Sacred Heart, Clonakilty 3-14
Coláiste na Toirbhirte, Bandon 2-3
IT was a first-ever county senior A camogie title for Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty, on Friday last in Ahamilla when they scored a comprehensive win over an understrength Coláiste na Toirbhirte Bandon side.
In winning the Merriman Cup, which was first played for in 1918, Clonakilty became the first school from West Cork to capture the county senior A camogie title.
On the way to the title Clonakilty had already beaten Coláiste Choilm and Coachford, who had accounted for the last nine titles between them.
‘This is the first time we have ever won this championship,’ said a delighted Clonakilty coach Ciarán Mulcahy.
‘We did play in A before but always seemed to come up against Coláiste Choilm or Coachford, who were too strong. We actually beat both this year.
‘We had girls from six different clubs on the team and they really gelled well. We must acknowledge the part played by the clubs in the promotion of camogie in West Cork.
‘This team is built on last year’s U16 team that won the All-Ireland title and they are all excellent hurlers. They have great spirit and work very hard for each other. It’s into a Munster semi-final now.’
From the start, against the strong breeze, Clonakilty grabbed control at midfield, with the outstanding Hannah Sexton being well assisted by the strong Daire O’Brien. The supply of ball going into the forwards wasn’t wasted as the Clon full-forward line of Eimear O’Brien, Katelyn Dineen and Anna Flynn accounted for 2-11 between them over the hour.
Flynn hit the first point, with the accurate free-taker Kately Dineen getting a pair, and O’Brien getting a fourth. Sexton made it 0-5 to nil after ten minutes and the Clon girls were in control.
All-Ireland winning Cork minor star Ciara O’Sullivan began to show her class at midfield for Bandon, well-supported by Siobhán Kelleher, Emma Tarrant and Ciara O’Donovan in defence, as exchanges really toughened up in the soft conditions. O’Sullivan pointed a free for Bandon’s opening score, a feat she was to repeat in 20th minute for Bandon’s only scores in the first half.
In the meantime, Dineen had stretched Clon’s lead with two pointed frees and even though they lost outstanding captain and centre back, Cork player Claire Kingston, through illness, the winners struck a vital blow in the 28th minute when Eimear O’Brien reacted fastest to finish the ball to the net after goalkeeper Cliodhna Prendergast had saved well from Anna Flynn. O’Brien followed with a point and it was Clonakilty in front by 1-8 to 0-2 at the break.
The breeze died considerably in the second half and Bandon played much better despite the tiring conditions. With Ciara O’Sullivan emerging as the dominant figure in the middle of the pitch, Bandon began to apply more pressure after Clon had stretched their lead with points from Flynn and Dineen, and they were rewarded with a goal from Aoibhe Sheehan. Another point from a Dineen free had Clon ahead by 1-11 to 1-2 at the end of the third quarter.
Clon began the last quarter with a superb solo point from Daire O’Brien and they stretched the lead with a point from Eimear O’Brien, who followed with a smashing goal in the 56th minute.
Bandon refused to cave in despite the large deficit and a Caoimhe McCarthy point was followed by a tremendous solo goal from the lion-hearted Ciara O'Sullivan in the 60th minute.
However, it was the winners who had the final say when a sweet Millie Condon point was followed by a kicked goal from substitute Katie O’Driscoll. Condon, Caoimhe Murphy, Roisín Dullea, Maeve Kingston and Lydia Sutton were others to impress for Clonakilty as they emerged champions for the first time.
Scorers - Sacred Heart: Eimear O’Brien 2-3; Katelyn Dineen 0-6 (4f); Katie O’Driscoll 1-0; Anna Flynn 0-2; Millie Condon, Daire O’Brien, Hannah Sexton 0-1 each. Coláiste na Toirbhirte: Ciara O’Sullivan 1-2 (2f); Aoibhe Sheehan 1-0; Caoimhe McCarthy 0-1.
Sacred Heart: Síofra Patwell (Ballinascarthy); Annie Condon (do.), Emma O’Driscoll (Enniskeane), Grace Tobin (Barryroe); Jessica McCarthy (do.), Daire O’Brien (Enniskeane), Hannah Sexton (Kilbrittain/Timoleague); Millie Condon (Ballinascarthy), Caoimhe Murphy (Kilbree); Lydia Sutton (Clonakilty), Eimear O’Brien (Enniskeane), Anna Flynn (Ballinascarthy), Katelyn Dineen (Kilbrittain/Timoleague). Subs: Maeve Kingston (Ballinascarthy) for C Kingston (18), Katie O’Driscoll (Clonakilty) for L Sutton (47), Mary Murphy (Kilbree) for G Tobin (50), Claire Tobin (Barryroe) for A Condon (53), L Sutton for D O’Brien (55).
Coláiste na Toirbhirte: Cliodhna Prendergast (Valley Rovers); Aoibhinn Wilson (Newcestown), Siobhan Kelleher (do.), Ciara O’Donovan (Enniskeane); Eimear Dineen (Newcestown), Emma Tarrant (do.), Saoirse Fleming (Enniskeane); Eibhlin Mangan (do), Ciara O’Sullivan (Newcestown); Deirdre Browne (Enniskeane), Caoimhe Wilson (Newcestown), Caoimhe McCarthy (do.); Orla Barrett (do.), Aoibhe Sheehan (Enniskeane), Shannon Ahern (Kilbrittain/Timoleague). Subs: Ellen Murphy (Kilbrittain/Timoleague) for S Ahern (26), Alanna Corcoran (Courcey Rovers) for E Mangan (54), Laoise Collins (Valley Rovers) for C Wilson (55), Rachel Butler for D Browne (55).
Referee: Michael O’Mahony (Kilbrittain).