Maigh Cuilinn 2-11
DENIS HURLEY REPORTS
FOR one brief moment, it looked as if Kinsale’s passage to the All-Ireland ladies’ Club IFC final would be threatened.
Having led by six points, 0-18 to 1-9, when Faye Ahern got her third point of the game as injury time began, Kinsale were set for a second straight year reaching the national decider, having lost out to Dublin’s St Maur’s in the junior final last year.
Even when Galway visitors Maigh Cuilinn pulled back two points through Áine Nic Dhonnchadha and Ailbhe Ní Dhabhoráin, Kinsale were still relatively secured.
However, Nic Dhonnchadha won possession 30 yards out and then crashed an effort to the top corner of the net, giving sub goalkeeper Grace Cronin – on after Aisling Judge picked up a knock – no chance.
Now the home supporters in the large crowd began to get nervy.
There was time for one more play and if Maigh Cuilinn won possession, an equaliser and extra time loomed. Kinsale stayed resolute, however, and dogged defensive play won them a free before referee Niall McCormack signalled the end of proceedings.
It was joy unconfined for the Kinsale faithful, who poured on to the pitch to congratulate the team, as well as applauding off the vanquished opponents.
For Kinsale manager Micheál O’Connor, the manner of the victory typified the battling spirit of his team, and the club as a whole. ‘They were a team that just kept coming and coming and coming,’ O’Connor said, ‘we had seen them in the Connacht final and we knew that they were a serious outfit.
‘Some of the girls started slow, which was to be expected, nothing like this had ever been seen in Kinsale before.
‘What has gone on here in the last number of weeks has been incredible. Whatever time you passed the pitch, there was someone working, whether that was nine o’clock in the morning or ten o’clock at night.
‘It really brought the Kinsale community together, like nothing I’ve ever seen before.’
Cork star Orla Finn was excellent as Kinsale took charge in the first half, scoring five points as they moved into a 0-7 to 0-3 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Centre-forward Jenny Murphy was a driving force for Kinsale while Georgia Gould impressed at wing-back but Maigh Cuilinn got themselves back in contention when Evvie Ní Leamhná netted following good work from Catherine Ní Chonnaire.
When Katie Ní Artúir pointed, the sides were level but Kinsale finished the half strongly. Ellen Murphy, Faye Ahern and Finn on were target as they led by 0-12 to 1-5 at half-time, though they needed goalkeeper Aisling Judge to save well from Molly Ní Eidhín.
Nic Dhonnchadha had a free for Maigh Cuilinn early in the second half but Kinsale were always able to response captain Aoife Keating and Sadhbh O’Leary with scores, and they looked safe when they held a 0-15 to 1-8 lead on 47, with Maigh Cuilinn down to 14 due to a yellow card.
Ní Eidhín did reduce the gap while Finn hit the bar for Kinsale before points from Ahern and Jenny Murphy.
Ní Artúir had a shot fly across the Kinsale goal and the outcome looked decided when Kinsale moved six clear.
Maigh Cuilinn tested that theory, but Kinsale held out. Meath side Dunboyne will be the opposition in the final next Saturday week, but O’Connor has no fears about his team being overawed by the challenge.
‘They’ve taken every challenge as it’s come, they’re unbelievable, I couldn’t say enough about them.
‘Each girl is pushing the other girl. It’s so hard to pick the team and disappoint some of those girls but when they come on and get their chance, my God do they do it.
‘One more task and it’s Dunboyne, they beat Bantry in the junior All-Ireland a couple of years ago and they beat St Maur’s, who beat us last year.
‘It’s another big step for the girls but I’ve no doubt that when the time comes they’ll be ready.’
Kinsale: Orla Finn 0-8 (5f), Sadhbh O’Leary, Faye Ahern 0-3 each, Jenny Murphy 0-2, Eellen Murphy, Aoife Keating 0-1 each.
Maigh Cuilinn: Molly Ní Eidhín 0-5 (2f), Áine Nic Dhonnchadha 1-2 (1f), Evvie Ní Leamhná 1-0, Katie Ní Artúir 0-2, Catherine Ní Chonnaire, Shannond Ní Chéidigh 0-1 each.
Kinsale: Aisling Judge; Emma O’Brien, Aideen Lynch, Christine Keohane; Tracy McCarthy, Caoimhe O’Callaghan, Georgia Gould; Nicole Quinn, Lorraine Copithorne; Ellen Murphy, Jenny Murphy, Faye Ahern; Sadhbh O’Leary, Aoife Keating, Orla Finn.
Subs: Aisling Lee for Keating (40), Juliette Cronin for E Murphy (60), Grace Cronin for Judge (60, injured).
Maigh Cuilinn: Roisín Ní Chonghaile; Emily Ní Mhaolaoidh, Jean Ní Eidhín, Cáit de Lá; Fiona Ní Fhartharta, Laura Ní Chorcráin, Aisling Ní Chorcráin; Emma Ní Artúir, Áine Nic Dhonnchadha; Katie Ní Artúir, Ailbhe Ní Dhabhoráin, Catherine Ní Chonnaire; Megan Ní Dhabhoráin, Molly Ní Eidhín, Evvie Ní Leamhná.
Subs: Shannon Ní Chéidigh for M Ní Dhabhoráin, Eileen Ní Dhonnchú for Ní Mhaolaoidh (both half-time), Ellen de Paor for Ní Leamhná (53).
Referee: Niall McCormack (Laois).