Clonduff fight back to secure All-Ireland camogie final berth
All-Ireland Cmaogie Club Intermediate semi-finals
Coralstown Kinnegad : Clonduff (Down) 1-8 Craughwell (Galway) 0-9
Gaillltír (Waterford) 3-8 St Rynagh's (Offaly) 0-12
CLONDUFF overturned a two-point interval deficit at Coralstown/Kinnegad ground in Westmeath to qualify for the All-Ireland Intermediate final at the expense of Galway champions Craughwell.
This was a really tough game, fought at a really intense pace and dominated by the respective free-takers, Paula O'Hagan and Leanne Freaney.
Indeed the Craughwell centre-forward was very accurate over the hour, picking off eight of her side's nine points from placed balls. She only missed one free, the sliotar slicing off her hurl in the 52nd minute when she had closed the game down to a single point.
Clonduff didn't earn as many frees within scoring range, but nevertheless Paula O'Hagan hit the target on five occasions and added a sixth point from play during the first half when the south Down side were facing into a stiff breeze.
They hit a couple of early wides into that breeze and generally took a while to settle, but it was obvious from early in the tie that Sara-Louise Carr was going to cause problems. Her work-rate was first class, she was strong under the high ball and probably edged the race for Player of the Match.
The Clonduff defence played well overall – just one score from open play will back that up – and they will argue against the soft nature of some of the frees awarded. But immediately after Sara Louise fired home her goal, Craughwell earned a couple of easy points to get back into the tie and that left it just a little more difficult to see out the victory.
Leanne Freaney picked off a couple of late frees near the break to put Craughwell into a 0-6 to 0-4 interval lead, with Isabelle O'Hare and Paula O'Hagan (3) on the mark for the Ulster champions.
Paula added two more frees on the re-start before in the 39th minute she drove one from distance into the area. It was blocked out but Sara Louise Carr volleyed to the net and a three points' lead.
Clonduff, with the wind on their backs for the second period, began to take control, but a couple of silly frees conceded left them hanging on. When Paula O'Hagan hit the target once more, Freaney brought it back to a single point with less than ten minutes to run.
Then came her sliced effort that would have tied the game. A minute later Orla Gribben mishit a clear effort for a goal, but she managed to pick up the sliotar, open a little space for herself and lift it over the bar.
There were chances after that at either end, but that was the last score and Clonduff were through to a Croke Park date for the first time.
In the March 3rd double-header with the senior decider between Slaughtneil and St Martin's of Wexford, they will meet another first-time finalist in Gaill Tír, after the Waterford representatives defeated St Rynagh's in Cashel by 3-8 to 0-12.
Siobhán Flannery was unerringly accurate for the Offaly outfit but Clodagh Carroll struck the decisive blow with Gaill Tír's third goal, backing up the excellence play of Annie Fitzgerald and Áine Lyng.
Clonduff : K Haughey, N O'Hagan, J Boden, N Murray, S Murphy, F Carr, C McGilligan, P O'Hagan (0-6, 0-5 frees), C Cowan, I O'Hare (0-1), O Gribben (0-1), K McGilligan, B Fitzpatrick, SL Carr (1-0), C Fitzpatrick.
Subs: M O'Reilly for C Fitzpatrick (45), L Wilson for N Murray (49), E Rafferty for I O'Hare (60).
Craughwell : S Burke, S Freaney capt., E Gaffney,C Forde, Linda Porter, L Gilligan, Laura Porter, S McCartin, C Reidy, E Waters, L Freaney (0-8 frees), S Gaffney (0-1), M Dunphy, K Stephens, T Stephens.
Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues Division 1 Offaly 1-05 Clare 0-10 Kilkenny 1-15 Dub-lin 0-06 Cork v Wexford- GAME CALLED OFF Galway 1-14 Tipperary 1-06
CARRIE DOLAN shot 10 points as Galway got their Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 1 campaign off to a flying start under new manager Cathal Murray with a 1-14 to 1-6 win over Tipperary at The Ragg.
Cáit Devane's absence from the Tipperary team was keenly felt while Dolan was on fire land-ing four frees and two more points from play as the Maroons led at the interval by 0-8 to 2.
An Ailish O'Reilly goal in the 46th minute, after a blistering run by Niamh Hanniffy, made a home victory very unlikely indeed but Tipperary responded immediately, Eilish McDonald racing clear for a hand-passed goal.
However the gap had grown too wide and the Premier county slumped to a second defeat Kilkenny produced a storming second-half in Callan to overturn an interval lead of 0-6 to 0-5 for visiting Dublin.
After the break they imposed them-selves on the game, keeping Dublin scoreless and relentlessly opening up a significant gap at the other end. Danielle Morrissey, Denise Gaule, Miriam Walsh and Player of the Year, Anne Dalton were multiple scorers and a 60th minute goal by Katie Nolan iced the cake for the Cats.
Offaly also fell to a second consecutive narrow away defeat, this time to Clare, in Whitegate, by 0-10 to 1-5. Clare led by 0-5 to 0-3 lead at the change of ends.
A 39th minute goal from Michaela Morkan brought the Faithful girls level, and Morkam then put Mike Wall's crew ahead with nine minutes left.
However Clare found another gear, finishing as they started with three points, this time from Eimear Kelly, Bridin Dinan and Susan Fahy to bag the spoils.
In the same group Cork's game with Wexford was postponed late on Friday evening.