Cork retained their Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 1 title with a deserved 0-12 to 1-7 victory over new-look Wexford at Nowlan Park writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
While the Rebelettes will be without Gemma O’Connor for the season due to Army duties, it is very strange to see Wexford lining out this season minus the services of Catherine O’Loughlin, Claire O’Connor and Una Leacy.
It was a repeat of last year’s final but the flow was different, as on this occasion, it was Cork having a strong opening period and Wexford attempting to reel them in after the resumption.
The ultimate result was the same though, with player of the match, Orla Cotter helping to ensure a midfield dominance for Cork that was critical throughout.
With Rena Buckley in typically unwavering form at centre-back, Wexford’s forward unit was unable to make any significant headway until Ursula Jacob goaled from a 60th minute penalty.
That gave them renewed hope late on but though Kate Kelly, who had a big impact off the bench, reduced the margin to the minimum, they couldn’t find an equaliser in the four remaining minutes of injury time.
Instead, Cork substitute Finola Neville found the target with almost the last puck of the ball to secure a two-point victory.
Wexford opened very brightly thanks to points from Jacob and Fiona Kavanagh but two frees from Cotter had Cork level by the seventh minute.
Síle Burns and Jacob exchanged scores but the latter, from a ninth-minute free, proved to be Wexford’s last score of the half as Cork opened up.
With the Leesiders monopolising possession from either team’s puckouts, they pushed ahead with points from Julia White, Briege Crokery, O’Sullivan and Burns to give them a 0-7 to 0-3 advantage at the break.
The scoring rate dropped considerably in the third quarter, with Jacob’s 39th minute free the only return.
It took Cork 18 minutes to get going again in the second half but White and Katrina Mackey’s quick-fire efforts certainly but Paudie Murray’s crew in the box seat.
Frances Doran struck back with a lovely point from play before Kelly popped over the first of her two points.
When Mackey and Cotter (45) raised white flags with six minutes remaining, it looked like curtains for Wexford but a penalty awarded for a foul on Kelly was blasted to the Cork net to give Martin Lynch and his charges hope but they had left themselves too much to do.
SCORERS – CORK: O Cotter 0-3(2fs, 1 45); S Burns, J White, K Mackey 0-2 each; B Corkery, E O’Sullivan, F Neville 0-1 each
WEXFORD: U Jacob 1-3(0-2fs); K Kelly 0-2; F Kavanagh, F Doran 0-1 each
CORK: A Murray; P Mackey, M Walsh, L O’Connell; D Cronin, R Buckley, A Geary; O Cotter, A Thompson; B Corkery, E O’Sullivan, K Mackey; S Burns, A Deasy, J White. Subs: J O’Leary for Deasy; F Neville for K Mackey
WEXFORD: M D’Arcy; C Donohue, N Lambert, K Atkinson; F Doran, M Leacy, S Kehoe; J Dwyer, L Hammell; F Kavanagh, A Leacy, B Gordon; K Parrock, U Jacob, F Rochford. Subs: L O’Leary for Donohue; K Kelly for A Leacy, S Sinnott for Hammell, S McGovern for Rochford
REFEREE: F McNamara (Clare)