Alhough the 3-11 to 1-6 score line would suggest otherwise, Colaiste Dun Iascaigh’s ’s junior camogie team negotiated a tricky and sometimes physical encounter with Ulster Champions St. Louis Ballymena on a great playing surface at Cahir GAA on Saturday.
CDI were well aware of the threat posed by their Ulster opponents who had a high scoring record progressing through their Ulster championship.
But CDI’s tough Munster campaign and the high quality final against Ursuline Thurles in the Munster Final has stood to the girls.
So within minutes of the throw in St. Louis demonstrated how physically determined they were going to be in this game with some fine passages of play.
The combined scoring of Roisin Howard together with Aisling Moloney helped calm CDI’s nerves.
By the fifteenth minute CDI has opened up a 0-5 to 0-2 lead and when Howard crashed home a great goal it saw CDI start to edge ahead.
Defensively Aoife Corcoran at full back was rock solid and was well assisted by Kirsty Arbuckle and Helena Walsh who had a storming performance throughout the game.
Outside in the half back line Fiona Burke continued with the great form she has shown throughout the championship. While at centre back Ciara Hickey went about her business in a determined fashion and the switch of Linda Murphy to half back negated St. Louis’ most dangerous half forward. Further point from Howard and Moloney saw CDI 1-8 to 0-3 after 25 minutes of hectic play.
However, in the space of remaining five minutes saw three goals scored. The first was the Ulster Champions capitalising on two mistakes in the CDI’s ranks to bag a soft goal to make it 1-8 to 1-3.
But from the puck out the ball fell to Katie Farrell who managed a goal through a mass of bodies which broke Ballymena’s hopes of a fight back.
To further compound Ballymena’s woes the ball broke to Aisling Moloney out the wing and from distance struck a bullet of a shot that went all the way to the back of Ballymena’s net.
Another brace of points from Moloney gave CDI the lead at half time 3-9 to 1-3.
On the resumption of the second half the expected Ulster fight back did come and they threw everything they had at the CDI ranks.
Caoimhe Ryan at midfield gave a determined display that belied her young age, while further in Lauren Noonan gave a great physical edge to CDI’s attack.
Inside the introduction of Claire Doyle to corner forward tied up the Ballymena attack. While inside at full forward captain Caoimhe Condon despite being in bed all week with the flu gave a Trojan effort and kept going to the end.
Although Colaiste only scored two points in the second half courtesy of Roisin Howard, the girls limited their opponents to only three points in part to the overall team work rate which was obvious to the large crowd that turned out to cheer on the girls.
When the final whistle blew with CDI 3-11 to 1-6, CDI had booked their third All Ireland Camogie final in four years and await the winners of Connacht and Leinster in the final in early March.
Team: Dervla Buckley, Kirsty Arbuckle, Aoife Corcoran, Helena Walsh, Fiona Burke, Ciara Hickey, Shauna Burke, Caoimhe Condon, Aisling Moloney, Caoimhe Ryan, Niamh Murphy, Lauren Noonan, Alyssa Keating, Katie Farrell, Roisin Howard, Laura Casey, Claire Doyle, Jessica Coffey, Linda Murphy, Caoimhe Reidy, Sarah Burke, Zoe Lynch, Emily Donovan, Michelle O Halloran, Roisin Murray, Regina Cooney
Scorers: Roisin Howard 1-6, Katie Farrell 1-0, Aisling Moloney 1-5
Subs used: Claire Doyle, Michelle O Halloran, Emily Donovan.