AIB All-Ireland club camogie champions Milford kept their hopes of a two-in-a-row alive but only just, as they edged a very tight encounter with Eoghan Rua at Donaghmore Ashbourne by 1-10 to 0-8 writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
The Derry champions will rue a host of spurned opportunities, as they had plenty of possession but just could not translate that into scores. Even late on, the normally clinical Grace McMullan and Katie Mullan had goal chances that would have made it very interesting had they been availed of.
The Milford full-back line of Katie Galvin, Maria Walsh and Lisa Healy were outstanding however, and with Ashling Thompson giving a player-of-the-match performance, and Rebels football star Deirdre O’Reilly, Marie O’Neill and Maria Watson getting the key scores, it was the Cork representatives that prevailed.
They led by 1-2 to 0-0 early on, with the dangerous Watson bundling the sliotar to the net, but Eoghan Rua settled down and Gráinne McGoldrick slotted four points to have them trailing by just four – 1-5 to 0-4 – at half time.
Three of McGoldrick’s scores came from placed balls and in all, she finished with seven points, six of which came from frees. Mullan’s late point was the Coleraine crew’s only other score from play.
Watson came deeper as Milford faced into the wind in the second half and the tactic worked well as despite giving up plenty of possession, the champions outscored their opponents again, despite missing a number of frees.
They will play Ardrahan in the final, after the Galway champions produced a brilliant second-half performance to beat Mullinavat 2-8 to 0-8 at Moneygall.
It wasn’t looking good for Ardrahan early on, as Mullinavat scored six points on the trot to lead by five. Five of those came from Michelle Quilty frees and the Kilkenny star was responsible for seven of her side’s scores.
Crucially though, Ardrahan managed to steady the ship and came back with three points of their own and were still in contention at the interval, trailing by 0-7 to 0-4.
It only took six minutes for Ardrahan to gain parity though as player of the match, Rebecca Hennelly buried a penalty, after Edel Holland was taken down in the square.
The westerners never looked back after that. Indeed, Mullinavat only scored one point in the latter period, via Elaine Aylward, and Keelin O’Shaughnessy’s goal confirmed the verdict.
In the one intermediate semi-final that survived the weather, Ballyhale Shamrocks defeated Portumna by 2-3 to 0-7. Kellyanne Cottrell’s accuracy from frees gave the Noresiders an early advantage but Tara Rutledge helped the Galwegians lead by 0-4 to 0-3 at the change of ends.
Rutledge and Megan Moran stood out for Portumna throughout, while Maeve Moran was player of the match but a Keeva Fennelly goal after a stunning run 11 minutes into the second half restored the Shamrocks’ lead, albeit by just point. That’s how it remained until Fennelly’s cousin, Mags Fennelly found the Portumna net two minutes from time.
That gave Ballyhale some vital breathing space, which they needed, as Rutledge and Hazel Treacy hit back with two late points. Time ran out on them however, and it was the Shamrocks’ day.