Fast start against Killeagh sends St Finbarr's into county semi-final

Three first-half goal were crucial to the Barrs' progress
Fast start against Killeagh sends St Finbarr's into county semi-final

St Finbarr's Aoife O'Neill hand passes the sliotar while being chased by Killeagh's Ciara Daly during the SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship match at Castle Road. Picture: Howard Crowdy

St Finbarr's 3-13 Killeagh 2-11 
ST Finbarrs made it through to the SE Systems Senior Camogie semi-final after a hard-fought second-half battle with Killeagh in Castle Road on Saturday. 

The damage from a Killeagh perspective was done in the first half when they conceded three goals and had a halftime deficit of eight points to chase.

But chase it they did and on two occasions in the second half they had the gap down to three but a few wides at crucial times and a failure to capitalise up front against a solid Barrs defence meant that they always had enough to pull away again. 

Despite scoring just five points in that second period, two from play, they always looked like they could up things a notch and see the game out.

Key players for both sides, Maeve Cahalane and Aoife Walsh were both ruled out after picking up injuries earlier in the week. While Cahalane was undoubtedly a loss to St Finbarr's, Walsh was an even bigger loss to a team that doesn’t have the strength in depth as the Barrs.

Nicole Olden was Killeagh’s tormentor and the experience of Walsh could have made a difference there. As it was all Olden needed was two chances to strike two goals with her nifty play and cool finish. She laid the Barrs foundation with her first on three minutes coming in on the left and kicking the initial block home. 

Killeagh were working harder for their scores and were 1-1 to 0-3 behind when Olden got her second major. Killeagh, dispossessed by Ciara Golden outfield, were punished when Olden rounded and finished to the net.

St Finbarr's lined out up front as many Cork teams have in the recent past, Olden and Eimear Hurley on the square, Orlaith Cahalane on the thirty, Gemma O’Connor a direct line outside her on the 45.

O’Connor and Keeva McCarthy made it 2-6 to 0-6 before an O’Connor strike from forty yards dipped under the crossbar to give a nine-point gap and things weren’t looking good for the East Cork side.

In truth, Killeagh were disappointing in that opening half. They looked a bit flat-footed in comparison to their opponents who had a spring in their step. Laura Treacy hit three good points but they didn’t have the scoring power up front, something that has hindered them over the past few seasons. 

They tried to address that this year with bold switches but unfortunately you need more at this level.

The half finished 3-8 to 0-9 with Killeagh coming back out with wind advantage.

They took the game to St Finbarr's immediately, playing with a far greater intensity. Ciara Daly pointed and it was all Killeagh for that first ten minutes but they weren’t getting the return on the scoreboard and a couple of stoppages were killing any momentum. 

Daly won a penalty which Sigerson netted and Hannah Looney followed up with a point and suddenly there was just three points in it with a full quarter plus left to play. 

But Ciara Golden stemmed the tide with the Barrs' first score of the second half and it was an important one. Then Orlaith Cahalane hit two, one from a free, and Killeagh’s huge effort was wiped out. They kept coming. A low free from Sigerson was blocked but gathered by Beausang to hit the net and we had a goal the margin again.

The final minutes including six additional were frantic as the Barrs sought an insurance point and Killeagh a leveller but the Barrs were on top and drew fouls leaving Cahalane to hit the last two points of the game for a deserved Barrs victory.

Killeagh's Caoimhe Harney fails to block St Finbarr's Emma Olden's clearance. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Killeagh's Caoimhe Harney fails to block St Finbarr's Emma Olden's clearance. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Scorers for St Finbarr's: N Olden 2-1, O Cahalane 0-5 (0-2 f, 0-1 pen), K McCarthy 0-3, G O’Connor 1-1, H O’Leary, S McCartan, C Golden 0-1 each.

Killeagh: S Beausang 1-4 (0-4 f), C Sigerson 1-1 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), L Treacy 0-3, H Looney 0-2, C Daly 0-1. 

ST FINBARR'S: C Hurley; S Punch, A Egan, G Cahalane; A O’Neill, E Olden, C Golden; S McCartan, A Shannon; K McCarthy, O Cahalane, H O’Leary; E Hurley, G O’Connor, N Olden.

KILLEAGH: K M Cullinane; C Barry, N Ni Chaoimh, E Treacy; M O’Donovan C Sigerson, S Kent; L Treacy, H Looney; C Harney, K Aherne, L McEvoy; R Sheehan, S Beausang, C Daly.

Sub: R Fogarty for C Barry (inj 48).

Referee: John Horgan (Gleann na Laoi).

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