Cork advance to All-Ireland camogie final after Waterford loss
Cork survived a titanic tussle with Waterford, overcoming a five-point second-half deficit and not hitting the forward for the first time just four minutes from the end of regulation time to finally claim a five-point victory in a Glen Dimplex thrilling All- Irish Senior Camogie Semi-Final at Croke Park.
While it’s a relief for Matthew Twomey and his troops that they were able to step up a gear with the final eight points, Derek Lyons and his crew will feel that the final score hardly reflects their efforts and they will be right in this assessment. .
The game didn’t swing on Ashling Thompson’s availability after his successful morning appeal against a two-match suspension, but it was a huge factor, with the Milford powerhouse having a huge impact in terms of breaking the game, doing his best Will Impression O’Donoghue around the rucks and his smart distribution.
With Libby Coppinger a resolute presence at the back, Hannah Looney and former Down star Sorcha McCartan broke there in the final quarter and Amy O’Connor took her place ball opportunities, Cork had just a bit too many for his valiant adversaries. straight finish.
It was a tactically intriguing affair, with the Cork forwards lining up as a group on 65 for the throw-in, then settling into a spine-three, usually with Iona Heffernan taking on McCartan (daughter of All-Football winner Ireland Greg), Keely Corbett-Barry scoring Katrina Mackey and Mairéad Power scoring O’Connor.
The two 6s, Clodagh Carroll for Waterford and Laura Treacy for Cork were the most defensive, sweeping and taking short pucks.
One of the big clashes saw Katie O’Mahony follow Beth Carton and it was a battle the second-leading scorer in the Championship won from the throw-in until O’Mahony’s 22nd minute withdrawal.
At the time, Carton had three points on the board, two from the game, and the free win for forcing O’Mahony to overdrive, although it is suspected she could have fouled the Inniscarra player. doing so on this occasion.
It was symptomatic of Waterford’s work rate, however, and it completely knocked Cork out of his comfort zone.
Thompson replaced O’Mahony and quickly moved into the role of reserve defender, with Treacy taking on Carton.
Cork, having hit five wide from low percentage shots and failed to provide O’Connor and O’Mackey in particular with ball quality due to pressure from further out – although Corbett-Barry and O’Brien were very sticky too every time the ball went in – finally took off thanks to a nice 25th minute score from Mackey, and McCartan split the posts three minutes later.
When Chloe Sigerson popped a free from the 65, tight on the right sideline, there were incredibly only two runs between them. Earlier, Róisín Kirwan shot inches over the crossbar when he passed Abby Flynn with the goal, although Amy Lee’s dash from the line deserves credit for rushing the shot.
Waterford’s response was good though, with Flynn and Rockett sensationally making it 0-7 to 0-3 at the break, Waterford’s dominance at least deserved.
Rockett cut again less than two minutes into the restart, but Cork fired four of the next five through Mackey, Clíona Healy, O’Connor and Fiona Keating, the latter after a brilliant turnover at the other end of the ground by Thompson on Bray, when a point looked at Waterford.
Rockett fed Bray to make it a three-point game in the 46th minute, but with Carton’s influence greatly reduced, Cork found another gear, the spaces opening up and the confidence growing.
O’Connor hit three on the trot to level the sides, the second of them came from a 45 after Brianna O’Regan made a brilliant double save of under Emma Murphy. Murphy gave Cork the lead with a super score.
Cork were playing with more energy now that Waterford were tired and winning more than 50-50 as a result. They also found more space in Déise’s half and McCartan (two), O’Connor and Keating completed the scoring.
A O’Connor 0-5(3s, 1 45); S McCartan 0-3(1f); K Mackey, F Keating 0-2 each; C Healy, E Murphy, C Sigerson (f) 0-1 each
Card B 0-4(2fs); N Rockett 0-3; A Flynn 0-2; R Kirwan 0-1.
A Lee, M Cahalane, L Coppinger, K O’Mahony, L Hayes, L Treacy, S McCarthy, M Murphy, H Looney, C Sigerson, F Keating, C Healy, S McCartan, K Mackey, A O’Connor.
A Thompson for O’Mahony (22); E Murphy for Sigerson (48); O Cahalane for Healy (55); C O’Sullivan for Murphy (60+5).
B O’Regan, K Corbett Barry, M Power, I Heffernan, O Hickey, C Carroll, A Landers, C Griffin, L Bray, R Walsh, A Flynn, M O’Brien, B Carton, R Kirwan, N Rockett.
T Power for O’Brien (47).