By Daragh Ë Conch·ir
Tara (London) 2-6
Myshall (Carlow) 0-6
Camogie history was made in Ruislip today as Tara became the first London side to reach an All-Ireland club final, when winning their junior semi-final against Myshall.
Not for the first time, the Exiles’ captain, Denise Gilligan, was the scoring star, contributing all bar a goal of her side’s tally.
She wasn’t the only inspiration for the winners though, with goalkeeper Niamh Dolan, full-back Ann Gleeson, centre-back Bid Grennan and wing-forward Helen Murphy also very prominent.
Myshall will make the return journey with plenty of regret though, as they had more than enough possession of the ball, but the failure to turn that into scores as they racked up wide after wide proved telling in the end.
That they didn’t win was certainly through no fault of the Quirke sisters, Niamh and Ciara – whose mother Nuala shone with Carlow for many years – and excellent midfielder, Ciara Mullins.
It was nip and tuck early on as the teams exchanged scores through Gilligan and Olivia Maye, and then Gilligan and Ciara Quirke
Myshall upped the ante approaching the end of the first quarter and Dolan made the first of a number of good saves before Ciara Quirke, who was a real livewire throughout, put Mark Brennan’s crew in front for the first time.
Gilligan converted her third free shortly afterwards before showing all her experience to pounce on Niamh Quirke’s only mistake of the game in the 21st minute. The towering full-back fumbled a long delivery and it was Gilligan, the two-goal hero when Galway won their only senior All-Ireland in 1996, who swooped to finish with a ground shot.
Myshall continued to waste scoring chances but Mullins did point before Gilligan converted her fourth free, leaving Tara in front at the change of ends, 1-4 to 0-4.
Once again, the visitors threw everything at the London girls but two points from Maye was the extent of their return.
Despite that, they were still only a goal in arrears as a Gilligan brace was as much as Tara could manage at the other end.
With the winners’ defence performing heroics, Myshall could not break them down and an injury time goal from Meabh Brennan confirmed Tara’s appearance in a first ever All-Ireland final tomorrow week.
Scorers – Tara: D Gilligan 1-6 (0-5fs); M Brennan 1-0
Myshall: O Maye 0-3(2fs); C Quirke 0-2; C Mullins 0-1
Tara: N Dolan; N Keating, A Gleeson, S Fernandes; C Higgins, B Grennan, K Fitzpatrick; M Brennan, R Cusack; H Murphy, J Hamilton, Y Donnelly; A Kenneally, D Gilligan, G Hamilton.
Myshall: S Ryan; F Jordan, N Quirke, J Joyce; P Whelan, K Nolan, MairÚad Doyle; C Mullins, T Wilson; O Jordan, K Foley, Marian Doyle; R Mullins, O Maye, C Quirke
Referee: G McGough (Dublin)