Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams 0-11
Gailltír collected a fourth Munster intermediate camogie club final in a row and a fifth in six campaigns on Saturday afternoon last at Mallow when they defeated Tipperary intermediate champions Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams with a goal to spare a the end of what was a tight battle throughout.
Gail Murphy’s side had to work hard for this win. While Gailltír were working hard over the past few weeks preparing for a delayed 2020 All-Ireland Intermediate club final and then went straight into a 2021 Munster Intermediate club semi-final, Knockavilla took time out after they captured the Tipperary county title back in November.
They only returned to training in the last couple of weeks preparing for this game, having received a bye into this final, and it looked as if they could pull off a major shock.
But in the end the experience picked up by this exciting Gailltír side over the past few years came to the fore with the crucial goal coming from one of their exciting young rising star Alannah O’Sullivan midway through the second half.
Gailltír could well argue that they could and should have won this game by an even greater margin. On 17 minutes Aoife Fitzgerald’s free close to the sideline on the bank side of the field appeared to go all the way to the Knockavilla net, but the effort was ruled out as Laoise Forrest was deemed to be inside the box before the ball.
Then on 24 minutes Sheena Ryan made an excellent save from Laoise Forrest who was brought into the side for Róisín Flood.
If Gailltir could argue that they were unlucky not to have scored more than they did, the same could well be said of the Tipperary side.
With nine minutes of normal time to play Rebecca Farrell pulled first time on a loose ball in front of the Gailltír goal but she came up against Ciara Jackman one of the best goalkeepers in the country who brilliantly saved and the danger was quickly cleared up field.
Knockavilla were quickest out of the traps and they raced into a very early two point lead. Eimear Heffernan, a member of the Tipperary senior panel, opened the scoring with a free and they quickly followed up with a point from play by Caoimhe McCormack.
Molly Comerford, one of a number of teenagers in the Gailltír panel, got her name on the score sheet on seven minutes but it was followed up with an effort from Ereena Fryday who saw her effort rise over the crossbar when it looked as if a goal was going to be on the cards.
But Gailltír soon settled into the game and two points, both from Aoife Fitzgerald placed balls, the first from the 45 metre line had the sides all square on 15 minutes.
This was how the sides went into the first half water break but Gailltír were a little unlucky not to be in front as Aoife Fitzgerald saw her goal from a free ruled out.
Gailltir’s Alannah O’Sullivan in control against Knockavilla’s Ellen Browne.
On resumption until the half time break, the game once more proved to be a very tight contest.
Ereena Fryday edged the Tipperary side back in front with her second score of the game on 20 minutes only for it to be cancelled out with a pointed free from Aoife Fitzgerald.
Kate Lynch edged Gailltír in front for the first time on 29 minutes but two converted frees from Eimear Heffernan put the Tipperary side in a good position as they headed to the dressing rooms at half time leading 0-6 to 0-5.
Gailltír started the second half very strong. Aoife Fitzgerald put over an early free to draw the sides level and when Laoise Forrest and Shona Fitzgerald followed up with scores from play, Gailltír were 0-8 to 0-6 ahead with five minutes of the second half played.
Emer Heffernan and Aoife Fitzgerald swapped scores from placed balls to keep just two between the sides with 21 minutes still to play, but the most crucial score of the game was yet to come.
That score came on 46 minutes. Clodagh Carroll, who was rock solid throughout, burst out of defence. She picked out Annie Fitzgerald with an excellent pass who in turn found rising star Alannah O’Sullivan who from 14 metres out and from a tight angle beat Sheena Ryan with a bullet of a shot to put her side 1-9 to 0-7 in front.
A converted free however from Eimear Heffernan on 49 minutes reduced that lead by one when the second half water break was called for.
Gailltir’s Laoise Forrest surrounded by Knockavilla players as she surges forward.
Aoife Fitzgerald put five between the sides on 50 minutes when she put over a free but seconds later it looked as if that lead was going to be greatly reduced and would have been but for the brilliance of Ciara Jackman in the Gailltír goal as she saved from Rebecca Farrell.
The game changing score came from Gailltir’s Alannah O’Sullivan when she rifled this shot to the Knockavilla net late in the second half.
Points from Ellen Browne and Eimear Heffernan were registered for the Tipperary club inside a minute of each other to leave just three between the sides and with three minutes of normal time remaining it looked as if the lead would be wiped out but Ellen Browne saw her effort wiz past the face of the Gailltír goal and cross the end line to the right of Ciara Jackman’s upright.
Eimear Heffernan made it a two point game when she put over a free on 58 minutes but it was quickly cancelled out when Laoise Forrest showed that she can kick a ball just as well as she can strike one when she booted over the Knockavilla crossbar on in the second minute of added time to secure another Munster title for the Barony ladies.
Gailltír: Ciara Jackman, Meave Sheridan, Hannah Flynn, Aoife Hartley, Leah Sheridan, Clodagh Carroll, Emily Mahony, Kate Lynch, Shauna Fitzgerald. Molly Comerford, Ciara O’Sullivan, Annie Fitzgerald, Aoife Fitzgerald, Laoise Forrest, Alannah O’Sullivan.
Scorers: Aoife Fitzgerald 0-6, (5f, 1 ‘45), Alannah O’Sullivan (1-0), Laoise Forrest (0-2), Molly Comerford, Shauna Fitzgerald, Kate Lynch (0-1) each.
Knockavilla: Sheena Ryan, Ellie Hodnett, Megan McCormack, Leonie Farrell, Sinead Furlong, Beth Ryan, Sarah Ryan; Caoimhe McCarthy, Niamh Slattery, Ereena Fryday, Eimear Gleeson, Ellen Browne, Eimear Heffernan, Emma O’Mara, Caoimhe McCormack.
Subs: Rebecca Farrell for Ellie Hodnett (half-time), Doireann Hales for Eimear Gleeson (50), Emma Ryan for Caoimhe McCormack (65).
Scorers: Eimear Heffernan 0-7, (6 frees), Ereena Fryday 0-2, Caoimhe McCormack, Ellen Browne 0-1 each.
Referee: Aaron Hogg (Clare).