By David Kelly
TOOMEVARA claimed their first piece of silverware this year with a comprehensive 11 point victory over Limerick side Ballyagran at LIT on Sunday.
It was a replay of last year’s Graham Cup competition, which involved teams from all over North Munster playing on a league run basis.
In an evenly contested first half Toomevara led at half time by 1-2 to 4 points, the goal courtesy of Nicole Walsh, who went on to add two fine points in the second half.
Bonnie Kennedy and Noelle Kennedy added two further points for Toomevara, while Sinead McCauley and Sharon O Shaughnessy reduced the deficit to a single point before the break, following earlier points from Ciara Kelleher and Sinead Roache.
However, it was Toomevara’s ability to make use of the prevailing wind in the second half which set them up for a comprehensive win. Noelle Kennedy had Toomevara two points to the good within two minutes from the restart, after good link up play between Elaine Young and Anna Woods.
It was a mixture of Toomevara’s inconsistency in front of goal and Ballyagran pressure which meant that the next score would be vital. After a period of end to end misses and no score for 20 minutes, Toomevara got that all important goal.
Bonnie Kennedy was on hand to pounce onto a pass by Anna Woods following a great run by Chrissy Kenny in midfield. Toome led 2-3 to 0-4 and the game, in truth had drifted beyond Ballyagran’s reach. Anna Woods tipped over another point to extend their lead to two goals.
Nicole Walsh added her second score of the game with a well taken free, while Noelle Kennedy also converted a free, before Nicole Walsh pounced again to fire Toomevara into an unassailable lead.
Ballyagran responded with a point form their full forward Sharon O Shaughnessy, before Toomevara claimed their third goal of the day when Denise Ryan was on hand to rifle the ball to the net, following trojan play by Chrissy Kenny in midfield.
Toomevara’s backline were solid in the second half, keeping Ballyagran to one point from play and acting as a launch pad for their attack. Great performances from youngsters Fiona Young, Trish Ryan, Niamh Kelly in the back line were matched by great play in midfield from Chrissy Kenny and Bonnie Kenny and effective attacking play by Denise Ryan, Noelle Kennedy and spearhead Nicole Walsh in the forward line.
Meanwhile, Ballagran forwards Sinead McCauley and Sharon O Shaughnessy were dangerous in attack, especially in a close first half. Ciara Kelleher and Sinead Roche also were effective in a pulsating first half encounter.
Ballyagran may feel slightly aggrieved after failing to make better use of a stiff wind in the first half, however Toomevara were by far the better side in the second.
Elaine Young capped off the victory with a well taken point a minute from time. Toomevara captain Denise Ryan was presented with the Graham Cup by Joe O Donnell after the game. Toomevara etched their place in history as the first winners of the Cup which was kindly donated by Munster Camogie Secretary, Marion Graham in memory of her mother.
Toomevara: A Ryan, T Ryan, S Rabbitte, N Kelly, L Woods, L Young, F Young, C Kenny, B Kennedy (1-0), L Young, D Ryan (1-0), N Kennedy (0-3), E Young (0-1), N Walsh (1-2), L Woods.
Subs used: N Stapleton for Niamh Kelly (50), A Woods (0-1) for Lena Woods (ht), M Deavaney for Bonnie Kennedy (56), E L Coffey for Elaine Young (56).
Ballyagran: L Malley, A Holihan, A McCaulife, C McNamara, B Dealy, C Kelliher, A Whelan, J Dolan, R Ray, S Roche, C Debhal, S McCaulife, L Fitzgerald, S O Shaughnessy, T O Reilly.
Subs: A McElliot, N Cagney, A Carroll, J O Connor, L Carroll, J White.
Referee: Joe O Donnell.