Hurling and camogie

Down camogs battle through to All-Ireland final

Down secured their place in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate final in Croke Park on September 9th
Séamas McAleenan

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Championship semi-final: Down 1-13 Tipperary 2-8

AS THEY have done since their mid-season revival, Down battled their way to another milestone victory in Kinnegad when they took the lead over Tipperary for the first time with a 58th minute goal and faced the Premier County down through six minutes added for injury-time to secure their place in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate final in Croke Park on September 9th.

It was all blood and guts from every Red and Black warrior as they fought their way back from a 1-7 to 0-4 interval deficit to reach the final for the first time since the county’s only success in the grade in 1998.

Down team manager, Martina Rooney, while still delighted to reach the All-Ireland final, was calm and measured in her comments immediately after an edge-of-the-seat battle of wits with Tipperary.

“I think that the better team won. It took us a while to get into that position, but when we got there, there was no chance of a late Tipperary score denying us.

“We tried things in the first half and they didn’t come off. Fionnuala (Carr) on the edge of the square never got a chance because we didn’t give her the right ball. We had too many wides and too many balls dropping short into the ‘keeper’s hand.

“Tipperary profited from our mistakes and we contributed to them leading at half-time with fouls and mistakes,” summarised the Mayobridge club player.

“When we changed for the second half, we pegged them back gradually and wore them down.”

The management ploy of placing captain Fionnuala Carr at full-forward may have caused a little confusion during the opening 10 minutes, but ultimately it failed and when the Clonduff defender was moved back to a more familiar role at centre-half back, the dynamic of the game changed.

Down also moved Nicole Kelly across to mark the dangerous Niamh Treacy and these two changes meant that Tipperary couldn’t get the ball through the channels that were open during the second quarter and Down gradually pegged back the lead until Sara Louise Carr grabbed the all-important goal to move them 1-12 to 2-8. Paula O’Hagan capped the team come-back with an injury-time point.

Neither team could break the early deadlock and after 23 minutes the score-board read 0-3 each, two frees from Niamh Mallon matched by two from Jenny Grace with points from Dearbhla Magee and Niamh Treacy.

Saoirse Sands, a late replacement for Maria Higgins, had the sliotar in the Tipperary net during that period but it was ruled out.

Then there was a spurt from the Munster side coming into the break, points from midfielder Jenny Grace (0-3 frees) and Mary Bourke followed by a 29th minute goal which Grace hand-passed to the net.

However re-grouped and revitalised, Down were a force in the third quarter and scored five points without reply from Niamh Mallon (2), Paula O’Hagan, Sara Louise Carr and Saoirse Sands.

But Grace and Niamh Treacy conjured up a potential hammer-blow in the 45th minute with the latter shooting a second Tipp goal.

Down however responded positively and points from Sara Louise Carr and Niamh Mallon brought them back to 0-12 to 2-8. Then an effort at a point from Mallon was pulled down by Sarah Quigley in the Tipperary goals, but only half-cleared by her defence and Carr was in quickly to blast home.

Paula O’Hagan’s point relieved the late pressure on the defence, but, just as they had done in the Laois and Derry games to get to this stage, the defence dug in and the forwards forced match-winning scores.

Down captain Fionnuala Carr was perhaps a little more relieved to get to the final whistle.

“As Martina said, we tried some things at the start and they didn’t pay off. But you have to look at different things. But I didn’t expect to be so far behind at the break.”

And the Clonduff ace admitted that the half-time changing room was muted.

“Yeah, there wasn’t a word from anyone, it was deathly quiet at the start. As captain I basically said that we could take our beating now or go out and fight our way back into the game and every girl bought into it.

“You could see that from the way we pulled them back in the period after half time.”

In the other semi-final, played in MacDonagh Park Neenagh Cork, who have lost the last two All-Ireland finals, wore Galway down to emerge 0-14 to 0-9 winners.

Down: M McNally, C McGilligan, A Savage, N Kelly, D Magee (0-1), F Carr, O Caldwell, P O’Hagan (0-2), C Rocks, D Savage, A McAleenan, SL Carr (1-2), O Gribben, N Mallon (0-7, 0-5 frees), S Sands (0-1).

Sub: M Higgins for O Gribben (50)

Tipperary: S Quigley, N Murray, S Larkin capt., E Murphy, L Shinners, H McAuliffe, N Loughnane, C Ryan, M Bourke, A Loughnane, J Grace, C Stakelum, Á O’Dwyer, N Treacy, A McLoughney.

Subs: C McIntyre for A Mcloughney (40), S Delaney for C Stakelum (44), G Fox for C McIntyre (54).

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final: Kilkenny 1-10 Galway 1-7

A GOAL in the 48th minute by Katie Power was enough to pull Kilkenny clear of Galway in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie championship semi-final stage in Semple Stadium on Saturday.

Kilkenny then added three quick points from Denise Gaule (two) and Meighan Farrell to stretch their lead to six.

There was some late drama as Rebecca Hennelly drilled a penalty to the net in the fifth minute of injury time to give Galway hope but a stunning catch by Gaule from the westerners' last attack ensured that it was the League champions and the 2017 Championship runners-up that would prevail.

Space was at a premium and defences held sway, which meant that the game never really took off. Two pointed frees from Denise Gaule put Kilkenny ahead and Quilty pounced on a loose clearance to stretch the lead.

However Niamh Kilkenny took a pass from O'Reilly to find the target and then the full-forward was fouled for Dolan to equalise and the teams traded points until Kilkenny led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the change of ends.

The sides were level within eight minutes of the resumption as Dolan converted a couple of placed balls and then she converted a third from wide on the left to give Cathal Murray's crew the lead.

Malone equalised and then did well to gather possession and off-load for Davina Tobin and Shelly Farrell to carry forward for Katie Power to steal in and take the final pass, giving Healy no chance with a hand pass to the net.

That was enough to open a lead and although Galway made them sweat at the end, Anne Downey’s side will contest another All-Ireland decider on a 1-10 to 1-7 score-line

Kilkenny scorers: D Gaule (0-6 frees); K Power (1-1), J Malone (0-1), M Quilty (0-1), M Farrell (0-1)

Galway scorers: C Dolan (0-5 frees); R Hennelly (1-0, pen); N Kilkenny(0-1), A O'Reilly (0-1).

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final: Cork 0-21 Tipperary 0-9

LEADING 0-9 to 0-6 at the break after being well curtailed by Tipperary’s tigerish defending and sweeper, Cork opened their wings in the second half and powered back into the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie final with a confident second half.

Tipperary found out that it is one thing to defend well, but quite another to punch holes in Cork’s defence with Pamela Mackey sticking to the championship's leading scorer Cáit Devane and curtailing her to just five frees and even managing to pop over a long range point herself.

Cork wing half back Chloe Sigerson picked up the Player of the Match award after bursting forward to take three points while there always seemed to be a Cork forward opening space for a pass.

Meanwhile free-taker Orla Cotter was unerring throughout and finished with nine points, while Paudie Murray introduced five subs including the recently-returned Breige Corkery who had given birth to her first child, a son, in April. Corkery is in search of her seventh All-Ireland camogie medal to add to 11 she has taken in football.

Tipp missed two good opportunities to get within touching distance soon after the re-start and were punished as Cork hit four points on the trot.

Dual-player Orla O'Dwyer stopped the rot momentarily but the Lee-siders struck the next five points, including a brace from substitute Linda Collins.

Devane and Fryday did find the target for Tipp before the end but Cork stretched their contribution to eight individual scorers, including a couple from the subs.

Cork scorers: O Cotter (0-9, 0-7 frees); C Sigerson (0-3), K Mackey (0-3), L Collins (0-2) A O'Connor(0-1), O Cronin(0-1), L Homan (0-1), P Mackey (0-1).

Tipperary scorers: C Devane 0-5(fs); Caoimhe Maher, O O'Dwyer, G O'Brien, S Fryday 0-1 each

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