COIS FARRAIGE REPORTS
CLONAKILTY earned the camogie bragging rights for West Cork when they survived a staunch comeback by fellow West Cork side, Kilbrittain/Timoleague, to lift the county senior B league title in sun-splashed Bandon on Friday evening last.
This was Clonakilty’s first-ever senior title and they earned it the hard way, leading for all but the opening two minutes and having to withstand some fierce Kilbrittain pressure in the second half.
Three times the Black and Amber closed the gap to a single point in a thrilling second half but each time the Clon girls responded to hold onto their lead and in the closing minutes they bounced back for the match-clinching scores.
Instrumental for Clon in keeping a vital clean sheet was the goalkeeping of Cork minor shot-stopper Mary Hurley, who brought off some great saves and was rock-steady all through. Her opposite number Amanda Desmond also distinguished herself between the posts in the second half, denying Clon a third goal on more than one occasion.
There was little between the sides in a well-contested first half as Sinead O’Neill and young Orla Lowney fought a great midfield duel with Marian and Caroline Murphy. An opening point by Kilbrittain’s Lorraine Dineen was answered by Clon full forward Aoife Deasy, whose strength was causing problems for the opposing defence.
Sinead O’Neill put Clon in front, a lead they were never to lose subsequently, and the first goal arrived in the sixth minute when Clon combined well with lively centre forward Marie O’Donovan finishing to the net.
Marian Murphy’s fine free-taking was a strong feature of Kilbrittain’s challenge and she pointed the first of her five placed balls, with speedy corner forward Orla Fahy adding a point from play.
Clon, with slightly less possession, were more economical up front, where Deasy, Juanita Brennan, Aine O’Leary and Marie O’Donovan were to the fore and they struck for a second goal in the 15th minute when Orla Lowney first-timed the sliotar to the net through a crowd of players.
It was looking good for Clon now, five points to the good entering the second quarter, especially when goalkeeper Mary Hurley brought off a superb save from Kilbrittain’s Michaela Holland.
Murphy pointed the resulting 65 and then pointed a free to cut the lead to three. Points were swapped, subsequently, by Aoife Deasy and Marie O’Donovan for Clon and by Amy O’Sullivan and Orla Fahy for Kilbrittain/Timoleague.
Dominant midfielder Sinead O’Neill and the hard-working Sarah Hayes again opened a five-point gap for Clon but Kilbrittain had the final say of the half with a point from Sarah O’Sullivan. It was Clon, minus four regulars on the day, in front by 2-6 to 0-8 at the break.
The second half saw a much more determined Kilbrittain side beginning to dominate play, with the full-back line of Mairead Dullea, Aine Crowley and Sinead O’Sullivan really putting up the shutters.
Caroline Murphy opened the second-half scoring to narrow the lead but it took a great save from Amanda Desmond to prevent another Clon goal. When Marian Murphy pointed a 65 and impressive wing back Maeve O’Sullivan scored from play, the lead was down to the minimum and it was looking much better for the Black and Amber.
It was now Clon’s turn to show their resolve and Juanita Brennan, who had a marvellous last quarter, pointed a free to ease the pressure. Murphy pointed another free to again close the gap to the minimum but Clon were now operating a sweeper very effectively in front of a full-back line of Suzie Forristal, Aileen McCarthy and Aoife O’Neill whose blocking down was straight from the top drawer all through.
Brennan converted a difficult Clon free to double the lead but back came Kilbrittain with a point from Orla Fahy and once more Clon were hanging on by the slimmest margin.
With Louise Collins, Maeve Deasy and Niamh Desmond Collins showing great defensive ability, Clon hung on to their lead and in the closing minutes, they got their second wind, with Juanita Brennan emerging as the central character.
Aine O’Leary raced through for a superb point to lift the Clon spirits and then Brennan pointed a free and added an insurance point from play to bring the curtain down on a most enjoyable contest in which Kilbrittain may have shaded the possession stakes but Clon were more economical in front of goal.
Clonakilty: Marie O’Donovan 1-1; Juanita Brennan 0-4 (3f); Aoife Deasy, Sinead O’Neill 0-2, Aine O’Leary, Sarah Hayes 0-1 each.
Kilbrittain/Timoleague: Marian Murphy 0-5 (3f, 2 65s); Orla Fahy 0-3; Maeve O’Sullivan, Caroline Murphy, Amy O’Sullivan, Lorraine Dineen, Sarah O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Clonakilty: Mary Hurley; Suzie Forristal, Aileen McCarthy, Aoife O’Neill; Maeve Deasy, Louise Collins, Niamh Desmond Collins; Orla Lowney, Sinead O’Neill; Aine O’Leary, Marie O’Donovan, Juanita Brennan; Sinead Maher, Aoife Deasy, Sarah Hayes.
Kilbrittain/Timoleague: Amanda Desmond; Mairead Dullea, Aine Crowley, Sinead O’Sullivan; Maeve O’Sullivan, Eileen O’Neill, Caitlín Walsh; Marian Murphy, Caroline Murphy; Lorraine Dineen, Amy O’Sullivan, Sarah O’Sullivan; Orla Fahy, Lisa Moloney, Michaela Holland.
Referee: Andy Larkins (Shamrocks).