Sarsfields 0-16 Courcey Rovers 1-12
CHAMPIONS die hard and this was the case in Castle Road as holders Courcey Rovers relinquished their SE Systems Senior crown as they lost out to Sarsfields by the narrowest of margins.
The challengers took an early lead and settled into the game, while the loss of Courceys leading scorer and Cork captain Linda Collins, who has emigrated for work purposes, was significant.
Rovers battled back in the second and Sarsfields had to dig deep and defend strongly to hold on.
It was nip and tuck through the opening half.
Fiona Keating gave the holders an early lead inside two minutes of the throw-in but Sars responded quickly with Meabh Mullins, Kaitlin Sheehan and Chloe Casey on target they opened up a three-point lead.
Courceys struggled to find their feet but with Jacinta Crowley and Keating keeping them in touch, they were well in the contest. At the end of the opening quarter, it was 0-5 to 0-3 in Sarsfields' favour.
The Courcey' inside line had to work hard against a Sars defence that dropped a player back and crowded the drop zone, where Grainne Hannon worked hard to keep them in touch.
With Casey unerring from placed balls and Lucy Allen on target Sarsfields opened up a 0-8 to 0-4 gap but a strong closing five minutes to the opening half saw Courceys re-take the lead.
Lucy Crowley pointed before Grainne Hannon set up Jacinta Crowley to finish to the net and with Keating adding a point it was 1-6 to 0-8 at the interval.
Saoirse McCarthy extended the lead on the resumption but Sarsfields upped the pace significantly and they outscored Courceys seven points to one by the second water break to lead 0-15 to 0-9.
In typical champions fashion, Courceys battled hard three Crowley points and one from substitute Christine O’Neill had the sides on level on 59 minutes.
With the game there to be won Orlaith Mullins edged Sarsfields back in front and from here to the full-time whistle Courceys strove for the equaliser but they couldn’t break down the Sarsfields defence who stood firm.