DEISE HANG TOUGH AND MAKE HISTORY
Munster Minor ‘A’ Camogie Final
There were scenes of unbridled joy on Wednesday last as Deise full-back and captain Shauna Fitzgerald held aloft the Munster Minor ‘A’ Camogie Championship trophy, the first time the county has ever tasted glory at this grade. Be it the commanding Fitzgerald at number three, the superb Kate Lynch at centre-back, the commanding Keely Corbett Barry ‘i lár na páirce’ and a classy group of forwards including Kaeisha Tobin, Abby Flynn and Annie Fitzgerald, this group stood up when it mattered most.
They trailed for only a handful of minutes over the almost 70 played by referee Mick Flannery and in the face of Cork’s hard court press in the closing moments, the white and blue wall stood tall. That Kaeisha Tobin, over 70 yards from her starting position, emerged from a ruck in second half stoppage time said it all.
They must be eating their spuds ‘skins and all’ across the 10 clubs represented on this panel because their effort was absolute, their commitment never wavered and this sweet, sweet victory was richly deserved.
This summer, thankfully, did not fade out without a Munster Championship winning Waterford outfit and in that context, they stand alone on the double, our Gaelic Games standard bearers for this inter-county season. Cork took the lead inside 50 seconds from a Saoirse McCarthy 45, but McCarthy went on to endure a tough evening with the placed ball, converting just one more effort all evening. Cork would end the game with three different players on free-taking duties. In contrast, Waterford could rely on the steady wrists of Kaeisha Tobin, who send just two of her eight frees off-target. Clodagh Carroll brought Waterford level after seven minutes following a fine pass from Abby Flynn, before Flynn was fouled, yielding a first conversion of the night for the outstanding Tobin. Deise goalkeeper Megan Foran batted away an Aoife Hurley effort two minutes later for a 45, which McCarthy duly converted – in what would prove to be her final score of the game.
Waterford opened their goal account on 13 minutes through a hand passed Abby Flynn effort, after the sliothar bobbed into her path via Kaeisha Tobin’s hurl. Annie Fitzgerald drew the second of several frees she earned on the night barely a minute later, which Tobin capitalised from to send the visitors 1-3 to 0-2 clear. And a good start got even better after 16 minutes when Clodagh Carroll’s looping delivery was gathered by Abby Flynn, who impressively netted her second green flagger of the night to leave the home support stunned. Ellen Murphy and Fiona Keating steadied the ship somewhat for Cork with points in the 18th and 21st minutes respectively. And that sense of recovery was augmented by Aoife Hurley’s fine effort down the Deise’s left channel after 22 minutes, from where she did considerable damage in the opening half. But the wily Fitzgerald won another free for Waterford in the 24th minute, with Tobin once more on hand to do the needful (2-4 to 0-5). Emma Murphy assumed free taking duties for Cork and found her range in the 27th minute before Ellen Murphy and Kaeisha Tobin (a free) traded points, both inside the 29th minute. And Tobin was on hand once more to turn over an injury time free to leave her side 2-6 to 0-7 clear come half-time.
The second half may well have been lighter on scores, but the drama was well and truly cranked up a few notches as Waterford dug deep to repel the Cork wave.
The hosts finally goaled after 38 minutes through Ellen Murphy, after some initial good work by Deise keeper Megan Foran unfortunately became quickly undone. Full-forward Fiona Keating struck again for Cork barely a minute later to reduce the arrears to the minimum. But within 90 seconds, the reliable Kaeisha Tobin converted another free to leave the Deisewomen two points clear.
Sarah Lacey brilliantly released Clodagh Carroll for another fist pumping point after 43 minutes before Cork substitute Cliona Healy, who played like someone with a major point to prove following her introduction, turned over a 46th minute free. The tension, by then, was palpable.
Kaeisha Tobin scored her only point from play in the 49th minute after Abby Flynn’s shot was well saved by Cork goalkeeper Sarah Ahern and Flynn then pointed brilliantly following a fine pass from Kate Lynch.
Seven minutes from time, a looped Cliona Healy effort for Cork left just a goal between the teams, but Waterford responded brilliantly, with Lynch again providing the inspiration. She superbly worked the ball out of defence to pick out Sarah Lacey and the Dungarvan clubwoman sweetly landed the ball between the Cork uprights (2-11 to 1-10).
The impressive Healy found her range from a 45 with just three minutes of normal time remaining and for all Cork’s possession during the eight interminable minutes that followed, Waterford were not to be denied. Munster Champions 2018. Take a bow, one and all!