Impressive Sars cruise to Intermediate Camogie glory
CAMOGIE: Tipperary Intermediate Championship Final
Thurles Sarsfields 2-22
Shannon Rovers 1-2
Report: Enda Treacy at The Ragg
Player of the Match: Karen Kennedy (Thurles Sarsfields)
SCORERS - Thurles Sarsfields: Roisin Corbett 0-7 (5 frees); Nicola Loughnane 1-3; Karen Kennedy 1-2; Andrea Loughnane (1 free) Sarah McKevitt 0-3 each; Aoife O’Dwyer, Sarah Stakelum 0-2 each.
Shannon Rovers: Laura Leenane 1-1 (0-1 free), Sabrina Larkin 0-1 free.
Total domination from the first whistle paved the way for Thurles Sarsfields to finally claim an elusive County Intermediate title over an inexperienced Shannon Rovers side on a sweltering, hot day on Sunday.
All over the field the Thurles ladies were in complete control from start to finish and the ability of their forwards to find the target was too much for a youthful Shannon Rovers team to handle, as they struggled to get into the scoring zone for much of the game.
Sarsfields look very much like a senior team playing below their level and the results this year, and indeed this performance, would suggest that this is the case but they had to get over this final hump to get there and they achieved it in prolific fashion.
In fairness to Shannon Rovers, getting to a final in their first year in the grade is a phenomenal achievement for such a young team, and while the result doesn’t make for pretty reading, they will be delighted with their lot for the year and will take a lot of positives with a view to next year.
Early on, the north side put up a solid fight in the opening quarter and restricted Thurles to only three points as they looked to stifle the attacking threat of their opponents; Laura Leenane pointing from a free just before the water break to have them well in the game at 0-3 to 0-1.
However, the Thurles juggernaut weren’t going to be drawn into a dogfight as they went on a remarkable scoring onslaught in the second quarter, with Roisin Corbett accurate from frees and play in that time while Nicola and Andrea Loughnane were in fine form with scores of their own; Nicola also rattled the net in the 27th minute after being played through on goal Sarah Stakelum to give Sars’ a commanding lead coming up to the break.
Rovers were struggling to plug the numerous holes in their defense being exploited by the Thurles forwards and after Karen Kennedy set up Aoife O’Dwyer for a good score in the 29th minute, the first half was concluded and Rovers would have a chance to re-group, as they trailed 1-11 to 0-1 going into the second half.
In all honesty, the game was as good as over in terms of the result and Thurles, even at this stage, went into cruise control as they picked off their opponents at will in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Karen Kennedy was everywhere on the day and she had the ball over the bar in the first ten seconds of the half and this set off another relentless run of scores from Thurles with Corbett and Kennedy both scoring a brace of points in this time along with an excellent point from the clinical Nicola Loughnane as Sars’ extended the lead to 19 at the second half water break.
Sabrina Larkin was now moved up to centre-forward in an attempt to salvage some scores and pride for Shannon Rovers, and she came close to raising a green flag just after the resumption when she had a close range free deflected over the bar to get her sides second point of the day.
But Thurles were unrelenting and they continued to come in search of scores, Sarah McKevitt getting just rewards for an energetic performance, slotting over two points in succession in the 49th & 50th minute as Shannon Rovers legs were starting to flag.
But in fairness to Rovers, they never gave up on the day despite the insurmountable score they faced and they got their just rewards in the 54th minute when a long ball into the Thurles square wasn’t cleared and Laura Leenane managed to scramble the ball over the line in a crowd to give her side some consolation.
A procession was in motion for the final minutes though and Thurles capped off the win late on when Karen Kennedy marked a magnificent personal performance with a goal after substitute Karen Bohan played her in one-on-one and the Tipp midfielder made no mistake to finish from close range; the final whistle sounding straight after the send Thurles into senior camogie for 2021.
TEAMS - Thurles Sarsfields: Katie McCormack; Aoife Butler, Niamh McCormack, Emma O’Dwyer; Emma Carey, Laura Loughnane, Sadhbh Leahy; Karen Kennedy, Ciara Cummins; Aoife O’Dwyer, Roisin Corbett, Andrea Loughnane; Sarah Stakelum, Nicola Loughnane, Sarah McKevitt.
Subs: Karen Bohan for A O’Dwyer (44); Caitriona Kennedy for E O’Dwyer (46); Aisling Dwyer for Stakelum (50); Aoife Hickey for Corbett (50); Ciara Maher for Butler (52).
Shannon Rovers: Aine Slattery; Stephanie Sullivan, Julie Brennan, Aisling McKenna; Frances Bugler, Sabrina Larkin, Eimear Fogarty; Rachel Hannigan, Ciara Cleary; Aine Cleary, Roisin Collins, Gillian McKenna; Anna Harding, Laura Leenane, Paula Hannigan.
Subs: Bethany Slattery for P Hannigan (HT); Aoife O’Sullivan for McKenna (32); Kelly Watson for Collins (40); Lisa Duggan for Harding (43); Sarah Leenane for A Cleary (43).
Referee: Cathal Boyle (Ballybacon/Grange)