Inniscarra v Seandún: Linda Mellerick previews the Cork camogie final

Scarra are back in their sixth successive final, led by Aileen Sheehan and Joanne Casey, but dark horses Seandún have Amy O'Connor and Lauren Homan spearheading their challenge
Inniscarra v Seandún: Linda Mellerick previews the Cork camogie final

Rebecca Quigley drives forward for Inniscarra against St Finbarr's. Picture: Larry Cummins.

SUNDAY, SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship final: Inniscarra v Seandún, Castle Road, 3.30pm.

COUNTY final Sunday sees Inniscarra face Seandún, a pairing no one could have predicted at the start of this season.

Inniscarra looked tired in last year’s final. Understandably, it was their fifth final in a row, after a long time on the road. 

We felt that it would be a few years before we saw them back in a final. It wouldn’t take long; such is their underage strength, but not in 2021. Scarra legend Rena Buckley is also unavailable, as she is expecting, so it they were written out of contention. 

Seandún, as a divisional side, were something of an unknown entity. They haven’t been in the latter stages of the competition in a long time, Carbery probably going the furthest in the last 14 years, reaching the quarter-final in 2019, losing by a point after extra-time to Sarsfields, who went on to win the championship.

This year was harder for Seandún, with intermediate and junior games all within 24 hours of the divisional side’s championship outing. Some were the same day. They had talent on paper but that wins you nothing unless the commitment and a bond is there.

Both sides lost their opening rounds and coincidentally turned the tables on their slayers in the knockout stages, Seandún taking St Catherines in the quarter-final and Inniscarra defeating St Finbarr's in the semi last weekend.

Based on last weekend’s performances, this game has the ingredients of a thriller. Both sides are ripe with talent, they play fast, and both will attack the game. Inniscarra took the game to the Barrs last weekend from the throw-in, Aileen Sheehan goaling inside two minutes. 

Yes, they battened down the hatches in the second half. With a six-point lead and against the swirling wind that prevails in Castle Road, every team would do it. 

The way to counteract that is to pick off scores from further out, often not as easy as it seems in club camogie, but Seandún certainly have that ability, hitting some wonderful scores from distance last weekend.

Seandún has strength in every line. Starting with Cork senior goalkeeper Amy Lee, a good shot-stopper, alert off her line and very strong on puck-outs. They’ve a solid defence in Courtney O’Keeffe, Carol Ryan and Niamh O’Leary holding centre-back. 

Nicole Crean and Blackrock’s Katelyn Hickey, who had a fine game against Sars on the back of losing their intermediate championship semi-final only hours before, and Susan Kate Brosnan – who didn’t start the last day but came in and had a big impact around the middle of the field. She may start, but if not, is sure to make an appearance early on. 

 Seandún captain Lauren Homan takes a free against Sarsfields. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Seandún captain Lauren Homan takes a free against Sarsfields. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Up front they are packed with talent – captain Lauren Homan, having a fine season, Hayley Ryan, Amy O’Connor, Roisin De Faoite and Brian Dillons’ Sinead Mills. All good workers off the ball and all capable of scoring. They looked very slick in the opening half in their semi-final. Seandún tired in the third quarter and Sars hit a purple patch after half time. They’ll be fresher this week.

Seandún had seven scorers in their 1-15 last Saturday, 1-11 from play. Inniscarra had three in their scored 1-11, 1-7 from play.

We’re all familiar with Inniscarra at this stage. They are so experienced and the hunger they will bring is unquestionable. 

Where will Joanne Casey and Aileen Sheehan line up? They both cover huge ground. Aileen was listed at left half forward in the semi-final, she played on the right, scored her goal from the left corner, and dropped back in the second half. Joanne was named at full-forward yet played deep particularly in the second half where she gathered ball defensively and tore up the right-wing alleviating pressure and creating attacks. 

Inniscarra’s defence were excellent against the Barrs. They’ll need to bring that to the table again.

Midfield is going to be a key area and a great battle awaits between Katie O’Mahony, who is such an engine for Inniscarra, and Rosie O’Mahony against Nicole Crean or Katlyn Hickey and Michelle Murphy or Susan Kate Brosnan. Claudia Keane is versatile, but I’d expect her to be in an attacking role.

It brings me back to 1994 where I’d say it was the first time every neutral supporter wanted a divisional side to win when Seandún took on five-in-a-row chasing Glen Rovers in the final. What a cracker that was. 

The club prevailed. Will they do the same on Sunday?

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