Cork retain their All-Ireland crown after holding off a Banner backlash

Cork retain their All-Ireland crown after holding off a Banner backlash
Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Cork 3-15 Clare 2-12

CORK won a historic back-to-back Minor All-Ireland title in a windswept McDonagh Park, Nenagh, on Saturday as Jerry Wallace’s girls had to defend a 17-point interval lead for dear life in the closing stages of a free-riddled second half.

Referee Gavin Donegan awarded 13 second-half frees to Clare and played over five minutes of injury time as the Banner staged a second-half rally, holding Cork to just four points.

Clare's Amy Russell and Ciara O'Sullivan of Cork. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Clare's Amy Russell and Ciara O'Sullivan of Cork. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The impact of the wind was huge and helped Cork lead 3-11 to 0-3 at the interval.

Clodagh Finn propelling Cork into a 1-5 to no score lead in the opening 10 minutes as Cork made the most of the howling wind in their favour.

Lorna McNamara had two points back for Clare before Fiona Keating stretched the Cork lead. 

Piling on the pressure Cork were in the driving seat thanks to two Emma Murphy goals inside 55 seconds, the first a long-range effort going all the way to the net before Murphy crashed a pile-driver home after confidently taking on and beating the Clare defence.

With Fiona Keating added three more points for Cork and Clodagh Finn two before Lorna McNamara replied for Clare.

Cork started the second half with fighting spirit. McNamara set up Robyn Conway for a goal inside six after McNamara and Sinead McGee had fired over points. Boosted by this they pressed for more.

Two on the trot for Clare narrowed the gap before Isobel Sheehan and Finn replied. It was 3-13 to 1-7 as the game entered the last quarter.

Clare's Greta Hickey tackles Isobella Sheehan of Cork. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Clare's Greta Hickey tackles Isobella Sheehan of Cork. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Caoimhe Kelly had one before Lorna McNamara brought her tally to 10 points. Finn and Keating relieved the pressure on Cork with one each as Clare fired over two frees.

Three minutes into injury time McNamara and Robyn Conway combined for a second Clare goal but Cork, thanks to a brilliant opening 30 minutes, had done enough to retain their crown.

Fiona Keating was named as Player of the Match on a day that did Cork camogie proud and got new county sponsor Black Bee Investments term off to a great start.

Cork's Miriam Cotter, Emma Murphy and Ciara O'Sullivan celebrate. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Cork's Miriam Cotter, Emma Murphy and Ciara O'Sullivan celebrate. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Scorers for Cork: C Finn 1-9 (0-6 f), Emma Murphy 2-0, F Keating 0-5, I Sheehan 0-1.

Clare: L Mc Namara 0-10 (0-6 f), R Conway 2-0, C Kelly 0-1 f, S Mc Gee 0-1.

CORK: M Lynch; S O’Keeffe, M Cotter, A O’Neill; H Sexton, C Kingston, C Dooley; I Sheehan, S Hurley; F Keating, Emma Murphy, C O’Sullivan; C Coleman, C Finn, Ellen Murphy.

Subs: A Smith for Ellen Murphy (25), H O’Leary for S Hurley (52), T Sheehan for C Coleman (52), L Wallace for C O’Sullivan (52), L Doyle for A O’Neill (58).

CLARE: R Daly; G Ryan, R Minogue, M Mescall; A Russell, S Daly, S Ní Cheallaigh; S McGee, C Kelly; E Cahill, G Hickey, L Daly; A Ryan, R Conway, L McNamara.

Subs: C Neylon for E Cahill (22), F O’Brien for A Ryan (48), S Lenihan for G Hickey (58).

Referee: Gavin Donegan (Dublin).

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