By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Myshall (Carlow) 1-10
Eglish (Tyrone) 1-9
CIARA QUIRKE scored a goal and nine points as Myshall added another chapter to their remarkable story, and that of Carlow camogie in recent years, by winning the AIB All-Ireland Camogie Intermediate Club title at Croke Park.
Quirke had a number of clubmates by her side as she registered a hat-trick of goals during Carlow’s annexation of the All-Ireland Premier Junior crown last September, just 12 months after they had garnered the Junior A championship.
It is only four years since Myshall claimed a second consecutive All-Ireland Junior Club title, and their ascent up the rankings in tandem with the county team is symptomatic of the increasing depth of camogie in the country.
The same applied to the presence of two Ulster teams in Croke Park, and while Myshall had the upper hand for the majority of proceedings, they had to withstand a determined rally from Eglish that fell narrowly short.
Indeed the victors could count themselves fortunate in the end as Ciara Donnelly had a chance from a free to equalise, with 30 seconds of the allotted three minutes of injury time remaining, but pulled her shot wide.
Donnelly, who was responsible for all her team’s nine points and scored one of the best goals ever seen at Croke Park for the Armagh side that lost to Carlow six months ago, had a goal chance minutes before that but she was unable to hit the target with her first-time ground shot.
It was heartbreaking for Eglish’s best player and she was distraught afterwards, but Myshall just about deserved to get their hands on the Agnes O’Farrelly Cup.
They certainly held the upper hand in the opening period and it took a stupendous save by Leona Gallagher to deny the pacey Emma Coogan, the Eglish netminder somehow getting her stick to the left to deflect the sliotar despite the shot being well struck from close range.
Gallagher, who made another top-drawer stop in the second half from Coogan, had no chance though when Quirke, who landed six points from placed balls in the first half from her left-hand side, rifled a bullet to the roof of the net off her right from 12 metres.
Eglish had their own chances and Méabh McHugh shot wide under pressure from the advancing goalkeeper Joanne Joyce, who also held firm when Aisling Jordan shot for a major at a vital juncture in the second half and was off her line very quickly to pressurise Donnelly for her late chance.
Quirke’s goal gave Myshall a 1-6 to 0-4 lead at half time and they appeared to be moving serenely to success, without putting enough space between them and the Tyrone contingent.
This failure to put Eglish away almost cost them and instead, they appeared to invite their opponents onto them as they withdrew into an increasingly defensive formation.
Niamh McNulty’s 46th minute goal, after a strong run by Donnelly, changed the game, leaving three between them and though Carlow had a penalty three minutes later, Quirke elected to take the minor score.
Eglish poured forward and Donnelly shot three consecutive points to leave the minimum between them.
Quirke scored what proved the winner on the hour, lofting a free imperiously over from 64m but Donnelly replied in kind before the dramatic conclusion.
SCORERS FOR MYSHALL: C Quirke 1-9(0-6fs, 0-2 45s, 0-1 pen); E Coogan 0-1
SCORERS FOR EGLISH: C Donnelly 0-9 (7fs, 1 45); N McNulty 1-0
EGLISH: L Gallagher, L Mason, B Horsfield, Cathy Jordan, Claire Jordan, C McGready, A Donnelly, S Jordan, A Jordan, C Donnelly, K Cuddy, N McNulty, M Haughey, M McHugh, L Donnelly. Subs: J Lagan for McHugh (36), A Barrett for Haughey (53)
MYSHALL: J Joyce, P Whelan, N Quirke, M Nolan, B Nolan, K Nolan, Mairéad Doyle, C Mullins, T Wilson, O Jordan, A Ruschitzko, Marian Doyle, E Coogan, C Quirke, L Nolan. Sub: K Crooks for L Nolan (58)
REFEREE: F McNamara (Clare)