NOEL HORGAN REPORTS
TRAILING by 11 points, 2-7 to 0-2, at the interval, it seemed as if Enniskeane had little or no chance of prevailing in the recent SE Systems county senior camogie championship clash with Inniscarra at Coachford.
Their prospects took on a rosier hue midway through the second half, however, as they had cut the gap to seven points. With a fresh breeze to their backs, they looked capable of making further inroads on the deficit.
Grateful for a converted free by Joanne Casey which ended a lengthy barren spell in the 50th minute, Inniscarra got back on track in the closing stages, effectively settling the issue courtesy of a goal from Aileen Sheehan four minutes later.
While there could be no disputing hotly-fancied Inniscarra were worthy victors, it’s equally true to say Enniskeane – county intermediate kingpins last year – emerged from the fray with their pride very much intact.
Manager Elaine Aylward was certainly pleased with the way her charges put it up to Inniscarra – defeated senior finalists in 2020 – in the second half, acknowledging they were always going to have their work cut out to advance at the expense of such quality and experienced opposition.
‘We knew coming here today we were facing a huge challenge, but we didn’t fear it, we were confident we could get a result, and it was unfortunate we just didn’t perform in the first half,’ Aylward said.
‘Maybe we gave Inniscarra too much respect, but, whether or which, we left ourselves with too much to do in the second half. Credit to the girls, they gave us a massive last 30 minutes, and we’ll take an awful lot out of our first year up senior, because we’re bound to benefit from the experience.’
It was largely a case of one-way traffic in the first-half when Inniscarra hit the ground running, with Enniskeane goalkeeper Kate Corcoran denying Aileen Sheehan an early goal before an expert bit of hooking by wing-back Daire O’Brien prevented Claudia Keane from pulling the trigger when a three-pointer looked likely.
Sheehan moved most menacingly for Inniscarra until Enniskeane switched their corner-backs, with Danielle Carroll reducing Sheehan’s threat and Louise Duggan going on to perform heroically at the other side of full-back Celine Nyhan. The sterling resistance from Duggan, Nyhan and Carroll in front of dependable custodian Corcoran was about the only positive from Enniskeane’s perspective before the break, as Inniscarra held most of the aces.
Aided by a goal from Joanne Casey, they were 1-5 to 0-1 to the good when their goalkeeper Caoimhe Buckley deflected a shot from Enniskeane’s Lauren Corcoran outside the posts in the 25th minute. Orla Cronin pointed the resultant 45, but Enniskeane’s opportunities were severely limited otherwise in the first half, which finished with Casey bagging another goal for Inniscarra from a questionable penalty in stoppage time. Enniskeane’s improvement in the third-quarter owed much to the input from Tara Sheehan, who posted two points, and Siobhain O'Driscoll up front, Aisling O’Driscoll at wing-back, and the ever-defiant Duggan, Nyhan and Carroll in the full-back line.
Eimear O’Brien chipped in with a point and Orla Cronin posted a brace from frees, leaving Enniskeane 2-8 to 0-7 in arrears with 46 minutes gone, but, much to Inniscarra’s relief, the normally flawless Cronin was then off-target with a couple of scorable placed balls.
It prevented Enniskeane from increasing their momentum at a crucial stage, and, after Joanne Casey ended a 16-minute fruitless period for Inniscarra and quickly tacked on another point from a free, the Mid-Cork girls regained their composure. They had moved 3-11 to 0-8 ahead before Enniskeane grabbed a few consolation scores, including an Orla Cronin goal from a free in stoppage time.
Scorers – Inniscarra: J Casey 2-8 (6f, 1-0 pen); A Sheehan 1-1; A McCarthy, K O’Mahony 0-1 each. Enniskeane: O Cronin 1-7 (1-6f, 1 45); T Sheehan 0-2; E O’Brien 0-1.
Inniscarra: C Buckley; A O’Regan, C Ring, C Looney; R O’Mahony, E Looney, A Kavanagh; M Lyons, K O’Mahony; R Quigley, J Casey, C Keane; A Sheehan, A McCarthy, G O’Loughlin. Subs: L Desmond for Lyons (inj, 38), N Dilworth for O’Loughlin (40), E O’Reilly for Sheehan (58), S O’Callaghan for McCarthy (58).
Enniskeane: K Corcoran; D Carroll, C Nyhan, L Duggan; D O’Brien, E O’Driscoll, A O’Driscoll; D O’Neill, L Mannix; O Cronin, O Coughlan, S O’Driscoll; L Corcoran, E O’Brien, T Sheehan. Sub: C O’Mahony for O’Neill (ht).
Referee: B Walsh (Aghada).