By Daragh Ó Conchúir
CORK will be doubly represented at Croke Park on Finals’ Day for the second year in a row following a powerful second-half display in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship Semi-Final at Donaghmore Ashbourne.
The Rebels fell in both Senior and Intermediate deciders last year but on this evidence, will take a lot of stopping in this grade at least at HQ on September 10.
This was a repeat of the Division 2 League Final, which Cork won by 14 points but Derry managed to keep it very tight for the majority of the first half, when there were just six points scored until injury time and the teams were level on three occasions, with never more than a point between them.
Karen Kielt got things under way with a pointed free after two minutes and it took seven minutes for Keeva McCarthy to respond from a placed ball.
Kielt restored Derry’s slender advantage from 50m almost immediately but Cork grinded their way to the front, Maeve McCarthy providing the game’s first score from play with a neat finish on the run and Keeva McCarthy doing the honours from another free.
Again it was Kielt who was on target for the Oak Leafers to restore parity and that was how it remained until the first minute of additional time, when Katelyn Hickey fed Collins and the Courcey Rovers attacker found the Derry net.
In the context of what had occurred until then, and arriving as it did just before half time, this had the feeling of being a key moment as it put Cork 1-3 to 0-3 ahead.
Keeva McCarthy and Kielt exchanged pointed frees but Cork began to find a few more space in the Derry half as the game progressed and the Ulster women had to push forward.
Collins, Caroline Sugrue and Maeve McCarthy put six between them and though Aileen McCusker became only the second Derry player to score in the 46th minute, it was a momentary respite as Collins pounced for her second goal two minutes later.
That knocked the stuffing out of Ciarán Cunningham’s side and his Cork counterpart Paudie Murray was able to enjoy the closing quarter considerably more than was the case 24 hours earlier, when the seniors just held out against Galway.
Keeva McCarthy (two) and Finola Neville kept the scoreboard moving and the game was into injury time when Kielt grabbed her fifth point for the honest but outgunned Derry.
SCORERS FOR CORK: L Collins 2-1; K McCarthy 0-5(4fs), M McCarthy 0-2; C Sugrue, F Neville 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR DERRY: K Kielt 0-5(fs); A McCusker 0-1
CORK: A Lee, L Weste, S Harrington, N Ní Chaoimh, R Kileen, S Buckley, L Callanan, F Neville, J Barry, K Hickey, K McCarthy, M McCarthy, R O’Shea, L Collins, C Sugrue
DERRY: N McQuillan, S Donaghy, B Ní Chaiside, R Bradley, A McCusker, A Ní Chaiside, G McNicholl, A McAllister, K Kielt, A Quinn, É Ní Chaiside, Á Kelly, D O'Kane, M Hegarty, M McNicholl
REFEREE: J Dermody (Westmeath)