SANDRA CORCORAN REPORTS
RELIEF and euphoria all rolled into one – that’s how it felt when the final whistle announced Enniskeane as county intermediate camogie champions at Castle Road.
Relief that, at last, Enniskeane won this title, having lost two of the previous three county finals. Euphoria that all the hard work paid off, a county title was heading west and Enniskeane were heading to the senior ranks in 2021.
‘To be playing with this group of girls that have had that heartache over the years, it’s brilliant for the club and the team that we are going up senior and going to play at a level that we know we are good enough to play at. It was a long time coming,’ a delighted Enniskeane captain Kate McCarthy told the Star Sport Podcast this week.
While Enniskeane eventually reached the summit of the intermediate mountain, they didn’t make it easy for themselves in the final as Aghabullogue rallied with two late goals but the Carbery side had built up enough of a lead to withstand this comeback.
This was heroic from Enniskeane. They had heroes all over the pitch. Emma O’Driscoll, Aisling O’Driscoll, Laura Mannix, Louise Duggan and Danielle Carroll were all hugely influential, as was player of the match Orla Cronin, who helped fire her club to the Nano Nagle trophy and a place at senior level for 2021. Not only that, but Enniskeane also have the Munster series to look forward to early next month so the adventure isn’t over yet.
Aghabullogue got off to a great start with two points from Aoife Twomey and Cliona Healy (free). They also had four wides before Enniskeane opened their account with a point from an Orla Cronin free. Tara Sheehan levelled with another point following an Emma O’Driscoll interception. Enniskeane then took control, and points from Eimear O’Brien, Tara Sheehan and Orla Cronin (3) had Enniskeane ahead at half time, 0-7 to 0-2.
On the resumption Cork star Cronin added two more points before Enniskeane struck for their only goal. Again, Cronin was involved as Sinead Hurley finished to the net in the 37th minute. They were in command and led 1-12 to 0-5 at the second water break.
Cliona Healy was keeping Aghabullogue in touch but scores from Cronin and Orla Coughlan left the West Cork team firmly in control, 1-14 to 0-7, and powering to glory.
Aghabullogue then hit a purple patch and two goals in one minute, from Ella Foley and Cliona Healy, followed by a Healy free left just three points between the sides. Enniskeane didn’t buckle though. Instead, they hit back with a brace of points from Cronin to seal the win, while goalkeeper Kate Corcoran also stood firm between the posts.
‘Resilience is something that we have in buckets,’ explained captain Kate McCarthy.
‘We’ve shown it over the years. We are a team that loses by a point, and we got so close (in previous years), and I think we had resilience this year, there was always a belief that we would turn it around.’
And Enniskeane did turn it around. Third time lucky, they’re now county champions and are heading to the senior ranks next season.
‘We can’t wait to see the draw for next year. We want to be hurling at the top level. We want to go up and be competitive, and we have the drive and the belief to power on,’ McCarthy added.
This victory was also a great way to commence celebrations for the club’s 25th anniversary. The Enniskeane management includes Anthony O’Sullivan, Dermot Curtin, Elaine Alyward and Brian Daly helped by Sandra Corcoran and paramedic Ciara Whyte.
Enniskeane: Orla Cronin 0-11 (6f); S Hurley 1-0; Tara Sheehan 0-2; E O’Brien, D O’Brien, O Coughlan 0-1 each.
Aghabullogue: C Healy 1-4 (2f); E Foley 1-0; C McCarthy 0-2; A Twomey, M Ring 0-1 each.
Enniskeane: Kate Corcoran; Celine Nyhan, Danielle Carroll, Louise Duggan; Emma O’Driscoll, Kellie Scannell, Aisling O’Driscoll; Laura Mannix, Sinead Hurley; Eimear O’Brien, Orla Cronin, Daire O’Brien; Siobhan O’Driscoll, Orla Coughlan, Tara Sheehan.
Subs: Deirdre Browne for O’Driscoll (16), Kate McCarthy for Scannell (59), Lauren Corcoran for E O’Brien (59), Caitlin O’Donovan for Hurley (59), Caroline O’Donovan for Coughlan (65).
Aghabullogue: Leah Cooney; Caoimhe O’Connell, Miriam Cotter, Eireann O’Shea; Emma Flanagan, Joanne Crowley, Meadhbh Ring; Katie McCarthy, Ella Foley; Aoife Twomey, Brid Cotter, Ciara McCarthy; Julie Tarrant, Cliona Healy, Niamh Barry Murphy.
Referee: Cathal Egan (Glen Rovers).