Killimor will play Milford in the All-Ireland senior club camogie championship final next month, while The Rower-Inistioge must wait to find out who their opponents in the intermediate decider will be as Castlegar and Ballycran could not be separated after extra time writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
Milford blitz champs to set up final clash with Killimor
Milford made a huge statement when travelling into the lion’s den and dethroning champions Oulart-The Ballagh on their own patch, 1-12 to 1-7.
The Cork side’s challenge was spearheaded by the midfield dominance of Maria Walsh and Aisling Thompson, as well as the efforts of Emer Watson, Regina Curtin, Marie O’Neill and Anna Geary. They blitzed the home side in the first half, at the end of which they led by a scarcely believable 1-10 to 0-0.
A very strong wind played a significant role in the dominance, but an indication of the superior sharpness and teamwork of the winners was that even when Oulart had the elements in their favour, it took them 13 minutes to register their first score. And that, as much as anything, was the difference in the end.
Watson sent Milford on their way with a fourth minute free and O’Neill added a brace before Regina Curtin gathered Maria Watson’s clever diagonal pass before shooting to the net in the 14th minute. Emer and Áine Watson, Curtin and O’Neill added further scores to give them that extraordinary interval advantage.
Maria and Emer Watson extended that lead further before Ursula Jacob finally got Oulart off the mark from a free. The Wexford star added four more scores (three from placed balls) and substitute Aisling Moran pounced for a 27th minute goal within seconds of her introduction. Jacob and Una Leacy converted a free apiece but even though Thompson received her marching orders for a second yellow-card offence, Milford had more than enough in hand to survive.
Killimor edged out O’Donovan Rossa by 2-9 to 0-12 in Ballinasloe. Rossa had the better of it in the first half though, with Jane Adams the orchestrator. Kerrie O’Neill was also prominent and the Antrim girls were 0-5 to 0-1 ahead by the end of the first quarter.
That advantage might have been greater, as Gráinne Connolly missed a tremendous goal opportunity. That proved critical as Susan Keane struck at the other end just before half time to leave the Galwegians trailing by just two at the break, 0-8 to 1-3.
With their tails up, Killimor hit the first four scores of the second half courtesy of Martina Conroy (two), Keane and Ann-Marie Hayes. O’Donovan Rossa fought back, with a brace of points from Adams but Aisling Brehony’s scrambled goal put Killimor ahead once more.
Maorisa McGourty and Connolly came back once more with points that could well have been goals but Brenda Hanney eased Killimor’s nerves with two late points of her own.
In the intermediate championship, two first-half goals from Aoife Lyng laid the groundwork for The Rower-Inistioge’s 2-9 to 1-5 defeat of Kilmaley in Nowlan Park.
Kelly Hamilton top-scored with seven points from placed balls for the Kilkenny team and when Lyng showed her poaching skills with those two opportunistic strikes in the 22nd and 24th minutes, The Rower led by 2-7 to 0-1 at half-time.
Kilmaley battled hard after the resumption and Claire McMahon and Denise Lynch helped reduce the margin. Emma O’Driscoll got a goal but the Clare representatives never looked like reeling in their opponents.
Aislinn Connolly scored 11 points but that still wasn’t enough to give victory to Castlegar, with their pulsating semi-final against Ballycran finishing at 0-13 to 1-10 after extra time.
Ballycran led 0-5 to 0-2 at half time and should have been further ahead after a dominant display, with Catherine and Brid McGourty very prominent. Catherine McGourty and Naomi Morgan stretched the margin after the resumption and a Morgan goal looked to have secured it for the Down contingent.
Castlegar turned the game around with the next six scores, including Connolly’s equaliser in first minute of injury time from a 45m free tight to the sideline. She hit the first two points of extra time into the wind but Catherine McGourty and super sub, Nicola Torney rescued Ballycran.
Pictured; Aisling Brehony and Emer Haverty, Killimor in action against Kerrie O'Neill, O'Donovan Rossa