Cork make it back to back titles after weathering a late Clare charge
It was back to back titles for Cork after they claimed the All-Ireland Minor A Camogie Championship when they registered a resilient victory over Clare on Saturday 27th April at a wet and windy MacDonagh Park, Nenagh.
Cork took full advantage of playing with the strong wind and raced into an eight point lead in as many minutes all via the stick work of full forward Clodagh Finn. Finn opened the scoring when she controlled a great ball in from Ciara O’Sullivan to slot over before converting three placed balls to put Cork four clear. After seven minutes Finn laid claim to a goal after getting the final touch on a probing ball in to shade it over the line before pointing from play to see Cork hold a commanding eight point lead.
It took Clare eight minutes to respond and when they did it came from the hardworking and impressive corner forward Lorna McNamara when she pointed a brace, one from play and one a free.
On 12, Player of the Match Fiona Keating struck for the first of a personal tally of five points from play when she fired over on the run. However, on the quarter mark Cork found themselves 10 clear when a probing ball from Emma Murphy bounced wickedly in front of Rachel Daly in the Clare goal to see Cork 2-06 to 0-02 ahead.
A minute later Murphy billowed the net when she raced through the defence to unleash a low shot to the bottom corner of Daly’s net to see Cork 13 clear. Two Keating points either side of a Finn placed ball had Cork 15 to the good 10 minutes from half time before a Keating point from close range was cancelled out by McNamara when she pointed a 25 metre free.
However, it was Finn who had the final say of the half when she struck over a 30 metre placed ball to see Cork head to the dressing room leading 3-11, Clare 0-03.
Upon the resumption Clare showed their intent and took full advantage of playing with the strong wind when inside 10 minutes they notched up 1-04 without reply. McNamara commenced the assault on the Cork goal when she fired over a free followed quickly after by a Sinéad McGee effort from play. On 35 Clare struck for their first goal when Robyn Conway blasted to the net giving Molly Lynch no chance in the Cork goal. Two more McNamara placed balls had the Cork lead cut to 10 with 40 minutes on the clock.
Cork responded with a brace courtesy of Isobella Sheehan and Finn to put 12 between the sides before McNamara struck over two placed balls either side of a well taken point from play to see the lead cut to 9 and 52 on the clock. Two minutes later Finn responded when she fired over a close range free to push Cork 10 clear.
Clare who displayed an immense resurrection in the second half maintained their persistence and returned 1-03 in the closing four minutes. On 58 McNamara blasted over a close range free before a Caoimhe Kelly long range free had the Cork lead cut to 9. Despite a late Keating point restoring the Cork lead to 10 Clare remained resolute. Two minutes into added time Finia O’Brien was at the end of a McNamara pass and she made no mistake when she blasted to the net to cut the deficit to six. However, Cork weathered the late Clare storm to defend their title on a score line of Cork 3-15, Clare 2-12.
Cork: M. Lynch Sarsfields, S. O’Keeffe Ballinora, M. Cotter Aghabullogue, A. O’Neill St. Finbarrs, H. Sexton Kilbrittain/Timoleague, C. Kingston Ballinascarthy, C. Dooley Ballinora, I. Sheehan Ballygarvan, S. Hurley Enniskeane, F. Keating Courcey Rovers, E. Murphy Glen Rovers (V. Capt.), C. O’Sullivan Newcestown, C. Coleman Na Piarsaigh, C. Finn Fr. O’Neills, E. Murphy Inniscarra.
Subs: A. Smith Aghada for E. Murphy (23), L. Wallace Midleton/St. Catherines for C. Coleman (51), O. Cremen Blarney for S. Hurley (51), T. Sheehan Enniskeane for C. O’Sullivan (51), L. Doyle Charleville for A. O’Neill (55).
Clare: R. Daly, G. Ryan, R. Minogue (c), M. Mescall, A. Russell, S. Daly, S. Ní Cheallaigh, S. McGee, C. Kelly, E. Cahill, G. Hickey, L. Daly, A. Ryan, R. Conway, L. McNamara.
Subs: C. Neylon for E. Cahill (21), F. O’Brien for A. Ryan (47), S. Lenihan for G. Hickey (59).
Cork: E. Murphy 2-00, C. Finn 1-09 (0-06f), F. Keating 0-05, I. Sheehan 0-01
Clare: R. Conway 1-00, F. O’Brien 1-00, L. McNamara 0-10 (0-07f, 0-0145), S. McGee 0-01, C. Kelly 0-01 (0-01f).
Referee: G. Donegan Dublin.
POTM – Fiona Keating