Hurling and camogie

Clonduff reclaim Ulster crown with battling win over Eglish

Clonduff captain Jenna Boden (3) celebrates with the team after beating Eglish in the Ulster Intermediate Camogie Club Championship Final at Páirc Esler, Newry on Saturday Picture: Margaret McLaughlin.
Séamas McAleenan at Páirc Esler

AIB Ulster Intermediate Club Camogie Championship final: Clonduff (Down) 1-10 Eglish (Tyrone) 1-7

CLONDUFF returned to the top in Ulster in Páirc Esler on Saturday when they emerged with a three-points victory after a hard fought battle with 2020 provincial champions Eglish.

The Tyrone champions entered the game as underdogs, but took the game to Clonduff and were unlucky to go in at the break on level terms.

They closed down opponents very quickly and chased down loose ball all over the pitch with the Jordans and Aisling Donnelly strong at the back. The Clonduff defence also worked hard in closing down players in possession with Fionnuala Carr and Jena Boden standing tall.

The midfield area saw all four players emerge with a lot of kudos, but it was up front where Clonduff just had a few more players capable of taking a score.

The Down side started the scoring with Paula O’Hagan firing over a 45 conceded after Julie Lagan brought off two excellent saves. However from then on it was Eglish who were calling the response from Clonduff.

They took the lead from 0-2 to 0-1 through to 0-4 each. Then came Casey Gallagher’s goal when she doubled in the air on a long free from Ciara Geoghegan.

Although O’Hagan hit an excellent point from under the stand in response, Geoghegan created and scored an fine point at the other end and Eglish seemed to be heading into the interval with a lead of a goal.

However two minutes into added time Beth Fitzpatrick buried a goal for the Down side. O’Hagan’s long free dropped in around the house and Orla Gribben’s shot sliced across the area to where Fitzpatrick had found space.

The third quarter failed to take off and that despite Julie Lagan saving a penalty from Fionnuala Carr in the first minute.

That score seemed to rally the Tyrone side, but they were getting little change out of the Clonduff defence.

17 minutes into the half, a single point from a free had been added to each team’s half time total. But over the next six minutes Clonduff added three points.

Orla Gribben took an excellent reverse pass from Cassie Fitzpatrick for the first, Fitzpatrick added another and O’Hagan slotted a free from wide on the right.

Ciara Geoghegan replied with a 57th minute free but Sara Louise Graffin’s point from under the stand at the start of added time ensured that her side were heading into an All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry champions Clanmaurice in three weeks.

Clonduff: K McGilligan; E Rafferty, J Boden, N Murray; C Kearney, F Carr, K Morgan; I O’Hare, C McGilligan; C Fitzpatrick (0-1), O Gribben (0-1), B Fitzpatrick (1-0); P O’Hagan (0-6, 04 frees), C Byrne, SL Graffin (0-2)

Subs: O McCusker for C Byrne (47), A Morgan, L Wilson, N Fitzpatrick, C Boden

Eglish: J Lagan, E Conroy, C Jordan, L Mason, A Donnelly, A Jordan, F Farley, C McMullan, L Donnelly, K Gallagher, G Daly (0-1), O Farley (0-1), C Gallagher (1-0), C Geoghegan (0-5, 0-3 frees), C Goodfellow.

Subs : E Holmes for C Goodfellow (h-t), L Conroy for C Gallagher (58)

Referee: EP Cassidy (Derry)