Milford’s long unbeaten run in the AIB All-Ireland Senior Camogie Club Championship was brought to an end by Mullagh, who left MacDonagh Park in Nenagh with a 2-5 to 0-9 victory, and a place in the All-Ireland Final against either Oulart-the Ballagh or Loughgiel Shamrocks.
The other semi-final was postponed due to snow and will now be played next Sunday, March 8th.
This was expected to be a titanic tussle, with Milford looking to go all the way for the third year in succession. That was exactly what the teams provided supporters with.
Leona Monaghan got Mullagh off to a dream start with a goal after just 31 seconds but Milford responded in the manner one would expect of champions, with four points in a row from Anna Geary, Emer Watson (two) and Marie O’Neill to go in front.
Rachel Monaghan slotted a couple of points for Mullagh but with Watson adding another couple herself as she brought her personal tally to six, Milford looked to be on their way at half time, as they led by 0-8 to 1-2
Remarkably though, they only managed one point in the second half, and that came five minutes into that period from the stick of Maria Watson. That opened the gap to four but it was all Mullagh in terms of the the scoring stakes from there to end.
Rachel Monaghan, who scored 1-4, struck for a goal from a penalty four minutes later and then brought the teams level at the end of the third quarter.
The exchanges were fierce, with neither side willing to yield and it seemed like they would not be separated until Cathy Bowes pointed with four minutes left. Rachel Monaghan put two between the sides in extra time and that was enough to assure the Galway girls victory over the gallant Cork representatives.
There was better news for Munster in the intermediate grade, when AIB All-Ireland champions Lismore held on for a 1-14 to 1-12 win over another Galway team, Oranmore/Maree to set up a final meeting against Piltown, who beat Clonduff 3-5 to 0-6.
Caitriona McGlone was the hat-trick hero in last year’s replayed All-Ireland and the goal-sniffer worked the oracle once more with a ninth-minute goal to give Lismore an early edge as they led by 1-3 to 0-2 early on, Aoife Hannon having gotten them off the mark initially from a pointed free. Indeed Lismore had the game’s first three points before Oranmore/Maree gradually settled into proceedings. The goal rocked them back in their tracks though and Lismore led by 1-9 to 0-6 at half time.
Lismore were reduced to 14 players when Aoife Houlihan was red-carded two minutes into the second half and it was a rearguard action from there to the end. Oranmore/Maree kept chipping away but a run of points from Aisling O’Brien, Nicola Morrissey and Shona Curran gave them the breathing space to hold out, despite conceding a late goal.
Piltown were pushed all the way by Clonduff but it was the Kilkenny side’s goal threat that proved significant in the end. Clonduff edged into a 0-6 to 1-2 lead with 10 minutes remaining but Piltown finished with a devastating burst to break the Down team’s hearts.
Jenna Boden and Fionnuala Carr were magnificent for Clonduff in the first half but with Chloe Blackmore nabbing a goal, it was 0-4 to 1-1 at the break. Paula Gribben, who scored four points, pushed the Down crew into the lead but when Blackmore’s shot from a 40m free went all the way to the net in the 55th minute, Piltown had their noses in front. Nicola Phelan was only on the field a matter of seconds when she supplied the coup de grace in the second minute of injury time.
Tickets for the AIB All-Ireland Camogie Club Championships Finals in Croke Park on Sunday March 1st can be purchased by clicking here.