by Sarah Leahy, Munster PRO
AIB All-Ireland Club Championship, Munster Senior Final
A superior Burgess/Duharra side added a first Munster Senior Club title to their collection with a ten point win over Inniscarra built on a solid team performance in front of a large crowd in Cahir on Saturday 12th November.
Jenny Grace opened the scoring for Burgess/Duharra with a long range free before the Kennedy’s combined in the full forward line with Amy finishing the move by slotting over the bar. Joanne Casey pointed two frees in the opening ten minutes to keep Inniscarra in touch, but the Tipperary champions defence were performing exceptionally well snuffing out any Inniscarra chances.
On 18 minutes, a long Caoimhe Maher clearance dropped into the half forward line to Amy Kennedy who in turn fed Eimear McDonnell, the veteran forward showing a deadly turn of pace to leave three Inniscarra defenders in her wake before coolly finishing to the back of the net. Eventual player of the match Jenny Grace added three more frees in the half, along with an excellent team score pointed by Ciara McKeogh extending their lead.
Inniscarra captain Joanne Casey, who tried hard all day to take the challenge to Burgess/Duharra, pointed another free for the Cork champions, who had beaten All Ireland champions Milford in their county final, leaving the half time score 1-7 to 0-3.
The first fifteen minutes of the second half were a dogged affair, with Inniscarra trying to gain possession and pick off a few scores needed to bring them back into the match. Jenny Grace and Joanne Casey swapped points from frees, scoring three each, with Tipperary senior star Grace securing a lot of ball at centre forward Inniscarra moved Rena Buckley, who headed to the Ladies Football All Stars after the game, to centre back to negate her threat.
The Tipperary backs, with Tishy O’Halloran and Caoimhe Maher prominent, made a number of vital interceptions and were playing intelligent ball to their forwards. Inniscarra could not find the points from play they desperately sought, and needed a goal to narrow the gap somewhat. Joanne Casey and Aileen Sheehan made a number of drives at the Burgess/Duharra goal in the final quarter, but to no avail.
The game was ended as a contest with minutes remaining, where Gemma Grace cleared the ball downfield to the hand of Eimear McDonnell who took off on another mazy run committing defenders before handpassing to Tara Kennedy who handpassed to the net.
The game ended on a scoreline of 2-10 to 0-6, and on this performance, the Burgess/Duharra team will have one eye on the All Ireland final, with the semi final to take place after Christmas.
Burgess-Duharra: Ciara Holohan, Amanda Egan, Gemma Grace, Elaine King, Maeve Maloney, Tishy O’Halloran, Úna Quigley, Ciardha Maher, Caoimhe Maher, Ciara McKeogh (0-1), Jenny Grace (captain, 0-8, 0-8 frees), Ruth Barry, Amy Kennedy (0-1), Eimear McDonnell (1-0), Tara Kennedy (1-0). Subs: Áine Gillespie for Úna Quigley, Laura Reid for Ruth Barry.
Inniscarra: Sinéad Ní Riain, Mary Buckley, Liz Hayes, Rebecca Quigley, Rosie O’Mahony, Caitlin Looney, Aileen Sheehan, Rena Buckley, Aoife Kavanagh, Rebecca Keane, Erin Looney, Laura Brennan, Treasa McCarthy, Niamh McCarthy, Joanne Casey (captain, 0-6, 0-6 frees). Subs: Aisling O’Reilly for Laura Brennan, Aoife Dineen for Treasa McCarthy, Claire Cronin for Mark Buckley, Naoise Lombard for Erin Looney, Sheila Walsh for Rebecca Keane.
Referee: Philip Dee (Limerick)
AIB All-Ireland Club Championship, Munster Intermediate Final
A late long range point from multiple All Ireland Poc Fada winner Patricia Jackman ensured the AIB Munster Intermediate Club Championship title would head to Waterford for 2016. In a thrilling battle, the Deise champions Gailltír produced a much improved second half display to take control of the game having been behind by three points at the interval.
Grace O'Brien, a key figure all day for a young Nenagh side, traded early points with Jackman at the start of the game before some good defending by goalkeeper Sarah Quigley and corner back Ruth Hassett snuffed out a couple of Gailltír goal opportunities.
Roisin Flood added a point from the wing before the game's opening goal came from Grace O'Brien, who followed up the rebound after her initial shot rattled the crossbar.
O'Brien and Jackman exchanged frees with Aine Lyng and Annie Glavey also contributing on the scoreboard from the half forward line to reduce the Gailltír deficit.
On the stroke of half time, Caroline Browne secured possession for Nenagh and played a nice one-two with Grace O'Brien before emphatically finishing to the net to give her side a three point advantage at half time, having played with a slight breeze.
Gailltír burst out of the traps after the interval with the breeze to their backs with a point from the hardworking Aine Lyng before Jackman rifled an unstoppable penalty to the roof of the net on 34 minutes.
A further free from Lyng and two from play from Jackman followed, and suddenly the Deise girls were four points up midway through the second half. Nenagh were struggling to get a foothold in the game, when substitute Meabh Coffey fed Grace O'Brien whose shot from distance found the back of the net to bring the Tipperary champions back into the contest.
Jackman fired over another long range free which kept Gailltír three points ahead, and with six minutes to go Eire Og's Ciara McGrath hit a hopeful long range free which was again finished to the net by Grace O'Brien.
In a very exciting final few minutes Jackman and O'Brien traded points, O'Brien's of particularly high quality out on the wing, before deserving player of the match Jackman again found herself in the right position in their last attack to fire over the winner.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Sarah Quigley, Ruth Hassett, Aileen Duggan, Rachel Maher, Zoey Grattan, Hazel McAuliffe, Alanna Morris, Rachel O’Connor, Michelle Collins (0-1), Aisling O’Brien, Ciara McGrath, Eimear Ryan, Caroline Browne (1-0), Grace O’Brien (captain, 3-4, 0-2 frees), Louise Hickey. Subs: Maeve Coffey for Aisling O’Brien, Kristin Howard for Rachel O’Connor, Hazel Coffey for Louise Hickey.
Gailltír: Ciara Jackman, Áine O’Keeffe, Ciara Hogan, Claire Dunne, Sinéad Cunningham, Sally O’Grady, Aileen Cummins, Emma Roche, Shauna Fitzgerald, Annie Glavey (0-1), Áine Lyng (0-4, 0-1 frees), Roisín Flood (0-1), Eilís Cullinane, Patricia Jackman (1-9, 1-0 penalty, 0-2 frees), Kate Lynch. Subs: Emer Walshe for Roisín Flood, Jenny O’Grady for Eilís Cullinane.
Referee: Cathal Egan (Cork)