The defending All-Ireland champions sounded a warning to all pretenders to their throne on Saturday afternoon when Cork roared to a ten-point win over Tipperary in the Munster Senior Camogie Championship final at Leahy Park in Cashel.
Munster Senior Camogie
Tipperary 2-10 Cork 3-17
Bill Mullaney’s senior team thundered to an impressive 18-point semi-final win over Waterford, but the Premier County were out-classed on this occasion. And, the distressing aspect to this defeat is that the Tipperary team played well; each and every player burst themselves in an effort to stick with the Rebels, but Cork were simply far too good for the home side.
Tipperary opted to play Karen Kennedy as a sweeper, but Cork expertly picked apart the Premier County defense. The Rebels fired just two wides and found each other around the middle third of the field in a whirlwind of stick passing and off-the-shoulder support play before the ball was delivered smartly inside.
Just consider this: despite being marked by Gemma Grace and having Karen Kennedy stationed right in front of her Cork full-forward Linda Collins still scored 1-3 from play, was fouled for two scoreable frees and also set-up the Rebels’ third goal.
Cork’s style of play truly was something to behold and although Tipperary are as genuine as the day is long, the gap between the Premier County and the best team in the country appears to be reasonably wide.
That said Tipperary are improving and will face into the up-coming All-Ireland championship campaign in good spirits. Tipp will launch their All-Ireland senior 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).
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.
Megan Ryan thundered over a point off her left in the opening minute while Nicole Walsh converted two placed balls to help Tipperary toward a 0-3 to 0-1 lead with six minutes played. Cork, thanks to points from Amy O’Connor and Chloe Sigerson, tied the game by the 12th minute and it was already looking a little ominous for a Tipperary team who were playing with a strong wind at their backs.
When Miriam Campion grabbed an Eibhlís McDonald cross in the fourth minute Cork ‘keeper Amy Lee was fortunate to deflect Campion’s shot out at the expense of a ’50, but the Drom & Inch forward was not to be denied ten minutes later - when an Eibhlís McDonald effort at a point found a post Miriam Campion pounced, smartly dispossessed a Cork defender and buried the opening goal of the game (1-3 to 0-3).
By now, however, Cork had their passing game up and running with Linda Collins (two) and Katrina Mackey firing over cracking points to tie the game with twenty-one minutes on the clock. Nicole Walsh responded with two converted ‘50s for Tipperary while a brilliant Miriam Campion catch in the 26th minute preceded an Orla O’Dwyer effort.
The Premier County now led by three; that is until Amy O’Connor scored a sensational solo goal in the 28th minute.
Following efforts from Nicole Walsh (free) and Katrina Mackey the sides retired all square at the break (1-7 apiece), but considering the prevailing elements Tipperary had it all to do.
The Premier County needed a little encouragement and found a real tonic in the 32nd minute when Miriam Campion made sure that an Orla O’Dwyer effort found the net. Unfortunately, Tipperary did not register a score during the ensuing twenty-one minutes.
The Cork response to this score was sensational. Five minutes later Orla Cotter and Amy O’Connor combined before Linda Collins buried a superb goal. Collins added a point soon after while efforts from Lauren Homan and Orla Cotter (free) left three between the sides entering the final quarter (2-10 to 2-7).
In the 40th minute Megan Ryan demanded a save from Cork ‘keeper Amy Lee, but other than that there was very little encouragement from a Tipperary point of view.
Meanwhile consecutive Orla Cotter frees and an excellent Katrina Mackey effort cut Tipperary five points adrift (2-12 to 2-7) with ten minutes to play.
Grace O’Brien (’50) added to the Tipp tally in the 53rd minute and while the Nenagh Éire Óg star converted a free two minutes later Linda Collins sparked a move which culminated in a terrific Libby Coppinger point before Cork conjured their third goal in the 56th minute - Orla Cronin grabbed a puck-out and fed Collins who, in turn, set-up Niamh McCarthy for the finish. Gemma O’Connor landed a long-range effort soon after and the visitors led by eight (3-14 to 2-9).
Karen Kennedy (now located at midfield) burst forward to score an outstanding individual effort on the hour mark, but Cork pressed on regardless with Orla Cotter (two frees) and Julia White bringing the scoring to a conclusion.
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, 0-1), Aoife McGrath (Drom & Inch), Megan Ryan (Borris-Ileigh, 0-1), Mary Ryan (Moneygall), Orla O'Dwyer (Cashel, 0-1), Nicole Walsh (Borris-Ileigh, 0-5, 0-2 frees, 0-3 ‘50s), Ereena Fryday (Knockavilla Kickhams), Eibhlís McDonald (Éire Óg Annacarty), Miriam Campion (Drom & Inch, 2-0), Niamh Treacy (Drom & Inch). Subs: (45th) Grace O’Brien (Nenagh Éire Óg, 0-2, 0-1 free, 0-1 ‘50) for Nicole Walsh, (50th) Ciara McKeogh (Burgess-Duharra) for Miriam Campion, (51st) Laura Loughnane (Thurles Sarsfields) for Mary Ryan.
Cork: Amy Lee, Leanne O'Sullivan, Laura Treacy, Niamh O'Callaghan, Chloe Sigerson (0-1), Pamela Mackey, Laura Hayes, Gemma O'Connor (0-1), Libby Coppinger (0-1), Katrina Mackey (0-3), Amy O'Connor (1-1), Orla Cronin, Lauren Homan (0-1), Linda Collins (1-3), Orla Cotter (0-5, 0-5 frees). Subs: (51st) Niamh McCarthy (1-0) for Lauren Homan, (56th) Julia White (0-1) for Katrina Mackey, (58th) Ciara McCarthy for Linda Collins, (61st) Cliona Healy for Niamh O’Callaghan.
Referee: Kevin O'Brien (Limerick).
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