By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Cork are back in the Irish Daily Star Camogie Division 1 League final for the first time since 2007 courtesy of a convincing 1-12 to 0-10 victory over Galway in the first semi-final in Sixmilebridge.
Gemma O’Connor was the winning captain as the Rebels edged out Wexford to claim their 14th title while Jennifer O’Leary scored the winning point and the duo were the key protagonists again as a disappointing Galway were denied.
O’Connor and Orla Cotter were dominant at midfield, although Ann Marie Hayes did improve Galway’s fortunes when moved to that sector, while with Anna Geary, Briege Corkery, Eimear O’Sullivan and Lynda Dorgan providing the ammunition, O’Leary was ruthless with her marksmanship to plunder 1-7.
Sinead Cahalan did provide some resistance for Galway in defence but the westerners never looked like pegging Cork back in the second half.
The sides were level on 0-3 apiece when some good work by Cotter and O’Sullivan in the 13th minute ended with O’Leary rounding her marker and smashing the sliotar to the Galway net.
The Tribeswomen responded well with four points in six minutes from Aislinn Connolly (two frees), Brenda Hanney and Therese Maher. They might have had a goal when Maher fed Orla Kilkenny and then shot wide from a rebound after Kilkenny’s initial shot had been blocked.
They were to rue that wasted opportunity as Cork finished with three points from Regina Curtin and two placed ball conversions by O’Leary to lead by 1-6 to 0-7 at half time.
The winners had the wind in their favour in the second half and they made good use of it. O’Leary added three points, Geary knocked one over and Joanne Casey and Katie Buckley came off the bench to grab points as well.
Galway only managed three in response, from Tara Ruttledge and Maher (two frees), as they were a clear second best to a more composed and clinical Cork.