Both Division 1A and Division 1B have completed their fixtures in recent weeks with UCC topping 1A and UUJ topping 1B.
UCC got their league campaign off to a winning start against neighbours CIT. Played in terrible conditions in CIT, UCC played against the wind in the 1st half and were made to battle for every ball against a determined CIT team. The UCC forwards were doing an excellent job against the wind and scored eight points with Julia White and Niamh Goulding in excellent form.
CIT were too reliant on the centre forward Denise Luby who scored all of their first half scores. Indiscipline by the UCC defence gave away frees and a penalty which the accurate Luby popped over the bar. The score at halftime was 0-08 to 1-06 in favour of UCC. Aided by the breeze UCC completely dominated the second half and scored some excellent points from Pamela and Caitriona Mackey, Julia White and Laura Wall. Final score 0-21 to 1-06.
The next two matches were too prove much tougher and tighter matches for the Cork College. Last years Ashbourne Cup and Division 1 winners WIT travelled to the Mardyke pitch. In a superb game in which all the skills of Camogie were showcased it was WIT who made the brighter start, immediately putting pressure on the UCC defence. Points from Michelle Quilty and Karina Parrock got the visiting side off to a good start before UCC began to dominate with their midfield pairing of Roisin de Faoite and Orla Cotter on top.
UCC continued to pile on the pressure and UCC went into the break four points up on a scoreline of 0-09 to 0-05. The second half was to prove a much tighter affiar with WIT now on top and eating away at the UCC lead. The WIT half back line dominated and the UCC defence were under constant attack but they tackled ferociously and forced WIT to shoot under pressure. UCC had to rely on the free taking of Cork captain Orla Cotter to steady the ship and with ten minutes to go looked to have secured victory when substitute Cliodhna MacSweeney found the net.
WIT rallied however and points from Edwina Keane and Michelle Quilty narrowed the gap. A free conceded in the WIT half back line resulted in WIT getting a free were the ball landed on the 21yard line, centre back Patricia Jackman took the free but a superb save from Susan Earner and a clearance from Sarah Collins saw the pressure relieved. With minutes remaining Ann Dalton got a goal for the Waterford side but it proved too late as UCC held on for a one point win.
In their first game of the year UL travelled to CIT in what was the Cork teams final league game on 3rd November. It was a close first half with the teams swapping scores regularly. Denise Luby was again scorer in chief with a goal and four points ably supported by Michelle Reidy who had a fine game. The first half finished with the Limerick side ahead by four points on a scoreline of 1-09 to 1-05. The second half belonged to UL who scored 4-06 compared with just six points for CIT. The final score was 5-15 to 1-11.
UL again travelled to Cork to take on UCC. Played under lights in the Mardyke UCC took advantage of the UL journey and raced into an early lead. With Orla Cotter again deadly from placed balls UL were under pressure from the throw in. UL began to settle and with their full forward causing havoc anytime the ball came in UCC were forced into conceding frees and UL were able to stay in touch. UCC went into the break leading by five points 0-09 to 0-05.
The early pressure in the second half came from UCC but they couldn’t convert possession into scores. On a counterattack UL scrambled home a goal and this gave the visiting side confidence. A second goal minutes later put the UL side in front for the first time midway through the second half. UCC were under constant attack at this point and their defence looked nervous, a number of substitutions by UCC helped them to regain a foothold on the game and in the final ten minutes UCC outscored UL by seven points to win by five. Final score 0-19 to 2-08.
In the other section UUJ recorded three wins from three to take their place in the Division 1 final for quite a number of years. The Belfast side got off to an excellent start beating UCD, with their forwards clinical. In their second match UUJ played host to neighbours QUB. UUJ completely dominated the first half and led by nine points at the break. However the second half was to prove a different story and a spirited fight back from QUB had UUJ under constant pressure. Despite narrowing the gap to a point, UUJ managed to tag on a few scores and UUJ managed to cling on by their fingernails to record a victory.
UUJ had only NUI Galway to play and knew that a victory would propel them into the final, the Galway side couldn’t field and so the points went to UUJ who will now take on Cork College UCC in the Division 1 League Final.
Date and Venue for the fixture is to be confirmed.