02f), K. Hickey 0-03, F. Neville, R. O’Shea & R. O’Callaghan 0-01 each
Westmeath: P. Greville 1-07 (0-05f, 0-0145), M. McCormack, C. McRossan & H. Core 0-01 each
Referee: John McDonagh, Galway