Ian Cooney of the Roscommon Herald reports from Ballyforan
All-Ireland Junior Club Camogie Championship Semi-Final
A wonderful display of commitment, passion and skill catapulted Four Roads into this season’s All-Ireland junior club final after they proved far too streetwise for Leinster champions Kilmessan in Sunday’s semi-final at Ballyforan. The South Roscommon girls produced their best performance of the season to dominate their Meath opposition and leave themselves on the cusp of the ultimate accolade.
Twelve months ago, Four Roads were left floored on the canvass after a chastening experience against Lavey from Derry at the same stage of the competition. But Simon Coyle’s charges were not to be denied for the second year in succession on their home patch as they outplayed Kilmessan for large periods of Sunday’s semi-final.
A good start certainly proved to be half the battle as far as Four Roads were concerned. They pulverised Kilmessan from the opening whistle. Lizzie Glennon-Tully and Niamh Coyle were on fire up front and, aided by the dominance of Gertie Dowd and Catherine Rogerson at midfield, they quickly established a six-point interval advantage, 0-9 to 0-3.
A feature of that prosperous opening 30 minutes was Four Roads’ sheer desire not to let Kilmessan any time to settle in possession. That pressure resulted in numerous Kilmessan turnovers and Four Roads duly reaped the rewards with a succession of brilliant scores.
Kilmessan matched Four Roads for the third quarter but they had left themselves with far too much to do. A heroic defensive effort from the Tisrara girls blocked off numerous avenues to goal. The three-pointer that the Meath girls needed to make life nervous for the home side wouldn’t come, and two late goals in the final five minutes from substitute Aisling Rogerson and Glennon-Tully sealed the deal for a delighted home side.
Four Roads were imperious during the opening half. They were far stronger than Kilmessan and showed the hunger necessary to build up a substantial lead. They didn’t get off to the best of starts, however, as referee Cathal Egan signalled for a debatable penalty in the opening minute. No one was quite sure what the penalty was for but wing-forward Aileen Donnelly drove the sliothar over the bar.
Kilmessan wouldn’t score again for another 14 minutes as Grainne Egan, Niamh Coyle, Glennon-Tully and Donna Kelly posted excellent points from play.
Kelly’s score was particularly impressive as the Four Roads captain had been badly injured as a result of a wild pull from one of her own players only minutes earlier.
Donnelly reduced the gap to two points with an impressive free from distance in the 15th minute but a Glennon-Tully free was followed by three more points from play by Patricia Lennon, Gertie Dowd and Glennon-Tully to open up a 0-8 to 0-2 advantage. Both sides swapped scores before the break from frees, Glennon-Tully and Donnelly predictably on target.
Kilmessan enjoyed far more possession in the third quarter but they were confronted by a Four Roads brick wall in defence. Donnelly was presented with a few opportunities from close-in frees but she couldn’t manufacture the goal her side required. She did manage two points but Coyle and Glennon-Tully were also on target from frees.
Frustrated by their inability to make inroads, Kilmessan visibly tired as the half wore on and this allowed Four Roads the latitude to finish with a flourish. Glennon-Tully pointed from play before substitute Aisling Rogerson announced her arrival with a goal within 60 seconds of her introduction as she took possession around Kilmessan netminder Noreen Sheridan to fire into an empty net.
Lizzie Glennon-Tully kept her composure to grab a second Four Roads goal two minutes from time and the Player of the Match finished the scoring with a free to leave her side dreaming of All-Ireland glory against Corofin from Clare on Sunday week.
FOUR ROADS: B. Mannion; C. Glennon, O. Hughes, M. Glennon-Kelly; A. Fallon, S. Coyle, D. Kelly (0-1); G. Dowd (0-1), C. Rogerson; N. Coyle (0-2, one free), G. Egan (0-1), S. O’Brien; L. Glennon-Tully (1-7, four frees), E.Treacy, P. Lennon (0-1). Subs used: A. Rogerson (1-0) for Treacy (55 mins), B. Hughes for O’Brien (55 mins).
KILMESSAN: N. Sheridan; C. NÝ Choileßin, K. Ward, E. Doyle; S. Ross, Alison Lynch, Alva Lynch; C. O’Leary, F. Lynch; S. Horan, L. Tyrrell, A. Donnelly (0-6, four frees, one penalty, one ’45); M. NÝ Choileßin, A. McLoughlin, K.NÝ Choileßin. Subs used: A. M. Dennehy for Tyrrell (38 mins), L. Irwin for Alison Lynch (38 mins), T. King for McLoughlin (48 mins), M. E. Sheridan for Horan (60 mins), E. Fitzgerald for Alvan Lynch (60 mins).
Wides: Four Roads – 3; Kilmessan – 5.
Referee: C. Egan (Cork)
Player of the Match: Lizzie Glennon-Tully (Four Roads). On a day when Four Roads had stars all over the field, the veteran corner-forward pitched in with a match-winning 1-7 to fire her side into the All-Ireland final at the end of the month. She proved to be a vital outlet for possession, winning frees and dusting herself down to nail the all-important scores. Catherine Glennon, Orla Hughes, Marie Glennon-Kelly, Donna Kelly, Siobhßn Coyle, Niamh Coyle and Patricia Lennon also delivered big performances for their team.
Frances Lynch and Aileen Donnelly were Kilmessan’s best players with the latter accounting for all of her side’s scores.
*A minute’s silence was observed in memory of Tomßs Connolly from Four Roads before Sunday’s semi-final.
*Please note pictures of the All Ireland Junior Club Final are available on the Camogie Facebook page