Clare’s hopes of winning a first ever All-Ireland Minor A camogie title were crushed by Cork on Saturday afternoon.
Venue: McDonagh Park, Nenagh
There can be no complaints with the outcome from this clash as Cork retained the Sile McNulty Cup with a commanding performance. Two years ago when these sides met at U16 level, it was Clare that prevailed on a scoreline of 3-10 1-09.
Taking place in the hours after Storm Hannah knocked trees and caused power cuts across Clare, it came as a major surprise that the Banner County were totally unprepared when it came to coping with the conditions that presented themselves in Nenagh.
Playing against a gale force breeze in the opening half, a sweeper positioned between Clare’s full and half-back line was badly needed but never arrived. Instead, some players were brought back to crowd midfield but no one was deployed behind Susan Daly at centre-back to protect their defence. As baffling is the fact that no such measures were implemented considering Clare won the toss and opted to play against the storm.
As well as being superior when it came to skill and striking, Cork outsmarted their counterparts. When against the conditions, Molly Lynch took plenty of time before launching her puckouts while Rachel Daly’s in the opening half were the opposite and no member of management advised the Scariff/Ogonnelloe netminder to delay the game.
It was in the opening half that Cork effectively won the game. Their opening two goals in hindsight could have been prevented and the concession of the three green flags visibly demoralised the girls in saffron and blue.
Killanena’s Lorna McNamara fired over all of Clare’s three points in the first half while Cork mainly through Fiona Keating, Clodagh Finn and Emma Murphy built up a half-time lead of seventeen points.
A spirited and improved second half showing followed from Clare as they limited the Rebelettes to four points and racked up a tally of 2-09. However, had they aspirations of causing a shock comeback, Dervilla Moloney’s side needed to pump ball into their forward line but their long range striking was not as proficient as the reigning champions which hindered their chances of making inroads.
For Clare, the positives to take from this outing are of course the experience of competing in an All-Ireland final and the amount of supporters they had in Tipperary. Michelle Mescall though on the losing side gave as good a display from a corner back for the county minors that has been seen, Lorna McNamara took the fight to the opponents when it was needed having an involvement in the majority of scores while elsewhere Róisín Minouge, Susan Daly and Robyn Conway showed promise.
When in control, Cork came in waves and left the Banner gasping for air, their use of the ball and decision making was more effective. Managed by former Limerick and Cork senior hurling selector, Jerry Wallace, the Leesiders’ best were Emma Murphy, Fiona Keating, Miriam Cotter, Isobella Sheehan and Clodagh Finn who is following in the footsteps of her Fr O’Neills clubmate, Fiona O’Driscoll as a highly skilled freetaker.
1: Molly Lynch (Sarsfields)
2: Sarah O’Keeffe (Ballinora)
3: Miriam Cotter (Aghabullogue)
4: Aoife O’Neill (St Finbarrs)
5: Hannah Sexton (Kilbrittan/Timeoleague)
6: Claire Kingston (Ballinscarthy)
7: Clíona Dooley (Ballinora)
9: Sinéad Hurley (Enniskeane)
8: Isobella Sheehan (Éire Óg)
10: Fiona Keating (Coursey Rovers)
11: Emma Murphy (Glen Rovers)
12: Ciara O’Sullivan (Newcestown)
13: Casey Coleman (Na Piarsaigh)
14: Clodagh Finn (Fr O’Neills)
15: Ellen Murphy (Inniscarra)
18: Ali Smith (Aghada) for Ellen Murphy (25)
20: Hannah O’Leary (Ballincollig) for Hurley (53)
25: Tara Sheehan (Enniskeane) for O’Sullivan (53)
19: Lucy Wallace (Midleton/St Catherines) for Coleman (53)
21: Laura Doyle (Charleville) for O’Neill (55)
1: Rachel Daly (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
2: Gillian Ryan (Tulla)
3: Róisin Minouge (Bodyke)
4: Michelle Mescall (Inagh/Kilnamona)
5: Amy Russell (Éire Óg)
6: Susan Daly (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
7: Sarah Ní Cheallaigh (Kilmaley)
8: Sinéad McGee (Clooney/Quin)
9: Caoimhe Kelly (Kilkishen)
19: Lorna McNamara (Killanena)
11: Greta Hickey (Whitegate)
10: Emily Cahill (Kilmaley)
13: Aoibhín Ryan (Inagh/Kilnamona)
14: Robyn Conway (Feakle)
12: Lynda Daly (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
15: Chloe Neylon (Kilmaley) for Cahill (21)
18: Finia O’Brien (Sixmilebridge) for Ryan (47)
21: Siobhán Lenihan (Kilkishen) for Hickey (59)
Referee: Gavin Donegan (Dublin)