BY GER McCARTHY
A FAIRYTALE season has one final chapter to go as Cork intermediate county champions Newcestown take on Waterford’s Lismore in this weekend’s AIB Munster intermediate camogie club championship final.
Cahir is the venue for Saturday’s provincial showdown (2pm throw-in) between Waterford’s senior champions and Cork’s intermediate winners Newcestown. The Carbery club received a bye into the 2017 Munster decider leaving Lismore and Tipperary’s Silvermines to fight it out in the semi-final.
Finbarr O’Callaghan was in attendance to witness Lismore’s impressive 4-6 to 1-10 last-four triumph and the Newcestown manager is under no illusions of the challenge facing his team.
‘My first impression of Lismore is that they are a very good team,’ O’Callaghan admitted.
‘I suppose the fact that they are the senior champions in Waterford while we are only the third grade champions from Cork tells you we are going to be up against it. You have senior, senior B and intermediate in Cork, which we just won, going up against the top camogie team from Waterford.
‘They are an impressive set-up and have been regularly winning their championship so we know the task we face is a difficult one.’
A terrific second-half comeback to overcome Enniskeane in this year’s county final should stand a young Newcestown side well. Eight points behind and with a mountain to climb, Newcestown recovered brilliantly and romped to victory following a dominant second half performance.
‘Enniskeane scored three goals in about seven or eight minutes but thankfully, we managed to get the last two scores of the first half which settled the team down a bit at a crucial stage,’ Finbarr O’Callaghan said.
‘I thought we were outstanding in the second half, that was our best display of the entire season, no doubt about it. The whole team deserve credit as we only conceded one point after the break.
‘Not panicking was the important thing and that will hopefully stand to us against Lismore this weekend. Our heads could have easily dropped when we were eight points down but the girls dug deep and came through with flying colours.’
Traditionally, for whatever reasons, Cork teams generally don’t seem to do well in Munster camogie competitions. Brian Dillons and Blackrock have struggled in recent years so Newcestown are fully aware they must bring their A game against Lismore.
Unfortunately, the West Cork club will be short a few key players including Francis Deasy, team captain, who is away on honeymoon and Maria Kenneally, out with an injury. But playing in a Munster final is great opportunity for a young team to show how far they have come ahead of moving into the senior grade next year.
Access to Cloughduv GAA’s floodlit and indoor facilities has been a welcome bonus, allowing Newcestown to continue their Munster final preparations despite the recent inclement weather.
The West Cork side can also count on a dedicated band of supporters to get behind the team having played their part in the club’s most recent success.
‘I’ve been involved in camogie for many years but witnessed the biggest crowd I’ve ever come across at our county final against Enniskeane,’ Finbarr O’Callaghan stated.
‘There was some atmosphere in Brinny and I would hope to have the same support again on Saturday up in Cahir.
There is a great buzz around the parish at the minute and certainly during the second half of the county final, I thought our supporters were magnificent.
‘They really helped the girls through a tough spell and were like a 16th player. We are going up to the Munster final to try and win it and I just hope we play well because if we do, we won’t be far off beating them.’