Cork hold off Clare for Minor two-in-a-row
Compiled by Daragh Ó Conchúir
CLODAGH FINN score a goal and eight points, Emma Murphy slotted a brace of goals and player of the match Fiona Keating shot five points as Cork secured a second All-Ireland Minor A Camogie Championship in a row by 3-15 to 2-12 over Clare at MacDonagh Park.
The Rebels were given a huge fright however, as the Banner girls reduced a 17-point deficit at the change of ends by 11 before time ran out.
The impact of the wind could not be underestimated, as Storm Hannah made a slow retreat. Cork were clinical in the opening period with the gale in their favour, leading by 3-11 to 0-3 at half time.
It was the Clodagh Finn Show early on as Cork laid siege to Rachel Daly’s goal. The Fr O’Neills tyro provided the first four points before getting the final touch to make it 1-4 to 0-0 with just seven minutes elapsed.
Lorna McNamara registered Clare’s opening two scores but Dervilla Moloney’s troops were left shellshocked as Murphy grabbed her two majors inside a minute at the start of the second quarter. Keating provided a supplementary trio of points, McNamara Clare’s third but it was looking forlorn for the saffron and blue at that juncture.
Yet they resumed with real intent and when McNamara set up Robyn Conway for a goal in the 36th minute, they were reinvigorated.
McNamara brought her tally to 10 points but Clare needed a goal earlier than when it finally arrived, in the third minute of injury time, the brilliant McNamara providing the assist for Finia O’Brien but Jerry Wallace’s Cork had done enough.
Laois and Limerick will have to do it all again in the Minor B Final, as they could not be separated following a titanic tussle at the opening game in Nenagh.
Once again, the wind was a significant factor but considerable credit must go to both sets of defences, who performed magnificently into the teeth of the gale for it to leave it 0-8 to 1-5 at the change of ends.
The key score in the first half was a fifth-minute Kirsten Keenan goal for Laois, after Keenan and Iris Kennelly had exchanged early points. That gave Robert Jones’s crew something to hold onto and though they ended up trailing at the change of ends, the 0-7 to 1-1 deficit would not have seemed insurmountable.
Enya Harrington slotted four points for Limerick and Kennelly another but a vital clearance by Katie Dunican off the line denied the Shannonsiders what seemed a certain goal.
It was all Laois in the second half but Kevin Connolly would have been delighted with the grit shown by his crew. A couple of frees from Keenan brought Laois within one and when Clodagh Tynan equalised from a 70m free on the three-quarter mark, the O’Moores looks to have it in the bag.
Heroic defence kept them out for 10 minutes but captain, Alice Walshe split the posts to put Laois in front, only for Sinéad McElligott to level within a minute.
Laois did have two chances to snatch it from frees but were unable to take them, with one hitting the upright, and the replay will take place at a yet-to-be-determined venue next Saturday.
In the Minor C Final, Tyrone had too much scoring power for Kerry, prevailing by 3-12 to 0-6 in Crettyard.
The Red Hands did the damage in the first half, when Lára Devlin, Catherine Muldoon and Kaitlín Gallagher goaled to lead by 3-4 to 0-2. From there, it only needed some resolute defending to take the spoils for the first time, though Amy O’Sullivan excelled for Kerry.
Inniskeen Grattans played host to the Minor B Shield decider and the honours were claimed by Down over Meath, by 3-6 to 1-6.