By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Cork captain, Rachel Harty made no bones about how disappointed she was by the general level of her team’s performance when they needed a phenomenal injury-time equaliser by Cliona O’Leary from a 70m free to snatch a draw in the Very Camogie League Division 2B final last weekend and the Rebels certainly found an extra gear to be successful in today’s replay, making no mistake to record a 2-15 to 0-13 triumph over Kilkenny at The Ragg.
Harty was player of the match in the drawn encounter and provided huge leadership once more as Cork came away with League silverware, following the defeat of their seniors in the Division 1A final last Sunday.
The most significant scores were goals from the always threatening Clíona O’Callaghan and Lauren Homan, who usually lines out at corner of full-forward but earned player-of-the-match garlands in this encounter by scoring 1-5 from the wing.
Danielle Morrissey shot seven points for Kilkenny, six from placed balls, and the former senior player worked ferociously too. And in fairness, there was no shortage of effort from the entire Noreside representation.
Unlike seven days previously however, when they were seconds away from glory, Seamus Kelly’s charges never got their noses in front. The teams were level three times in the first quarter, with Lucy Allen and Morrissey shooting a pair of points each for their sides, and four times in all in the first half.
Homan shot three points in that opening period and her third nudged Cork ahead by 0-7 to 0-6 at half-time.
Kilkenny kept nipping at Cork’s heels and were level twice more, Claire Doheny and Caroline Kennedy splitting the posts either side of a Rose Murphy score but Trevor Coleman’s crew separated themselves with a fruitful seven minutes soon after.
Harty gave Cork the lead before Homan raised the white flag twice, once from with her third converted free. Then came a 43rd minute goal from O’Callaghan, which was a peach.
It started as Lucy Doyle played a considered ball down the flank to favour Allen. The clever Sarsfields attacker gathered and turned before providing another lovely delivery in front of O’Callaghan. The full-forward still had plenty to do when she grasped the sliotar with Jenny O’Dea at close quarters, but a side-step earned some space to run towards the goals and rifle an unstoppable shot past Clíona Murphy.
Morrissey kept the Cats in touch with a couple of pointed frees but O’Callaghan raced through for two of her own and then latched onto a delivery from Harty to place Homan brilliantly for an emphatically finished goal with 56 minutes elapsed.
There would be no way back from that for Kilkenny and the honours were headed Leeside.