By Daragh Ë Conch·ir
The weather didn’t claim all the sporting fixtures over the weekend and though it took an 11th hour change of venue, the All-Ireland junior club camogie final went ahead, much to delight of Four Roads.
With Athenry falling foul to snow, fog and frost, the game was swiftly transferred to Ballinasloe and it was the Roscommon team that took the honours in a keenly contested affair that was in doubt right until Grßinne Egan’s injury time goal.
The sunshine couldn’t mask the biting cold that clearly had an impact on early stages as the players struggled to gain an attacking edge.
Four Roads had most of the early play but were unable to breach a defence in which Lisa Clancy dominated at full-back. Indeed Corofin scored on their first attack in the sixth minute when Claire Commane converted a free.
Lizzie Glennon-Tully replied with a brace to give Four Roads the lead but with the skilful Niamh O’Dea doing well at midfield, Corofin had a sustained period of superiority, and an equalising point by Commane was scant reward for that.
They paid for some profligate shooting when Four Roads’ half-backs and midfield pairing took charge in the final 10 minutes of the half, and points from SinÚad O’Brien and Gertie Dowd gave the Connacht champions a half time interval advantage of 0-4 to 0-2.
The game opened up more after the resumption, with both teams having goal-scoring opportunities. A combination of some fine defending by the likes of Orla Hughes, Marie Glennon-Kelly and inspirational captain Donna Kelly for Four Roads, and Clancy and brilliant goalkeeper Carmel Tierney kept the opposition forwards out until Egan’s late strike.
Instead it was a private battle between Glennon-Tully and Commane on the scoreboard, with both players converting placed balls from prodigious distances.
Crucially though, Glennon-Tully was able to contribute from play and two excellent scores from the player of the match pushed the winners four points clear. The first was an outstanding effort, as the corner-forward quickly gathered possession before rounding Donna Courtney and then cutting onto her left before flashing the sliotar over the bar.
Corofin responded impressively though and a sensational point from the left flank by newly situated full-forward Edel Keating that brought to mind John Mullane’s wonder score in the Munster hurling final against Cork, halved the deficit.
Just before that, Clancy had cleared a Commane shot off the line but the Corofin sharpshooter drove the resultant 45 straight over the bar and the temperature raised quite a bit, metaphorically at least.
The hour had just elapsed though when the heroic Tierney was finally beaten, Egan collecting a rebound from another save by the Corofin custodian before lashing to the net and a Niamh Coyle point was the last act of a famous day for the new All-Ireland champions.
Four Roads: B Mannion; C Glennon, O Hughes, M Glennon-Kelly; A Fallon, S Coyle, D Kelly; G Dowd 0-1, C Rogerson; N Coyle 0-1, G Egan 1-0, S O’Brien 0-1; L Glennon-Tully 0-6(3fs), P Lennon, E Treacy. Sub: A Rogerson for Treacy (ht)
Corofin: C Tierney; N Carkill, L Clancy, D Courtney; B O’Donoghue, M Kelleher, N Shannon; E Keating 0-1, N O’Dea; L McMahon, M Raftery, A Kelleher; A Davoren, C Commane 0-5(4fs), S Kelleher
Referee: C Egan (Cork)