Castlegar will play The Rower-Inistioge in the All-Ireland intermediate club camogie final after the Galway side emerged successful from their semi-final replay against Ballycran, 1-7 to 2-1 writes Daragh Ó Conchúir
Corcoran the difference
.The Down champions fought gallantly but Castlegar had just a little bit more know-how in the end that enabled them to advance.
Although it was a low-scoring affair, it was no less compelling, with both sides defending heroically.
Castlegar laid down a marker early on with points from player of the match Aislinn Connolly (free) and Katie Connell. They also had two goal opportunities but Tara Connolly and Ruth Flaherty both hit the side-netting.
Ballycran showed them how it was done with their first real chance after 16 minutes, when Brid McGourty got the last touch after a goalmouth scramble to raise a green flag, much to the delight of the home fans.
Two frees from Connolly put Castlegar back in front but with four minutes remaining, Laura Hughes forced a breaking ball and substitute, Deirdre Savage pounced to send a ground stroke to the net.
There was still time for Castlegar to hit the match-defining scores. Connolly slotted her fourth free before Connell sent a high ball in Maria Corcoran’s direction. Corcoran, who missed the drawn game due to the little matter of being on her honeymoon, gathered possession and shook off her marker before grabbing the vital goal.
That left the visitors with a slight interval advantage, 1-5 to 0-6.
Ballycran had a tremendous goal opportunity in the 46th minute, when Laura Hughes’ shot was blocked. The rebound fell to Savage and with the goal gaping, she seemed certain to score but Elaine Murphy retreated to make a sensational block.
Connolly and Katherine McGourty exchanged points before Connolly registered her sixth white flag of the day. Nicola Branniff received her marching orders late on for a second bookable offence and though there were five minutes of added time, the visitors held on.
Michelle Dorrian, Jenny Fowler, Brid McGourty and Savage all produced storming performances for Ballycran while Donna Burke, Murphy, Corcoran and the tireless Connolly starred for the winners.