Kilkenny and Cork are two of the oldest rivals in camogie and they will do battle for further All-Ireland honours after their minor A semi-final victories over Galway and Tipperary respectively writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
Old rivals to meet in Minor A final
The Kittens continued the impression that they are moving in the right direction at all levels with a narrow 1-13 to 1-12 defeat of Galway in Nenagh.
A third-quarter purple patch was the key for the winners and Lydia Fitzpatrick’s seven points proved significant.
Ciana Ní Churraoin was Galway’s key contributor. The All-Ireland winning handballer, whose brother Fintan was enjoying better luck as the Tribesmen won their All-Ireland U21 football semi-final, finished with 10 points but was left heartbroken as a late attempt at an equaliser drifted just wide.
An eighth minute goal by Orlaith McGrath, after good work by Sinéad Gaffney, gave Galway a four-point lead but they failed to build on that score and instead, it was Kilkenny who grew into the game with points from Aisling Dolan, inspirational captain Meg Farrell and two Fitzpatrick frees.
It was 0-8 to 1-5 at the interval but Kilkenny moved up a gear after the resumption, with Miriam Walsh pulling the strings. Mary Corcoran came off the bench to score three points and her score 17 seconds into the second half gave the Noresiders a lead they never relinquished.
Maria Brehony had a goal opportunity for Galway but her shot was saved by Noelle Murphy. Within minutes, Walsh set up Ciara Holden, who made no mistake from close range and the margin was four.
Maria Cooney and Niamh Hanniffy propelled Galway forward in the final quarter and the magnificent Ní Churraoin contributed five points in that period. Scores from Corcoran and Fitzpatrick kept Kilkenny’s noses in front however.
A gritty Cork outfit shaded a tough battle with Tipperary in Kilmallock, 1-10 to 0-10. Orla Cronin was the star of the show for the Rebelettes. The Enniskeane teenager scored seven points, with three of them coming from play.
Cork led by 0-6 to 0-5 at half time and their sharper forward line enabled them to keep ahead. Indeed, had Tipperary goalkeeper, Sarah Coonan not made two tremendous saves, the margin might have been greater.
Coonan was beaten by Rachel Sheehan seven minutes after the restart though and that was critical, as Tara Kennedy (who like Cronin, finished with seven points) and U16 star, Róisín Howard kept Tipperary in touch.
They couldn’t break down the Cork rearguard though for the goal they needed and it was Cork that advanced.