Bill Mullaney’s Tipperary team thundered to an impressive 18-point Munster Senior Camogie Championship semi-final win over Waterford at The Ragg Camogie Grounds on Saturday evening. No one will be getting carried away with this performance in the Tipperary camp, but there is also a sense that this group of players have stepped up a level in terms of their collective performance.
Munster Senior Camogie
Tipperary 2-23 Waterford 1-8
The challenge posed by Waterford was reasonably tame, but the manner in which Tipperary got about the field and ploughed through the work required to dominate the contest was impressive. Indeed, the conditioning of the Premier County team caught the eye as did the tactical organization, team work and snappy combination play.
Megan Ryan and Mary Ryan formed an able partnership in the middle of the field, Clodagh Quirke was dominant at wing-back, Orla O’Dwyer was outstanding at wing-forward, Nicole Walsh got through an absolute power of work and Cáit Devane was as sharp as ever, but the player of the match award simply had to find its way to centre-back Karen Kennedy. The Thurles Sarsfields star would adorn any team in the country.
As a result of this performance Tipperary camogie now finds itself preparing for two Munster finals. In the senior decider on Saturday, May 25 (time and venue to be confirmed) the Premier County will face Cork - in their respective semi-final Cork beat Limerick (1-13 to 0-4). Meanwhile the Tipperary intermediate team will take on Cork in another Munster final on Saturday, May 18 in Kilmallock (throw-in 7.15pm).
The Tipperary management team is led by manager Bill Mullaney (Newport-Ballinahinch) and also features selectors Niamh Lillis (Drom & Inch), Dinny Ferncombe (Holycross-Ballycahill), Carmel Bradshaw (Ballina), Eddie Costello (Drom & Inch) and Cian Treacy (Thurles Sarsfields). Paddy Quinlan is responsible for the strength and conditioning of the side.
Tipperary will launch their All-Ireland championship campaign in June at home to Waterford followed by trips to Cork and Clare, a home game against Dublin and finally a clash with Meath (away).
Tipperary exploded into devastating life right from the off and led 1-8 to 0-1 with just thirteen minutes on the clock. It was exhibition stuff from the Premier County as Orla O’Dwyer (three), Mary Ryan, Cáit Devane and Miriam Campion (two) flashed over scores from play while Devane also added a free. And, Niamh Treacy scrambled home the three-pointer in the third minute when Waterford ‘keeper Ciara Jackman struggled to deal with a Tipperary effort which dropped short.
Whatever about the nature of the scores during this dominant period it was the quality of the approach play which really warmed blue and gold hearts. The movement, support play and stick passing of the Tipperary team was top class. Indeed, one of the scores of the game materialized as early as the seventh minute: Megan Ryan and Mary Ryan combined smartly in the middle of the field, Megan Ryan picked out Niamh Treacy with a thirty-meter stick pass, the full-forward recycled to Orla O’Dwyer and the former captain of the team flashed over a terrific finish.
Megan Ryan was found at the heart of another excellent move in the 13th minute when the Borris-Ileigh star combined with Cáit Devane and Miriam Campion delivered the finish to force Tipperary ten points clear (1-8 to 0-1).
Waterford steadied up with a point from Beth Carton and then happened upon a real tonic of a score in the 16th minute when Carton converted a penalty following a foul on the corner-forward. Ereena Fryday appeared to have shipped an illegal challenge during the build up to the penalty infraction, but Tipperary’s appeals were waved away and when Carton converted another free in the 18th minute the Premier County lead was down to five (1-8 to 1-3).
Tipperary steadied themselves with two Cáit Devane frees before Niamh Treacy left eight between the sides.
In the second minute of first half injury time a Megan Ryan delivery found Miriam Campion and when the corner-forward off-loaded to Orla O’Dwyer a goal appeared certain, but Waterford ‘keeper Ciara Jackman conjured a terrific save to deny the raiding wing-forward.
Devane landed the resultant ’50 and Tipperary led 1-13 to 1-4 at the break following a move which featured terrific contested catches from Clodagh Quirke and Miriam Campion before Orla O’Dwyer delivered the finish.
Waterford were, understandably, much more defensive after the interval while Tipperary were concerned to see veteran Mary Ryan carried off following a collision in the 36th minute.
A brace of Cáit Devane frees and a Nicole Walsh effort from play forced the Premier County ten clear entering the final quarter (1-16 to 1-6) and although Waterford closed the gap to nine thanks to a Niamh Rockett point the home side fired over five points without reply between the 47th and 62nd minutes. These efforts arrived courtesy of Cáit Devane (two, one free), Megan Ryan, Miriam Campion and Grace O’Brien.
The highly-impressive Beth Carton (free) brought the scoring to a conclusion from a Waterford point of view, but Tipperary drove on impressively in injury time with Cáit Devane (free) and Orla O’Dwyer adding to the Premier County tally while Devane fired home a terrific goal in the 67th minute following a weaving run and clever flick from Grace O’Brien.
Tipperary fired eight wides in all (Waterford: three) and dropped four shots short (Waterford: seven) while the Premier County won ten frees and conceded fifteen.
Tipperary: Caoimhe Bourke (Drom & Inch), Julieanne Bourke (Borris-Ileigh), Gemma Grace (Burgess-Duharra), Eimear Loughman (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Clodagh Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore, captain), Karen Kennedy (Thurles Sarsfields), Aoife McGrath (Drom & Inch), Megan Ryan (Borris-Ileigh, 0-1), Mary Ryan (Moneygall, 0-1), Orla O’Dwyer (Cashel, 0-5), Cáit Devane (Clonoulty-Rossmore, 1-10, 0-7 frees, 0-1 ‘50), Ereena Fryday (Knockavilla Kickhams), Nicole Walsh (Borris-Ileigh, 0-1), Niamh Treacy (Drom & Inch, 1-1), Miriam Campion (Drom & Inch, 0-3). Subs: (36th) Eibhlís McDonald (Éire Óg Annacarty) for Mary Ryan, (54th) Grace O’Brien (Nenagh Éire Óg, 0-1) for Ereena Fryday, (60th) Laura Loughnane (Thurles Sarsfields) for Niamh Treacy, (60th) Caroline Mullaney (Newport-Ballinahinch) for Aoife McGrath. Remaining panel members: Aoife Butler (Éire Óg Annacarty), Caoimhe Maher (Burgess-Duharra), Jean Kelly (Éire Óg Annacarty), Casey Hennessy (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Andrea Loughnane (Thurles Sarsfields) and Ciara McKeogh (Burgess-Duharra).
Waterford: Ciara Jackman, Kate Lynch, Iona Heffernan, Sibheal Harney, Emma Hannon, Áine Lyng, Mairéad Power, Orla Hickey, Clara Griffin, Niamh Rockett (0-1), Annie Fitzgerald, Sarah Lacey, Beth Carton (1-6, 0-5 frees, 1-0 penalty), Aoife Landers (0-1), Ashling Power. Subs: (HT) Keeley Corbett-Barry for Ashling Power, (HT) Clodagh Carroll for Sarah Lacey, (HT) Claire Whyte for Mairéad Power, (48th) Áine Power for Aoife Landers.
Referee: Cathal Egan.
To keep up to date with all the sporting news in Tipperary please click here - to follow the Tipperary Star sports team on twitter please click here - to follow sports editor Brian McDonnell on Twitter please click here. Alternatively, you can also like the Tipperary Star on Facebook.