BY KIERAN McCARTHY
AND DARAGH Ó CONCHÚIR
MOIRA Barrett has been on cloud nine this week.
Surreal is the word she uses.
In her four years with various Cork underage camogie teams she had never won anything – but all that changed for the Ballinascarthy player last Saturday.
Now she will be remembered as captain of the Cork minor camogie team that won the All-Ireland minor A camogie title by four points against Galway in MacDonagh Park, Nenagh.
This is Cork’s first victory in this grade since it was changed to U18 from U16 in 2006.
It was a moment of history, with three Carbery players involved – captain Moira Barrett and Newcestown duo Ashling O’Donovan and Ciara O’Sullivan.
‘It’s been so surreal,’ Barrett says.
‘We had never won anything ever with Cork and I’ve been involved for four seasons. We’ve been training three times a week since I was nearly in second year so for all the work to pay off in my last year underage was unbelievable.
‘It was an amazing feeling.’
What was also amazing was the homecoming the victorious Cork team received in Ballinascarthy on Saturday evening after the match.
They are memories that will live long.
‘There was a big crowd waiting for us in Bal. It was so nice to get off the bus and hear “We are the Champions” playing,’ Bandon Grammar student Barrett recalls.
‘Then we got up on the Henry Ford car for a picture and it was into the hall in Bal after that where we were all called up onto the stage individually. It was really special.
‘Everyone came back to my house after that!’
Against Galway, the Leesiders began well, moving into an early three-point lead after Ciara O’Sullivan took a pass from Cliona Healy to score in the opening minute.
Niamh Niland levelled for Galway from a seventh-minute free but points from Healy (free), Emma Murphy and Hannah O’Leary put some daylight between the sides.
That advantage didn’t last long however as Galway were level from the next attack, Chloe Reilly providing the lethal goal finish worthy of the sumptuous pass by Galway’s other senior star, Siobhán McGrath.
The Tribeswomen were in front immediately after, Niamh Horan finishing on the run from the left. Saoirse McCarthy landed a whopping point from a 60m free to settle Cork and bring them level, and it was nip and tuck from there to the interval. On three occasions Cork moved in front thanks to Reilly and McCarthy (twice) but Horan, Niland and Horan once more ensured that the teams were deadlocked at the break, on 0-8 to 1-5. McCarthy and Moira Barrett edged Cork ahead once more but Galway had their best patch of the game to get their noses in front by the 38th minute, thanks to points from Reilly and a Niland brace. Tegan Canning stretched the lead to two and Lorraine Larkin’s crew had all the momentum.
Cork have finished strongly in most of their games however and they found another level to turn this game on its head. Jerry Wallace introduced Rachel O’Regan and the Carrigaline forward had a huge impact, scoring two points and setting up another for Fiona Keating.
McGrath kept Galway in touch with a couple of pointed frees but the westerners could not break down the opposition defence and instead, McCarthy continued her accurate shooting from placed balls to confirm a memorable Leeside success.
Cork: S McCarthy 0-6 (5f), M Barrett 0-3, C Healy (2f), F Keating, R O’Regan 0-2 each, C O’Sullivan, H O’Leary, E Murphy 0-1 each.
Cork: S Ahern (Ballygarvan); O Keating (Ballincollig), M Cotter (Aghabullogue), E Buckley (Na Piarsaigh); L Doyle (Charleville), L Hayes (St Catherines), E O’Regan (Ballygarvan); S McCarthy (Courcey Rovers), H O’Leary (Ballincollig); F Keating (Courcey Rovers), M Barrett (Ballinascarthy), C O’Sullivan (Newcestown); C Healy (Aghabullogue), E Murphy (Glen Rovers), A Hurley (St Catherines).
Subs: R O’Regan (Carrigaline) for H O’Leary, S Bateman (Cloughduv) for C O’Sullivan (39), O Cremin (Blarney) for C Healy (45), C Murphy (Carrigaline) for L Doyle (55).