Powerful first-half display lays platform for victory
SHIRLEY MOLONEY REPORTS
CARBERY booked their place in the last eight of the SE Systems Cork Camogie Senior Championship – and a date against Sarsfields this weekend – but not before surviving a stern second-half test from Ballincollig at Brinny last Sunday.
At half time Carbery led by ten points after a one-sided opening 30 minutes in this Round 3 clash, however Ballincollig rallied and gave a mammoth second-half display that forced the divisional side to dig deep to stay in front.
The reward for Carbery is a quarter-final spot against Sarsfields (who beat Milford by 1-13 to 1-7 last weekend) this Sunday – and this will be another tough test.
‘Sars will be hot favourites going in, they’ve been around the block and they have some excellent players,’ Carbery captain and goalkeeper Eimear White says.
Still, Carbery can take plenty of learnings from last weekend’s win against Ballincollig, there was the impressive first-half display followed by an off-colour second-half performance, but what stood out was the collective spirit of the divisional side.
‘We had a fantastic start and we looked like a club team with our inter-play, our forwards worked really well and our backs were on top, but we like to make hard work of it,’ White says.
‘In the second half we fell asleep and lost a bit of momentum. I know we were well up at half time but we didn’t kill the game off.
‘We fought until the very end and what was rewarding to see was that for a divisional team who is together every now and then, we were like a club team – our backs were so tight, we fought for every ball and we had a never-say-die attitude.
‘I saw Orla Cronin, Libby Coppinger and Ciara O’Sullivan inside in our full-back line towards the end which is a testament to our work-rate. The hunger is there.’
It was Carbery who were first on the scoreboard courtesy of influential Cork senior Orla Cronin when she fired over the first of six placed balls. Maeve Lynch pushed the West Cork outfit two clear before Hannah O’Leary got Ballincollig up and running with a free.
Carbery’s response was to score three unanswered points via Ciara O’Sullivan, Tara Sheehan and Moira Barrett, as they led 0-5 to 0-1 after just six minutes. Scores from Cronin (free) and Libby Coppinger stretched the lead to six.
After Ballincollig’s Patrica Buttimer saw her drilled, low 30-metre free cleared, her side won a free that O’Leary converted.
Two Cronin frees either side of a superb Sheehan point pushed the Carbery lead out to eight after 20 minutes. Cronin and Orla McCarthy exchanged scores before Sheehan, who was in sublime form, drilled over a great effort on the run to send Carbery nine clear. There was still time for Ciara O’Sullivan to add another as Carbery led 0-13 to 0-03 at half time.
Maeve Lynch increased the Carbery lead to 11 early in the second half, but Ballincollig were growing into the game and hit back with three frees in a five-minute spell from O’Leary (2) and Buttimer.
After Cronin and O’Leary traded frees, Carbery struck for a goal in the 39th minute. Ballincollig goalkeeper Anna Hartnett initially brought down a high ball but failed to control it and when it spilled across the goal-line Hannah Sexton was on hand to pull on the ground to the net to push Carbery 1-15 to 0-7 ahead.
From here to the end, Ballincollig outscored Carbery by 1-6 to 0-2. Sheehan and McCarthy exchanged points before O’Leary, Buttimer and Denise Cronin cut the gap to 1-16 to 0-11 at the three-quarter mark.
A Cronin long-range free extended Carbery’s lead to 1-17 before Buttimer’s brace cuttrimmed the Carbery lead to seven points with nine minutes left. In the 55th minute, Ballincollig goaled when a long-range Buttimer free bounced in the square and went over the head of Carbery goalkeeper Eimear White. The gap was now just four points, 1-17 to 1-13. One minute later Buttimer floated in a free from 45 metres, but the Carbery defence dealt with the threat and cleared their lines.
Carbery held firm in the closing minutes to deservedly advance to the county quarter-finals and they’ll hope to create some momentum off the back of this win.
Carbery: O Cronin 0-7 (6f); T Sheehan 0-4; H Sexton 1-0; C O’Sullivan, M Lynch 0-2 each; M Barrett, L Coppinger 0-1 each.
Ballincollig: P Buttimer 1-4 (1-3f); H O’Leary 0-6 (6f); O McCarthy 0-2; D Cronin 0-1.
Carbery: E White (Barryroe, captain); A O’Donovan (Newcestown), D Carroll (Enniskeane), A Crowley
(Kilbrittain/Timoleague), M Murphy (Kilbrittain/Timoleague), C Kingston (Ballinascarthy), M Sexton (Barryroe); M Lynch (Newcestown), L Coppinger (St Colum’s); H Sexton (Kilbrittain/Timoleague), O Cronin (Enniskeane), M Barrett (Ballinascarthy); T Sheehan (Enniskeane), C O’Sullivan (Newcestown), S Burke (Kilbrittain/Timoleague).
Subs: K Wall (Kilbrittain/Timoleague) for M Lynch (40), D O’Brien (Enniskeane) for M Murphy (46), M Coppinger (St Colum’s) for A O’Donovan (46), S Hurley (Enniskeane) for M Barrett (59)
Ballincollig: A Hartnett; M O’Leary, S Keating, C Healy; D Cronin, S Buckley, A Cotter; L Dorgan (captain), H O’Leary; O McCarthy, S Coomey, P Buttimer; O Keating, C Hennigan, A Lovett.
Referee: G Ahern.