Comeragh Rgrs 3-15
KINSALE will learn plenty of lessons from their first campaign at senior level, insists manager Micheál O’Connor.
The county senior B ladies’ football champions lost to Waterford’s Comeragh Rangers in the Munster Senior Plate final at Killeagh. O’Connor has no complains. The best team won.
But he hopes that Kinsale, with their first season at senior level under their belts, can come back stronger in 2019.
After winning county and Munster junior and intermediate doubles in 2017 and ’18, and contesting All-Ireland finals in both grades, and winning the county senior B title recently, a long winter will allow bodies and minds rest.
‘It was a season of progress,’ O’Connor says.
‘The three years have rolled into one so it’s been a long time on the go for these players.
‘We played well in the league, it fell off a bit in the summer, but we have made progress. There are lessons to be learned too. We need to get out of the blocks quicker. Against Comeragh, and in the senior championship against St Vals, Mourneabbey, West Cork, they all got a head-start on us but we fought away. We never give up.
‘Comeragh were the better team, they deserved to win it, we had chances, we hit the crossbar a few times, we should have had a penalty, but we’ve no complaints.
‘We’re definitely happy with the progress and both the players and us on the sideline have learned a lot this year.’
Like O’Connor said, Comeragh started well last Sunday and Kinsale were in trouble early.
By the time the Cork Senior B champions struck their first point, an Orla Finn effort after 18 minutes, Comeragh had already amassed 1-5. But Kinsale scored the next two, through Sadhbh O’Leary and Faye Aherne, to narrow the gap to five after 20 minutes.
That was as close as they got because the Waterford side hit the next four points to take control and lead 1-9 to 0-3 coming up to half time. Orla Finn temporarily narrowed the gap but by half time Kinsale trailed 1-11 to 0-4.
‘All year we have been slow to start and we’ve finished strong,’ O’Connor explains.
‘That works against some teams but we came up against a seasoned team in Comeragh Rangers that have been playing senior for a few years. When a team like that gets a few points ahead, you’re playing catch-up then. They were fast, physical and well-balanced.’
Kinsale kept believing. Finn was on target with a free early in the second half but then Comeragh struck for their second and third goals in quick succession to now lead by 3-12 to 0-5, a 16-point advantage.
Even though the game was over, Kinsale never gave up and were rewarded when Cork star Finn scored 1-2 in eight minutes while sub Ellen Murphy also pulled a goal back to reduce the gap to nine, 3-13 to 2-7, with five minutes left. Too little, too late.
‘It will take us time to reach that level,’ O’Connor says.
‘The hardest thing to do is to keep all the girls together for those years, with work and college and everything else. I know everyone says Kinsale are a young team, and it is, but Hopefully they’ll stick together. But you never know. If you lose a few players, it can change a lot.’
Kinsale scorers: Orla Finn 1-5 (2f), Ellen Murphy 1-0, Sadhbh O’Leary, Faye Aherne 0-1 each.Kinsale: Grainne Cowhig; Emma O’Brien, Tracy McCarthy, Sophie Hurley; Caoimhe O’Callaghan, Aideen Lynch, Dara Tyner; Nicole Quinn, Lorraine Copithorne; Faye Aherne, Georgina Buckley, Sadhbh O’Leary; Aoife Keating, Jenny Murphy, Orla Finn. Sub: Ellen Murphy for Sophie Hurley.