Daragh Ë Conch·ir reports on the clash of defending league champions Wexford and Tipperary in the Irish Daily Star league semi-final
Wexford set up a repeat pairing of last year’s All-Ireland final when proving just too strong for an up-and-coming Tipperary in the goal-scoring department in the second Irish Daily Star camogie league semi-final at Nowlan Park.
In the process, the Model County contingent gave themselves a chance of defending the first half of their 2010 double and on this evidence, they may take stopping.
Tipperary actually had the better of the opening quarter but shot six wides in that period. Though Clare Grogan converted two frees, Una Leacy struck for the first of her two goals from a fifth minute ground shot and so gave her side a one-point advantage.
There were signs of defensive frailty in Tipp though and having escaped a warning from the previous attack, they were punished in the 17th minute when Kelly ghosted into oceans of space to shoot to the roof of the net. Two minutes later, Katrina Parrock hand-passed a third goal and the gap was 10 points.
The Premier continued to play well though. Last year’s U16 star Sarah Fryday showed a good touch to start a run of four consecutive points that was concluded with the score of the day by Jill Horan. The Cashel midfield showed scorching speed to leave a couple of Wexford girls in her wake before swinging over on the run from 45m.
Just six points separated the sides at the change of ends, with Wexford winning by 3-4 to 0-7 but JJ Doyle’s charges showed all their experience, and the killer instinct that comes with it to settle this tie in the next 11 minutes
Lenny Holohan fired over a nice point before Kelly converted two frees and when Leacy pounced on a breaking ball before gathering and lashing home her second goal, the margin was 12.
Tipp deserve plenty of credit though for plugging away and they were nowhere near as loose-marking in the second half as they were in the first. And they always looked dangerous at the other end of the pitch, registering six of the game’s remaining 11 points.
Fryday and Amy Kennedy caused Wexford’s defence quite a few difficulties, with the latter’s direct running after her interval introduction notable. Meanwhile Horan’s mobility brought her a second half brace.
For Wexford, team captain Ursula Jacob was introduced in the 38th minute and she was clearly keen to make an impression, hitting three points and allowing her team to cruise to a comfortable success.
Wexford: M D’Arcy; C O’Connor, C O’Loughlin, N Lambert; L Bolger, M Leacy, A O’Connor; D Codd, K Kelly; B Gordon, E Quigley, M O’Leary; L Holohan, U Leacy, K Parrock. Subs: K Atkinson for A O’Connor (ht); J Dwyer for Gordon (ht); U Jacob 0-1 for Holohan (38); C Storey for Bolger (38); F Kavanagh for O’Leary (38)
Tipperary: R Bourke; S Ryan, S Larkin, M Tynan; J McGrath, J Kirwan, M Ryan; J Horan, M Short; J Ryan, C Grogan, A Lonergan; D Dunne, N Walsh, S Fryday. Subs: A Kennedy (0-2) for Dunne (ht); M Graham for J Ryan (41); C Quirke for S Ryan (46); B Quinn for Lonergan (48)
Referee: F McNamara (Clare)
Daragh Ë Conch·ir reports from Nowlan Park on the clash of Galway and Kilkenny in this year’s Irish Daily Star league semi-final
Galway talisman Veronica Curtin struck for a winning point right on the hour to break Kilkenny’s hearts and snatch a place in the Irish Daily Star camogie league final for the westerners in a dramatic conclusion to the first semi-final at Nowlan Park yesterday.
Curtin was the only player on the pitch with an All-Ireland senior medal, won 15 years ago, so no-one was surprised when she popped up with the clinching point.
The Kinvara woman was central to Galway’s second half comeback but it must have been heart-breaking for Kilkenny to lose, as the 60th minute winner was the only time Galway led in the entire game.
The Tribeswomen were very poor in the first half however although one should not detract from the efforts of Kilkenny, who were by far the more dynamic unit in the opening period.
Ann Downey’s crew led from the second minute when Aoife Neary pointed a free. The same player saw another shot from a placed ball go all the way to the net 11 minutes later and Galway were largely reliant on Aislinn Connolly to remain in touch, the Castlegar forward shooting four of their first half points as they trailed 1-6 to 0-5 at the interval.
By that stage, Edwina Keane, Katie Power and Marie O’Connor had all added points to Neary’s 1-3 from frees and though goalkeeper Siobhßn Murphy was forced into a smart stop from Noreen Coen, that was the only time the Coen-Curtin axis threatened in the first half.
It was a completely different story after the resumption, with Noel Finn introducing team captain Brenda Hanney, and her fellow club All-Ireland winner from Killimor, Ann Marie Hayes beginning to dominate at centre-back.
The resultant increased flow of ball towards Curtin and Coen yielded massive dividends, as they shared six points evenly between them.
Galway had pegged the Cats pack within 12 minutes of the throw-in with a brace of points from Coen as well as a Connolly 45 and Curtin’s first score of the game.
They were stunned though when a slip by Sarah Dervan gave Kilkenny sub Shelly Farrell a goal chance and she hand-passed to the net in the 45th minute. Neary quickly tagged on a point from a free after a stunning save by Susan Earner from Marie Dargan and Kilkenny were four points up with just over 10 minutes remaining.
That stop kept Galway in the game and Kilkenny failed to score again, while the Connacht girls showed tremendous heart to notch up five points and snatch the garlands.
The first three arrived in two minutes courtesy of Niamh McGrath, Curtin and Coen to give Galway hope and that hope turned to belief when Connolly converted another free in the 57th minute.
By now, momentum was entirely with Galway. Tara Rutledge sent a delivery over Curtin’s head into the right corner but the veteran turned sharply and showed good pace to gather possession. From there, it was all about guile, class and coolness as she turned in on her left side to make space before slotting form 35 metres to grab a spot in the final
Galway: S Earner; R Glynn, S Dervan, S Cahalan; N Kilkenny, AM Hayes, S Keane; O Kilkenny, L Ryan; R Hennelly 0-1, A Connolly 0-6(4fs, 1 45), N McGrath 0-1; V Curtin 0-3, N Coen 0-3, E Kilkelly. Subs: B Hanney for Kilkelly (ht); E Haverty for Ryan (ht); T Rutledge for Hennelly (48)
Kilkenny: S Murphy; C Dormer, C Doherty, J Frisby; G Walsh, E Aylward, D Delaney; L Lyng, K Hamilton; A Neary 1-4(fs), E Keane 0-1, D Gaule; M Dargan, K Power 0-1, M O’Connor 0-1. Subs: S Farrell 1-0 for Power (ht); A Dunphy for Delaney (39); N Maher for Dargan (47)
Referee: M O’Kelly (Cork)