By Daragh Ë Conch·ir
Inagh (Clare) 2-7
Four Roads (Roscommon) 2-5
Inagh snatched a famous victory over devastated Four Roads in a spell-binding finish to the All-Ireland junior camogie club championship semi-final in pristine conditions at Clarecastle on Saturday afternoon.
The Clare side were four points down entering the 59th minute, but hit their opponents with a remarkable two-goal burst to snatch a place in the final.
Four Roads had a 2-5 to 0-7 advantage when Inagh were awarded a 65. Fiona Lafferty had the distance to convert, having already done so twice in building up a personal tally of five points.
Inagh needed more than a point though, and so Lafferty landed the sliotar in around the square. An almighty scramble ensued before Sinead O’Loughlin doubled on the ball in the air to find the net and invigorate the Banner women.
They won possession immediately from the puckout, and Lafferty found Sharon Rynne unmarked around 30m from the posts. The half-forward bore down on goal before sending the net shaking to put her side to the lead.
Four Roads must have been shellshocked but to their eternal credit, they threw everything into finding a goal of their own in the two and a half minutes of additional time played. They found the Inagh defence in no mood to yield however, and in the end, it was they who prevailed in the end.
This result was all the more amazing for the fact that the Roscommon champions had a nine-point advantage after just 20 minutes, and with the scoreline reading 2-3 to 0-0 in their favour, seemed certain to advance to an All-Ireland final.
They began with three points from play before goals from Gertie Dowd and Sinead O’Brien put them in a commanding position.
Like the Inagh brace that denied them victory, these two goals arrived inside a minute, with O’Brien’s major coming straight from the puckout after Dowd’s score.
Dowd and Orla Gately gave Four Roads a midfield dominance throughout, while half-back Donna Kelly also ensured that there was plenty of ball going the forwards’ way.
Crucially though, the Inagh mentors made a switch after Four Roads’ second goal that was to have a telling impact, with centre-forward Fiona Lafferty swopping roles with centre-back Christina Glynn to help shore up the defence.
Glynn also had an impact at the other end, and got her side off the mark with a point. Lafferty followed up with two points (one from a 65) and it was 2-3 to 0-3 at the interval.
The margin was soon down to four but a point from Lizzie Glennon-Tully stemmed the tide. Even though Inagh got one back, it hardly looked enough with time running out, but the goal heroics of O’Loughlin and Rynne saved the day.
Scorers – Inagh: F Lafferty 0-5(2fs, 2 65s); S O’Loughlin, S Rynne 1-0 each; C Glynn, RA O’Loughlin 0-1 each
Four Roads: G Dowd, S O’Brien 1-1 each; O Gately, E Treacy, L Glennon-Tully 0-1 each
Inagh: B McCarthy; J Griffen, S Lafferty, G Lafferty; P McCarthy, C Glynn, N Arthur; S O’Loughlin, RA O’Loughlin; S Rynne, f Lafferty, P O’Loughlin; E Lynch, H Hehir, T Rynne. Sub: C Devitt for Lynch (27)
Four Roads: B Mannion; C Glennon, O Hughes, M Glennon-Kelly; D Kelly, P Lennon, B Hughes; G Dowd, O Gately; E Treacy, M Hoey, C Rogerson; S O’Brien, L Glennon-Tully, L Dowd. Subs: C Kenny for Treacy (50); A Rogerson for Dowd (53)
Referee: D Ryan (Dublin)