KINSALE joined Éire Óg in the Cork LGFA senior football championship semi-finals following another dramatic weekend of club action.
A thrilling Cork LGFA SFC Group 2 encounter between Kinsale and St Val’s went the way of the home side in Kinsale last Sunday afternoon. St Val’s knew nothing less than a victory would suffice to force their way into the county semi-finals while Kinsale needed to avoid defeat to make the last four.
The visitors, lining out with former multi All-Ireland winners Bríd Stack and Briege Corkery, led 1-3 to 0-1 at the first water break thanks to Corkery’s fortuitous third-minute goal. Kinsale hit back with a goal of their own through Aoife Keating but Sinead Cotter, Ciara McCarthy and Corkery points saw Val’s change ends 1-6 to 1-2 in front.
Laura Buttimer was sin-binned shortly before the break and Kinsale capitalised with Orla Finn (two) and Sadhbh O’Leary points reducing the deficit. Credit to St. Val’s however, as Ciara McCarthy (two frees) and Ciara Nevin efforts extended the leader’s advantage, 1-10 to 1-5, at the final water break.
There looked to be only one winner at that juncture until a marvellous Sadhbh O’Leary goal reignited Kinsale’s challenge. Finn (free) and Faye Ahern points were responded to by a Ciara McCarthy score at the opposite end. Down 1-11 to 2-7 with four minutes to go, a dramatic finale saw Orla Finn slot over a free and Kinsale’s defence hold out for a draw.
Éire Óg’s expected win at home to Clonakilty later that same afternoon confirmed Kinsale’s Group 2 runner-up berth and SFC semi-final placing.
“It is absolutely unbelievable because we put it all out there today,” commented Finn shortly after the final whistle.
“It is Kinsale’s first time beating St Val’s in a senior championship game. They got off to a very good start but we kept scraping back into the game. Thankfully, we got over the line and a draw should do for (making) the semi-final. It is the first time in our club’s history that we have made it this far.”
“We started brightly, let them back into it for a time and got on the front foot again,” Val’s manager Tony Hughes added.
“We looked to be in a good position until giving away a goal late on. We were lucky to come away with a draw in the end but it was frustrating given the amount of possession we had.”
In Ovens, Éire Óg made it three Group 2 wins in as many games, finished top of the table and secured a county semi-final berth. In their first year up at senior level, Clonakilty gave a good account of themselves but succumbed to a 1-15 to 2-2 defeat.
Once again, Eimear Scally dominated Éire Óg’s scoresheet, contributing 1-6 on an afternoon Laura Cleary (0-2), Emma Cleary (0-2), Aoife Rodgers, Sadhbh McGoldrick, Shauna Cronin, Orlaith Cahalane and Ruth Murphy (0-1 each) also scored. Orlaith Deasy (2-1, 2 penalties) and Ciara Ryan (0-1, 1 free) replied for Clon.
“It was a very good performance with all 20 players contributing to our win,” Éire Óg manager Donal Hurley said.
“We defended very well and worked hard against a very good Clonakilty team. It looks like a semi-final final against either Bride Rovers or Inch Rovers now.”
The aforementioned Bride Rovers saw off a gutsy Fermoy challenge 2-9 to 1-8 in Group 1 last Sunday. Fermoy would live to regret kicking 15 wides in an entertaining game in which Saoirse Moore (0-4), Eve Buckley (1-0, 1 pen), Caitlin Duffy (0-3) and Aisling Hutchings (0-1) were on target for the visitors.
Bride were full value for their victory thanks to Katie Quirke (1-6), Grace Kearney (1-0), Jen Barry, Ciara Morrison and Grace Culloty (0-1 each) scores. The winners' ability to transition quickly from defence to attack should serve them well in the coming weeks.
Inch Rovers also stayed in contention for a county semi-final slot thanks to a comprehensive 5-14 to 1-7 defeat of a depleted Aghada. Ann Marie O’Connor (2-1), Angela Walsh (1-4), Noelle O’Donovan (1-1), Ciara Irwin (1-2), Annie Walsh (0-3), Sarah Harrington (0-2) and Tara Hickey (0-1) provided Inch’s scores.
“Today’s result sees us keep in touch in the senior county championship,” Inch Rovers manager Noel O’Connor commented.
“Aghada were a depleted team with injuries but gamely fought to the end. We needed to keep the scores ticking over to stay in the championship.”