Sarsfields second half resurgence knocks defending champions off their throne
Defending champions Inniscarra succumbed to the persistence of Sarsfields who at one stage trailed by a margin of 12 points to resurrect a comeback and shade it by the slimmest. Indeed Sarsfields returned 3-06 in the second period in contrast to Inniscarra’s three points and it was their determination in returning scores that witnessed Sars topple Inniscarra from their mantel at the first time of asking in the 2017 Championship.
It was Inniscarra who were quickest off the mark when they racked up 1-03 inside the opening five. Roaming the half forward line, Joanne Casey slotted over two points in quick succession in the first minute. A Casey 45 metre free was doubled on by Rebecca Keane from the edge of the square to register their opening goal before Treasa McCarthy split the posts three minutes later. A brace from Sars between the fifth and seventh minute through Clare Mullins and Edel Lonergan saw Sars give a tentative response. Keane and Lucy Allen exchanged points before an Emer Farrell 45 metre free brought Sars to within three on 13. Casey slotted over after a Dilworth pass picked her out on 15, before Maeve McCarthy made a strong run on the wing to slot over on 16 to see the score at 1-08 to 0-05. On 17 Allen cut the deficit to two after she collected a pass from O’Callaghan before Casey cancelled it out a minute later. However, Inniscarra doubled their lead on 18 when a Casey long ball into the danger area drifted over Molly Lynch in the Sars goal to see Inniscarra 2-06 to 0-06 to the good. Three unanswered Inniscarra points within two minutes through Dilworth, McCarthy and Casey saw Inniscarra go nine clear with eight minutes to the break, however, Dilworth was to pounce for goal on 25 when she slotted past Lynch after an initial save from a Sheehan effort. With Sars trailing by 12 five minutes from half time they were denied two goal attempts, however, they registered an Allen point on 30 to see them trail 3-09 to 0-07 at half time.
McCarthy got Sars on the board three minutes after the restart before Farrell slotted over a 45 metre free on 36 to see them trail by nine. At the other end Keane drilled over from close range on 38 before Sars attacked again and some good linking play saw Allen point on 42 followed by a Mullins effort on 46 that shaded the crossbar to register a point for Sars. Casey pointed Inniscarra’s penultimate point with a 45 metre free on 47 before two minutes later shooting over a stylish point to complete their haul of 3-12 for the game. From this point on Sars laid siege to the Inniscarra defence, however, it was to take until the 54th minute for them to register their first of three late goals after much attacking grit. McCarthy and Mullins blasted over from close range on 49 and 53 to cut the deficit to eight before Michelle Barry handpassed to the net after catching a Farrell 25 metre free into the danger area. With the lead now down to five and six remaining the crowd were subjected to a tantalising end in which Sars goaled on 59 after the impressive Niamh O’Callaghan passed to Farrell who off loaded to Allen, and a Mullins strike also found the net after another Farrell pass set her up on 60 for Sars to hold out and shade it by one to book their place in round 2 on a scoreline of Inniscarra 3-12, Sarsfields 3-13.
Inniscarra: S. Walsh, M. Buckley (capt.), E. Kingston, R. Quigley, C. Looney, R. Buckley, K. O’Mahony, A. Kavanagh, A. Sheehan, R. Keane, E. Looney, J. Casey, T. McCarthy, N. Dilworth, J. Burke
Subs: A. Dineen for C. Looney (49).
Sarsfields: M. Lynch, C. O’Sullivan, K. Barry, N. O’Callaghan, E. Lonergan, E. Murphy (capt.), M. Mullins, H. Herlihy, C. Holland, M. Barry, E. Farrell, K. Lyons, C. Mullins, L. Allen, M. McCarthy.
Subs: R. Morgan for K. Lyons (HT).
Inniscarra: J. Casey 1-07 (0-0145), R. Keane 1-02, N. Dilworth 1-01, T. McCarthy 0-02
Sarsfields: L. Allen 1-04, C. Mullins 1-03, M. Barry 1-00, M. McCarthy 0-03, E. Farrell 0-02 (0-0245), E. Lonergan 0-01
Referee: Cathal Egan, Glen Rovers