Orla Finn racks up 3-8 as five-star Kinsale win back-to-back provincial crowns
Clonmel Commercials 1-5
HAVING thrashed Kerry kingpins Austin Stacks to the tune of 33 points in the semi-final, Kinsale registered another facile victory to lift the Munster ladies football intermediate club football title at the expense of Clonmel Commercials in Mallow last Saturday.
Crowned junior champions last year, the result allowed them to collect provincial honours in consecutive seasons, and manager Michael O’Connor said it underlined the remarkable progress made by the team over the past 12 months.
‘These girls have stepped it up another notch since last year, and I couldn’t be happier with the performance they delivered today,’ O’Connor said.
‘They have upped their work-rate enormously, and they have really bonded as well following the run to the 2016 All-Ireland junior final.
‘It’s obviously a tremendous achievement to win the Munster intermediate championship with such ease in our debut campaign at this level, and I suppose we are in bonus territory now heading into an All-Ireland semi-final.’
Pointing out that Maurs of Dublin, Kinsale’s conquerors in the All-Ireland junior final last year, have already been eliminated from the Leinster club championship, O’Connor accepts it isn’t going to be easy to go all the way this season.
‘At the same time, you’d have to be encouraged by what we have produced to date, so we’ll go out and play our own game regardless of the opposition from now on, and we’ll just have to wait and see where it gets us,’ he said.
O’Connor revealed he expected a much tougher challenge from Clonmel Commercials, bearing in mind that the Tipperary standard-bearers had won all of their games comfortably en route to the Munster final.
Despite clocking up seven wides before the break, Kinsale still managed to turn over leading by 1-7 to 0-2, and it became abundantly clear their first-half profligacy was a luxury they’d be well able to afford after Orla Finn bagged their second goal within two minutes of the resumption.
In truth, Kinsale were totally dominant from start to finish, with the result that they were almost constantly on the offensive, as Clonmel adopted a rearguard action from the outset.
Operating with a sweeper in front of the full-back line, Clonmel’s tactics were obviously designed to limit the service to Kinsale’s inside line of attack, and to Cork senior Orla Finn in particular.
It basically amounted to an exercise in damage limitation on Clonmel’s part, and it backfired badly, as can be gauged from the fact that Finn, faced by three different markers over the hour, finished the match with a personal tally of 3-8, 3-4 from play.
Finn wasn’t lacking support up front where the hard-working Faye Ahern was particularly prominent in the first half, and Jenny Murphy and Sadhbh O’Leary also made noteworthy contributions.
Murphy bagged Kinsale’s first goal in the 13th minute to make it 1-3 to 0-1, and, in view of Clonmel’s problems at midfield and in attack, the outcome was never in doubt after that.
Nicole Quinn and Tracy McCarthy were very much to the fore around the middle for Kinsale, while Aideen Lynch, Caoimhe O’Leary and Lorraine Copithorne regularly caught the eye in a defence that comfortably dealt with the efforts of a numerically disadvantaged Clonmel attack to make headway.
Orla Finn’s goal, stemming from good work by Jenny Murphy and Sadhbh O’Leary, early in the second half was the signal for Kinsale to pile on the punishment in earnest, and Finn completed her hat-trick in the 59th minute, pouncing to score after a shot from O’Leary had rebounded off the crossbar.
Preceded by an excellent strike from substitute Georgia Gould, it left Kinsale leading by 5-14 to 0-5 before Courtney Lonergan pulled a goal back for hapless Clonmel in stoppage time.
That Kinsale, as in the semi-final against Austin Stacks, never eased off was immensely satisfying, according to Michael O’Connor, who said it confirmed they had absorbed the lessons from the county final when they almost paid the price for resting on their laurels.
‘We were 12 points up in that game, but our lead was cut to a point with four or five minutes to go, so the girls are fully aware now how important it is to keep the foot on the pedal all the time,’ he stated.
Kinsale: O Finn 3-8 (4f), J Murphy, G Gould 1-1 each, S O’Leary 0-2, N Quinn, F Ahern 0-1 each.
Clonmel Commercials: S Ryan 0-4 (3f), C Lonergan 1-0, S Quinlivan 0-1.
Kinsale: A Judge; E O’Brien, A Lynch, A Lee; Lorraine Copithorne, C O’Callaghan, C Keohane; N Quinn, T McCarthy; F Ahern, J Murphy, E Murphy; O Finn, A Keating, S O’Leary.
Subs: G Buckley for Lee (34), G Gould for E Murphy (46), D Tyner for Ahern (58), G Cowhig for J Murphy (60), Lisa Capithorne for O’Leary (60).
Clonmel Commercials: AM Landers; K O’Reilly, B Barlow, T Peters; M Faulkner, K Barlow, O Winston; N Mackey, S Quinlivan; S McGeever, A Carey, D Walsh; C Lonergan, S Ryan, A Fennessy. Subs: C Bowles for Mackey (injured, 16), A Morris for Faulkner (21), D Hanlon for McGeever (40), H Lonergan for Bowles, (55), S Keating for Peters (injured, 55).
Referee: S Mulvihill (Kerry).