Ballyhale Shamrocks 1-6
Lismore have finished strongly in all their games this season and they had to do so again just to earn a replay in a hugely exciting AIB All-Ireland intermediate club camogie final at Croke Park writes Daragh Ó Conchúir
Ironically, Seamus Prendergast’s crew started very well, with their running game causing Ballyhale Shamrocks numerous problems, particularly in the form of Ruth Geoghegan.
They should have led by more than 0-6 to 0-3 at half time however, as Aoife Hannon missed a couple of straightforward frees and on more than one occasion, an overlap was eschewed when a goal chance might have been fashioned.
Ballyhale made the best of being still in the game by bursting out of the traps at the start of the second half to turn the game on its head. Kellyanne Cottrell converted a free before Mags Fennelly – one of nine members of the famous dynasty on the panel – took advantage of some slack defending to find the Lismore net in the 33rd minute.
She had another chance later on, when there were three Ballyhale players bearing down on Aisling O’Brien but the Lismore goalkeeper made the save and the her defence got back to scramble clear.
As dangerous as they were in the first half though, Lismore’s attack was completely nullified in the second, with Ballyhale full-back Róisín Fennelly an heroic figure.
Shona Curran refused to give up though and the Lismore captain, who was named player of the match, launched the second of two mighty frees to bring the sides level.
It seemed as if Ballyhale had made the critical move though when Cottrell slotted her fourth free in the 51st minute and Keeva Fennelly drove over her second point from play soon after.
And that’s how it was entering the 58th minute. The speedy Johanna Houlihan had added some much needed energy to the Lismore attack and after a blistering run, and a hook by Róisín Fennelly on Geoghegan, Nicola Morrissey reduced the margin to the minimum with her third point from play.
A minute later, Hannon showed her ability with a sensational point from 50m out under the Hogan Stand and the sliotar landed right on top of the net to bring the sides level.
Both teams had chances to snatch it in the closing moments but some bodies-on-the-line defending ensured a replay on March 16.
SCORERS – LISMORE: N Morrissey 0-3; R Geoghegan, S Curran (2fs), A Hannon (1f) 0-2 each
BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS: K Cottrell 0-4; M Fennelly 1-0; K Fennelly 0-2
LISMORE: A O’Brien, S Coughlan, S Prendergast, M Russell, A Houlihan, S Kiernan, S Fenton, N Morrissey, S Curran, L Buckley, G Kenneally, A Hannon, C McGlone, J Hannon, R Geoghegan. Sub: J Houlihan for J Hannon (41)
BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS: C Fennelly, H Dermody, R Fennelly, O Fennelly, E O’Dwyer, J Frisby, C Corcoran, C Connolly, E Frisby, E Fitzpatrick, K Cottrell, K Fennelly, L Elvidge, M Fennelly, E Darmody. Sub: G Fennelly for Elvidge (24)
REFEREE: C Egan (Cork)