Linda Mellerick: Seandún success will lift camogie standard at club level

The city division landed their first title in beating Inniscarra, bridging a gap to Muskerry's victory in 2007
Linda Mellerick: Seandún success will lift camogie standard at club level

Seandún and Blackrock players celebrate their County senior camogie title win over Inniscarra in the final which was played in Castle Road. Picture: Howard Crowdy

HISTORY was made by Seandún last Sunday with their first senior camogie championship title.

It was in 1994 that they last appeared in a final, defeated by five in a row chasing Glen Rovers.

Prior to this, the divisional sides to have taken the title were Muskerry (1933 and 2007), Carrigdhoun (2004) and Imokilly (1947 and 1972-1976).

The euphoria which surrounded the victory within the Seandún camp I think surprised even them. It meant an enormous amount. I popped into St Vincent's last Sunday evening, home of captain Lauren Homan, where the team celebrated, and it was absolutely rocking. There were club players present from Vincent's and in fact, at the game there were many mentors and club teammates of the players cheering them on and undoubtedly inspired. 

This win was huge for junior and intermediate city clubs, and with the same team available next season, they’ll be all out for back-to-back titles. There will be other club players now eager to get on this team. They’ll realise that they too can play at the top level in Cork and that in turn will improve clubs as it raises standards.

Seandún's Nicole O'Connor celebrates her County Senior Camogie win against Inniscarra with Rebecca O'Rourke and Sinead Warren following the final whistle at Castle Road. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Seandún's Nicole O'Connor celebrates her County Senior Camogie win against Inniscarra with Rebecca O'Rourke and Sinead Warren following the final whistle at Castle Road. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Seandún started with flair and it was in the first quarter that they won this game. They led 1-6 to 0-2 on 15 minutes.

Inniscarra won the second quarter 0-3 to 0-2 and in general play Inniscarra had got to grips with the game and the sides were evenly matched outfield. But in the third quarter, Inniscarra were well on top and won it 0-5 to 0-1. 

During that period Seandún were struggling around the middle of the field with Inniscarra running at them and seemingly having an extra player at times. Seandún looked to be tiring in that middle third —Katie O’Mahony’s engine was again to the forefront. I thought Seandún’s half-back line in particular was very good during that onslaught, Niamh O’Leary getting player of the match and Carol Ryan also having a fine game alongside Courtney O’Keeffe further back.

Inniscarra scored 11 goals coming into this final. They had goaled in every game. So, holding Inniscarra goalless had a huge say in Seandún’s win and to give her credit Amy Lee brought off a couple of lovely saves and saved a crucial penalty.

Seandún’s forwards were seeing very little of the ball at that stage and then out of the blue, a couple of attacks, and Amy O’Connor with probably her second touch of the ball in that second half scores the goal that sealed the match for Seandún.

It wasn’t even the fact that it gave them a five-point lead with 12 minutes of normal time remaining. It swung the outfield battle because Lauren Homan followed it up with a free and Inniscarra only managed one further point in that 12 minutes (before injury time where they hit two) whereas they had hit five in the first 16 minutes after halftime.

The penalties — I don’t know what either of them were awarded for. The penalty Seandún conceded I can only assume was for mouthing. Had that gone in, this game could have had a different outcome.

There was five points in it. That would have made it two and Inniscarra would have bombarded Seandún. Then Inniscarra conceded a penalty at the other end.

The mind boggles as to why Amy Lee was called up to go for goal, and she was called up to go for it, otherwise there was 14 other players that could have tapped the ball over the bar from 21 yards. That too was saved by Inniscarra keeper Caoimhe Buckley.

It’s tough on Inniscarra. They’ve lost the last three finals and that’s hard to take. For Seandún it was a dream come true for these players and may they enjoy the celebrations. Incidentally — a bit of trivia. Niamh O’Leary’s mother Karen O’Leary (nee Mellerick) played at left half-back on the last Seandún team to reach the final, in 1994.

On the All-Star nominee selection — I think Cork’s representation of 10 players is fair enough except for Meabh Cahalane. I thought she had a consistent and solid season and she has a right to feel disappointed at being left out.

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