Clonoulty bounce back to see off Sars

County Senior Camogie Championship Group 1

Clonoulty Rossmore 1-12

Thurles Sarsfields 1-9

Clonoulty/Rossmore emerged victorious after a fantastic battle against an excellent Thurles Sarsfields side in round 2 of the County Senior Camogie Championship in Clonoulty on Saturday.

In an action packed sixty minutes the lead changed hands numerous times with the sides level on eight occasions.

Heading into the final quarter, Clonoulty held a slender one point lead, however they outscored the visitors by two points in the final quarter to seal the win.

With time running out, Thurles Sarsfields were forced to try and conjure up a goal, electing to drop a free into the danger zone. In the end, the Clonoulty defence, led by Courtney Ryan at centre back, withstood the late Sars onslaught to claim a hard earned victory.

With two rounds of the championship played, last year’s intermediate champions Thurles Sarsfields have shown that they will be a match for any team in the competition and can take plenty of positives from the game, including a superb strike by Andrea Loughnane to raise a green flag in the 23rd minute.

They’ll ultimately have regrets over some poorly taken shots, wides that they couldn’t afford against a Clonoulty/Rossmore team determined for a victory after their opening round defeat to Drom-Inch.

A key talking point after the game which added to the drama of the contest was Cait Devane’s re-taken penalty. Only three minutes after Thurles Sarsfields went ahead with a goal, Eimear Bourke was through on goals before being fouled for a penalty. Devane’s original penalty was brilliantly saved by Katie McCormack in the Thurles goal but the referee blew for it to be retaken after the Thurles defenders were deemed to have encroached. On her second attempt the Tipp star made no mistake to level the sides again 1-3 apiece.

At half time the sides were level again 1-5 apiece. Both teams were unlucky not to have further goals but for some brilliant goalkeeping by both Therese White for Clonoulty and Katie McCormack for Thurles.

On 27 minutes, Casey Hennessey found Cait Devane with an inch perfect pass but Laura Loughnane managed to get in a hook to prevent a certain goal. On her second attempt and the angle now more tricky Katie McCormack blocked the resulting strike.

Cora Hennessey operated at midfield and Courtney Ryan at centre back in a direct switch from their opening game. Both players had a big impact on proceedings and showed some excellent fielding. Alongside Cora Bernadette Ryan was having a huge battle with Karen Kennedy and on the occasions when Kennedy did get the better of her opposition number her powerful running at the Clonoulty defence caused all sorts of trouble and sprung the Thurles attack into life where Nicola Loughnane and Andrea Loughnane finished off some lovely moves to keep the Thurles scoreboard ticking over.

Cait Devane was always busy moving between centre forward and full forward and was deadly accurate on frees to ensure Clonoulty led by the slightest margin at the second water break 1-9 to 1-8.

After the water break crucially Clonoulty got the next two points from a Cait Devane free and a Cora Hennessy point from play.

Thurles responded with a point from play from Nicola Loughnane before another pointed free from Cait made a three point game once again. In the end Thurles couldn’t get the all-important goal that they needed to bridge the gap and Clonoulty ran out winners.

Player of the Match: Cait Devane (Clonoulty/Rossmore)

Clonoulty/Rossmore: Therese White; Teresa Burke, Moira Kinane, Jennifer Ryan; Katie Murphy, Courtney Ryan, Emer Loughman; Cora Hennessy (0-2), Bernadette Ryan; Kate Ryan, Cait Devane (1-7, 1-0 pen, 0-5f), Avril Quirke (0-1); Eimear Bourke, Casey Hennessy (0-1), Kayleigh Davern (0-1).

Sub: Dervla Heffernan for Burke (inj)

Thurles Sarsfields: Katie McCormack; Aoife Butler, Niamh McCormack, Emma O’Dwyer; Sadhbh Leahy, Laura Loughnane, Emma Carey; Ciara Cummins, Karen Kennedy (0-1); Aoife Dwyer (0-1), Andrea Loughnane (1-3, 0-1f), Aisling Dwyer; Sarah Stakelum, Nicole Loughnane (0-3), Sarah McKevitt (0-1).

Sub: Anna Derby for McKevitt.

Referee: Paul Carew