ÉIRE Óg got their SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship campaign off to a winning start with a deserved win over rivals Ballincollig at Grenagh’s excellent new pitch.
The winners dominated the opening half but solid defending by the Village meant that Éire Óg had only a six-point lead at halftime. However, a goal in the opening minute of the second half for the Ovens side never saw them being troubled on the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.
From the throw-in, a great move involving Leah Weste and Miriam Healy saw Ballincollig take the lead with a point by Sam Coomey, but after that, the Village side were chasing the game, as Éire Óg took control of proceedings.
Emma Crowley levelled the scores a minute later after being set up by Isobel Sheehan.
Then Sheehan and Crowley combined again for Sheehan to put her side ahead after five minutes.
It was constant pressure from the Ovens side as Sheehan and Ciara Beechinor were posing problems every time, they ran at the Ballincollig defence. This resulted in Ballincollig conceding frees which Margaret Herlihy punished by hitting four frees in the opening half.
Solid defending by the Ballincollig full-back line of Megan O’Leary, Marlay Tamaud, and Ciara O’Donovan kept Ballincollig in the game.
Ballincollig came more into the game approaching halftime as excellent work by Sam Coomey and Elaine Casey resulted in points from Casey and a Lauren Cooper free left Éire Óg leading by 0-9 to 0-3 at the short whistle.
A goal from Siobhan Hutchinson on the restart ended Ballincollig’s hopes of a comeback after Cooper played her in.
Ballincollig net minder Ana Hartnett brought off a point-blank save as Casey bore down on goal.
Frees from Cooper and Miriam Healy and a point from play by Ashley Lovett saw Ballincollig enjoy a period of dominance as Healy and Coomey began to take control in the middle of the park, and Chloe Hennigan hit two excellent points.
Hutchinson responded with three excellent points in the final quarter for the Ovens side and Laura Cleary added two as Éire Óg dashed any hopes of a late Ballincollig revival, to run out deserving winners.
Éire Óg will be happy with the win and the bragging rights but will face tougher tests in the coming weeks if they are to be serious challengers, while Ballincollig will have to show a big improvement if they are to leave their mark on the championship.
S Hutchinson 1-2, M Herlihy 0-4 f, E Crowley, I Sheehan 0-3 each, L Cleary 0-2, A McSweeney 0-1.
C Hennigan 0-2, L Cooper 0-2 f, M Healy (f), S Coomey, E Casey, L O’Farrell, A Lovett 0-1 each.
R Murray; E Buckley, F Murphy, R Murphy; R Sheehan, O Lynch, ME Desmond; S Hutchinson, I Sheehan; C Beechinor, E Crowley, L Cleary; A Barry, M Herlihy, A McSweeney.
M O’Donovan for Crowley (36), O Beechinor for Desmond (53 inj).
A Hartnett; M O’Leary, M Tamaud, C O’Donovan; L Weste, S Buckley, E O’Connell; L O’Farrell, M Healy; S Coomey, L Cooper, E Casey; A Lovett, C Hennigan, N O’Brien.
C O’Brien for Lovett (44), O Boland for Weste (58), Lovett for Cooper (59 inj).
A Dorgan (Watergrasshill).