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by Daragh Ó Conchúir
AIB All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Semi-Finals
Sunday January 31st
Cahir (Tipperary) v Tullaroan (Kilkenny)
St Lachtain’s GAA, Freshford, 2pm
Cahir have burst into the national consciousness this year, continuing a process of evolution that has been spectacular in recent years. Back in 2012, they were winning the Tipperary junior B championship for the first time. That youthful group has continued to progress and they will be playing Senior camogie later this year as a result of their six-point success over Silvermines in their first Intermediate county final.
That is a spectacular ascent in such a short space of time. They accounted for Brian Dillons (Cork) and then, most impressively Lismore (Waterford) to annex the Munster title. Lismore were last year’s All-Ireland finalists, having won the national competition 12 months before that, so to put them to the sword to the tune of eight points was highly impressive.
Young dual star Róisín Howard, teak tough defender Lorna McEniry and Aisling Moloney are amongst those likely to be to the fore.
Tullaroan had to fight tooth and nail to emerge from Kilkenny, needing a replay to shake off beaten 2013 All-Ireland finalists, Rower-Inistioge. It looked like curtains in the drawn game, only for county player, Miriam Walsh to goal to rescue the subsequent winners.
The girls in green and white made no mistake next time out and again Walsh was prominent, scoring 1-3 en route to being named player of the match. Niamh Dowling and Breda O’Neill were also accurate in front of the posts as Tullaroan prevailed by five points.
The Leinster final was an extremely cagey affair and though Myshall got in for a goal it was Tullaroan’s ability to raise white flags– or specifically, Dowling’s ability to do so from placed balls – despite the difficult conditions that proved significant in the 0-8 to 1-4 success.
Another Kilkenny player, Grace Walsh is facing a race against time to play a part for Tullaroan, having had a procedure on her long-standing knee injury at the beginning of the month.
Eglish (Tyrone) v Eyrecourt (Galway)
Coralstown/Kinnegad GAA, 2pm
Eyrecourt possess one of the deadliest goalscorers in the country right now in Galway full-forward Molly Dunne. Dunne’s poacher’s instinct earned her a deserved All-Star in 2015 and she has carried her national form through to the club scene.
She has plenty of support though, as evidenced by the eight goals registered by Eyrecourt in the provincial final against an Athleague team that only scored two points less than their opponents but could not handle their devastating firepower as the game concluded with an 8-10 to 1-8 scoreline.
Those looking to place some sort of asterisk on that result would be well served to refer to the county final, where Eyrecourt racked up four goals to deny a competitive Mountbellew/Moylough. Paula Kenny and Dunne shook the rigging in the opening half and after their rivals goaled early in the second half, Cora McEvoy and Laura Loughnane raised green flags to take the steam out of any potential comeback.
Eyrecourt can also call on the services of two-time All-Star and one of the country’s best goalkeepers, Susan Earner – another who fitted a December wedding into her tight sporting schedule.
The path of Tyrone contingent Eglish through the Ulster championship has provided an indication of the balance to their side. The rearguard effort in the semi-final was monumental, as they held Liatroim scoreless in the second half, allowing them to turn a four-point interval advantage to a nine-point victory, despite the forward stuttering.
The attackers repaid the debt in the final, with a power-packed display proving too much for Derry outfit Glen, as they claimed a first Ulster title in 24 years.
Ulster Intermediate player of the year Ciara Donnelly is captain and leading scorer, while minor starlet Leanne Donnelly has been a revelation. Ciara McGready and Maria Jordan – another who has walked down the aisle lately – are other focal points of Martin Curry’s side.
AIB All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Semi-Finals
Sunday January 31st
Cahir (Tipperary) v Tullaroan (Kilkenny)
St. Lachtain's GAA, Freshford, Co. Kilkenny
Throw-in: 2pm
Referee: Cathal Egan (Cork)
Eglish (Tyrone) v Eyrecourt (Galway)
Coralstown/Kinnegad GAA, Co. Westmeath
Throw-in: 2pm
Referee: Liz Dempsey (Kilkenny)
Ticket Prices:
Adults – €10
Students/OAPs – €5
U18s – €2
U12s – FREE


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