Cork camogie: Barrs, Sars, Inniscarra and Seandún left in senior title race

Mary Newman previews this Saturday's SE Systems Senior Camogie semi-finals at Castle Road
Cork camogie: Barrs, Sars, Inniscarra and Seandún left in senior title race

Grainne Hannon, Courcey Rovers, in action against defender Katie Barry, Sarsfields, in the SE Systems Cork Senior Camogie Championship. Picture: Larry Cummins

IT’S down to the last four and it’s St Finbarr’s, Inniscarra, Seandún, and Sarsfield’s that remain in the hunt for the SE Systems Senior Camogie title.

Last weekend’s quarter-finals threw up a surprise result with a strong Killeagh side over-powered by an impressive Inniscarra outfit; champions Courcey Rovers relinquished their title to a lively Sarsfield’s side but Seandun’s victory over St Catherine’s was impressive but not unexpected.

 Essie O'Connell, Seandún is chased by Eimear O'Brien, St Catherine's. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Essie O'Connell, Seandún is chased by Eimear O'Brien, St Catherine's. Picture: Larry Cummins.

The meeting between St Finbarr’s and Inniscarra is a repeat of last season semi-final where Inniscarra edged it with a goal to spare. The sides also met in round one of this season’s championship when the Barrs recorded a comprehensive 2-11 to 1-6 victory on a day when they were stronger in all sectors.

Since last season’s semi-final clash, there has been changes in both camps with new faces making their mark for each side.

St Finbarr’s are hugely strengthened by the acquisition of Down senior player Sorcha McCartan; the northerner is on work placement in Cork and on transferring to St Finbarr’s has brought huge strength to their forward line, her ability to win possession and find the range has been a feature of their journey to the last four.

Younger players Ella Wiggington-Barrett, Orlaith Cahalane, and Ciara Golden have all performed well and have blended in with experienced performers such as Keeva McCarthy, Gemma O’Connor, and Lynda O’ Connell.

Cork senior manager Paudie Murray is at the helm and on their journey to date they have played two games; their opening-round victory was followed by the defeat of Glen Rovers in a high-scoring contest and, having got over this hurdle, they received a bye to the semi-final. So, in effect, they have had just two championship games.

Inniscarra, in contrast, have had four outings and nothing beats games to get up to championship pace. With each game there has been improvements in their performances; after losing out to the Barrs in the first game they regrouped and recorded a win over Muskerry before a tough battle with Enniskeane which they won 3-11 to 1-10.

They went into their clash against Killeagh as underdogs, but they tore the form book to shreds as they recorded an eight-point victory in what was the game of the championship so far.

From the outset they were focused; Joanne Casey, Aileen Sheehan, Katie O’Mahony, and Claudia Keane were all to the fore as they pressurised the Killeagh defence. At the back, Caitlin Looney, Aoife Kavanagh, and Erin Looney are strong defenders and, definitely, the extra games have stood to Inniscarra.

In the opening round game between the sides both defences were busy, but it was St Finbarr’s use of possession and fast movement of the ball working the lines that troubled Inniscarra, in their clash with Killeagh they broke down Killeagh’s quick movement of the ball and they will, no doubt, aim to do the same on Saturday. St Finbarr's have been the side to maintain their pre-championship favourites tag to date and with an eight-point win over Inniscarra in round one under their belts they will be confident of advancing.

Sarsfield’s had a preliminary round victory over Milford and advanced to round one where they defeated Newcestown they were pushed to the limits by a determined Ballygarvan side in round three before closing it out with a late goal from Lucy Allen. 

They overcame champions Courcey Rovers last weekend with an impressive display and given the huge array of talent at their disposal it is no surprise to see them in the last four. Champions in 2019 they didn’t enjoy the best of seasons in 2020, but this year they are a focused, well-balanced outfit with strength in all sectors.

Seandún have been superb to date and they won’t fear the challenge Sars will pose. Having lost to St Catherine’s in round one, they re-grouped and defeated Newcestown and Éire Óg and went on to reverse the result of round one with a comprehensive win over St Catherine’s and with Kaitlin Hickey, Amy O’Connor, Niamh O’ Leary and Sinead Mills leading the way, they will not fear Sars.

SATURDAY

SE Systems Senior Championship semi-finals at Castle Road: St Finbarr’s v Inniscarra, 1.15pm; Sarsfields v Seandun; 4.15pm.

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