Hurling and camogie

Cork and Kilkenny to battle it out for camogie honours

Daragh O Conchuir

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie semi-final: Cork 2-9 Galway 1-9

CORK withstood a frantic last-quarter rally from Galway to return to the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Final for the fourth consecutive season.

Last year’s runners-up looked to be cruising when points from Katrina Mackey and Hannah Looney within two minutes of the resumption pushed them eight clear.

Astonishingly however, they went 28 minutes without a score and only managed one further point as Galway, driven forward by Aoife Donohue, edged back into proceedings.

Cork lost Gemma O’Connor to an ankle injury in the 46th minute and three minutes later, Galway’s powerful sub Niamh Hanniffy goaled to reduce the margin to three.

Donohue slotted a free nine minutes from the end of regulation time and Galway were making all of the running but Cork defended magnificently, Rena Buckley, Chloe Sigerson and Ashling Thompson ensuring that the Tribeswomen would not find another goal.

Katrina Mackey finally ended the Rebels’ drought right on the hour and despite five minutes of injury time, they held out for a dramatic victory.

Galway’s management pulled a rabbit out of the hat when opting to move their leading scorer Ailish O’Reilly on Gemma O’Connor to prevent the St Finbarr’s talisman from exerting her normal influence.

Orla Cotter appeared to be the chief beneficiary as she got on a lot of ball, while displaying customary accuracy from placed balls.

Cork would have only had themselves to blame had they lost as they wasted four gilt-edged goal chances, including two early in the second half.

In the end though, they did breach the Galway defences twice and that proved the difference between the sides.

The first came as Aoife Murray sent a bullet from a penalty straight and high in the 11th minute, after Niamh McCarthy was dragged down by Rebecca Hennelly.

Cork were well on top for much of that opening period and struck a significant blow just before the change of ends when Cotter scored a splendid solo goal.

The rangy St Catherine’s player reached high above Róisín Black to fetch Murray’s long delivery on the 40m line and cut inside.

She got a sliver of luck when the sliotar rebounded to her after her attempted pass to Hannah Looney was mis-hit and poked to the net to make and though O’Reilly pointed straight after, it was 2-6 to 0-6 at half time.

Galway had the wind in the second half but Looney and Mackey stretched the gap to eight and seemed bound for a comfortable passage to the final.

That was to reckon without the courage of the Galway players but they had left themselves too much to do.

Cork scorers: O Cotter 1-3 (0-fs); A Murray 1-0 (pen); K Mackey 0-2; O Cronin, N McCarthy, A O’Connor, H Looney 0-1 each

Galway scorers: A Donohue 0-4 (3fs); N Hanniffy 1-0; A O’Reilly (1f), O McGrath 0-2 each; N McGrath 0-1

Cork: A Murray, P Mackey, R Buckley, L Treacy, M Cahalane, G O’Connor, C Sigerson, L Coppinger, A Thompson, A O’Connor, O Cronin, O Cotter, H Looney, N McCarthy, K Mackey. Sub: E O’Sullivan for G O’Connor inj (46), J White for A O’Connor (48), L Homan for K Mackey (60+1)

Galway: Sarah Healy, S Dervan, R Black, T Kenny, L Ryan, R Hennelly, H Cooney, A Starr, O McGrath, N McGrath, A O’Reilly, N Kilkenny, S McGrath, M Cooney, A Donohue. Sub: N Hanniffy for M Cooney (40)

Referee: E Cassidy (Derry)

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie semi-final: Kilkenny 2-11 Dublin 0-9

KILKENNY had just a little too much know-how for Dublin but it wasn’t until substitute Jenny Clifford goaled in the third minute of injury time that the champions could be completely assured of a place in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Final.

Managed by former Kilkenny hurling goalkeeper David Herity, the Metropolitans have been the story of this year’s Championship and both the Kilkenny manager Ann Downey and player of the match Anne Dalton heaped praise on them for their efforts.

“I said beforehand that we knew we were in a battle and in fairness they were unbelievable” said Downey on RTÉ2. “We expected that. It was a great game and we’re just delighted to come out at the end of it.

“There was no room, they fought for every ball. We could have had a score or two (more) in the first half but that was just testament to the great backs Dublin have. The work David has done with them, they really have come on in leaps and bounds in the last year or two.”

Downey also had a word for Dalton, who is habitually among the best players for the Noresiders, sweeping between the defensive lines and getting her side’s attacking game under way.

“Anne is a real leader. There were a few hard words at half time and Anne was a giver out of those hard words but she always leads by example. She’s a great player who just drives this team on.”

Dalton insisted that Kilkenny were prepared for the intensity and ferocity of Dublin’s workrate, and paid no heed to loose talk of one-way traffic.

“Most people were saying that it should be an easy run but we played Dublin three times already this year. We played them in May (in the Leinster Championship) and they brought us to extra time. We know the quality team they have. What they have done this year is absolutely unbelievable.

“We were lucky to push it over the line. There’s some aspects of our game we have to look at but we’re just delighted with the win.”

They got off to a dream start when Denise Gaule planted a shot to the corner of the net from a penalty, after Áine Woods had hauled down Miriam Walsh after two minutes.

They could not build on that though and instead, Dublin scored four of the next five points, with Siobhán Kehoe a constant threat and Aisling Maher also visible.

Kilkenny did score the last three points though and led by 1-5 to 0-4 at half time.

Kehoe and Faye McCarthy halved the deficit early in the second half but points from Julieann Malone, Anna Farrell, Michelle Quilty and Meighan Farrell opened up a seven-point gap.

Maher shot two more points to bring her tally to six but Clifford had the last say with her rocket of a finish after good work by fellow sub Jenny Reddy to remove all doubt.

Kilkenny scorers: D Gaule 1-2 (0-1f), D Morrissey 0-3 (1f); J Reddy 1-0; A Farrell, M Quilty, M Farrell, J Malone, M Walsh, K Power 0-1 each

Dublin scorers: A Maher 0-6 (4fs); S Kehoe 0-2, F McCarthy 0-1(f)

Kilkenny: E Kavanagh, C Foley, D Tobin, G Walsh, C Dormer, A Dalton, A Dunphy, M Farrell, A Farrell, J Malone, K Power, D Gaule, S Farrell, M Walsh, D Morrissey. Subs: M Quilty for Power inj (ht), J Clifford for M Walsh (56), M Teehan for Foley (57), J Reddy for Malone (60+1), S Kent for Dunphy (60+1)

Dublin: F McCarthy, A Woods, E O’Brien, G Quinn, H Hegarty, A Carolan, E M Elliott, M Twomey, E McCarthy, A Twomey, A Maguire, E McGovern, E Flanagan, A Maher, S Kehoe. Subs: C Donnelly for Flanagan (43), M Moynihan for Maguire (44), D Mullaney for Twomey (47), E O’Leary for McGovern (58)

Referee: R Kelly (Kildare)

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