Clare ended the three-in-a-row hopes of Cork in the Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 1 with a pillar-to-post victory in the second semi-final at Kilmallock writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
Colm Honan’s charges will play Kilkenny in the final next week as a result of this success. While clearly a surprise result, the Bannerwomen have troubled their Leeside rivals on numerous occasions in recent years, beating them in the Munster final in 2012 and only losing at the same juncture of this competition after extra time last season.
Clare stared well with a couple of points from long-range Chloe Morey frees and it took Cork until the 13th minute to get on the board via the excellent Jenny O’Leary. A 17th minute goal from Fiona Lafferty, after good work from Ellen Horgan and Laura McMahon, gave Clare some much needed breathing space. Horgan drew the cover before laying off to McMahon, and she transferred quickly to Lafferty, who finished well.
Cork managed to steady the ship with points from Orla Cotter and O’Leary. They also had a goal disallowed for a square ball, while Denise Lynch was called upon to make a smart save and Clare went in at half time leading by 1-4 to 0-4.
Crucially, Morey (free) and McMahon hit the first two points of the second half early on. That was important as O’Leary and Katrina Mackey responded and by the 51st minute, the gap was down to two with Cotter and O’Leary finding the target once more.
Morey landed her sixth free to open to margin to three once more but it wasn’t until Nikki Kaiser converted another placed ball in injury time that Clare’s supporters could relax slightly, and with Róisín McMahon, Máire McGrath and Carol O’Leary magnificent in the Clare defence, Cork never looked like getting the goal they needed to rescue themselves.
SCORERS – CLARE: C Morey 0-6(fs); N Kaiser 0-4(2fs)l F Lafferty 1-0; L McMahon 0-2
CORK: J O’Leary, O Cotter (2fs) 0-4 each; M O’Neill, K Mackey, J Casey 0-1 each
CLARE: D Lynch, R McMahon, M McGrath, C O’Leary, C Morey, N O’Dea, E Considine, K Lynch, O Duggan, C Hennessy, F Lafferty, D Murphy, N Kaiser, L McMahon, E Horgan. Subs: C McMahon for Hennessy, L Loughnane for Horgan
CORK: A Murray, L Treacy, A Geary, J O’Callaghan, G O’Connor, S Hayes, E O’Sullivan, R Buckley, A Thompson, J White, D Cronin, J O’Leary, M O’Neill, O Cotter, K Mackey. Sub: J Casey for White
REFEREE: G O’Dowd (Limerick)