Inspired Devane leads Clonoulty past Duharra
CAMOGIE: Tipperary Senior Championship Semi-Final
Report: Enda Treacy at The Ragg
Player of the Match: Cait Devane (Clonoulty/Rossmore)
SCORERS - Clonoulty/Rossmore: Cait Devane (0-13, 7 frees), Eimear Bourke 0-2, Kate Ryan, Kayleigh Davern, Avril Quirke 0-1 each.
Burgess/Duharra: Jenny Grace 0-7 frees, Ciardha Maher 1-1, Amy Kennedy 0-3, Kate Grace, Kayleigh Davern 0-1 each.
An exceptional individual performance from Cait Devane and excellent defensive display propelled Clonoulty/Rossmore past Burgess/Duharra in a fantastic Tipperary senior camogie championship semi-final on Sunday evening.
The pre-match discussion was that this game would prove to be a far closer contest than the 2018 county final clash where Burgess/Duharra sailed to victory, and that is what transpired a proverbial game of two halves unfolded, but the ace up Clonoulty sleeves was Tipp star Cait Devane who gave a performance worthy of the occasion.
A swashbuckling first half performance was the launchpad from which Clonoulty set up this win, as they led 0-12 to 0-4 at the break, with Burgess taking far too long to get going and will have had a lot of regrets at the full-time whistle having dragged the game back to a single point when Ciardha Maher goaled in the 52nd minute.
Such was the lax nature of the first half effort from the North side, they registered three out of their four points from Jenny Grace frees as Clonoulty completed dominated every sector of the field and had the look of a team with real confidence.
Two early frees in the opening few minutes from Cait Devane got the West side into the groove early and the defensive effort was a real feature of the half as they were like a brick wall in the opening exchanges, and Devane and company were making the most of the deliveries in with Eimear Bourke and Devane opening a 0-4 to nil lead after six minutes.
Jenny Grace had Burgess/Duharra up and running a minute later from a placed ball but the impressive figure of Cait Devane was really exploding into action and had a fine score after lovely control on the run before whipping over a 30-yard effort.
It was a sign of things to come as she was looking extremely composed and confident in her play, drifting all over midfield and the half forward line, which was causing Burgess huge concern; Devane scoring two further points (1 free) after Ciardha Maher had pitched in with her sides second a minute earlier.
Burgess/Duharra were living off scraps as they couldn’t get a grip on the play at all because of the Clonoulty work rate, and after Jenny Grace reduced the gap to three points with another well struck free before the water break, Burgess had a chance to re-group.
Clonoulty had other ideas however, and they kept up their dominance after the water break with four scores in a row, three coming from Devane, the pick of which was a monster effort from midfield as the game was quickly getting away from Duharra, as they threatened very little for the remainder of the half and trailed by eight points at half-time.
All but one Clonoulty foot looked to be in the final at this stage, but this Burgess/Duharra proved why they have been so difficult to beat in recent years with a big second half performance, with Amy Kennedy getting them into resurgent mood straight from the throw in with a good point.
This was the catalyst for a turn in fortunes for Duharra and Kennedy was again on target a few moments later after pouncing on a poor puck out from Lorna Ryan and in a matter of minutes the North ladies had their tails up and were starting to up the intensity considerably all over the pitch.
Indeed, two more scores just before the second half water break had the gap reduced to four points and they were now starting to feel like the comeback was on as their big game players were starting to influence matters.
Cait Devane though was not dropping her standards as she dragged her team through the Burgess purple patch with a couple of fantastic scores, and such was her confidence at this stage, she nearly notched a ridiculous score after using the broken end of her hurley to gather possession before running out toward the sideline for a link up with a Clonoulty hurley carrier, her brother John, who gave her a new hurley in running, her shot unfortunately dropping short.
Further scores from Burgess/Duharra though, meant that the final ten minutes would be tight with Kennedy and Grace and an excellently taken Katie Grace point had the game back to within four; and when Ciardha Maher handpassed to the net a few minutes later the game as back to just a single score.
A tight finish was in prospect but Clonoulty didn’t panic as an excellent team score finishing with Avril Quirke pointing three minutes from time and further scores from Devane placed balls meant that the West ladies held out to clinch their place in the decider on Saturday week against rivals Drom & Inch.
For Burgess/Duharra, it is the first time since 2011 they will not have appeared in a county final.
TEAMS - Clonoulty/Rossmore: Lorna Ryan; Theresa Bourke, Clodagh Quirke, Moira Kinnane; Katie Murphy, Courtney Ryan, Eimear Loughman; Bernadette Ryan, Kelly Quirke; Cait Devane, Kate Ryan, Avril Quirke; Eimear Bourke, Casey Hennessy, Kayleigh Davern.
Burgess/Duharra: Ciara Holohan; Fiona Kirwan, Aisling Cremin, Orla Gillespie; Gemma Grace, Caoimhe Maher, Katie Grace; Ruth Barry, Ciara McKeogh; Ciardha Maher, Jenny Grace, Aine Gillespie; Kaitlin O’Halloran, Amy Kennedy, Katie O’Flaherty.
Sub: Caoilfhinn Maher for O’Halloran (47).
Referee: Kieran Slattery (Knockavilla).