/ GAA

Outstanding Cork claim camogie honours

Updated: Thursday, 14 Jun 2007 16:12

Emily Hayden of Tipperary (left) and Briege Corkery of Cork tussle at Croke Park
Emily Hayden of Tipperary (left) and Briege Corkery of Cork tussle at Croke Park

Click here to watch highlights of and reaction to Cork's All-Ireland Camogie final victory over Tipperary.

Cork's camogie stars went one better than their hurling compatriots as they retained their Gala All-Ireland senior camogie title with ease this afternoon, powering past Tipperary for a 0-12 to 0-04 victory.

A 20,685-strong crowd turned up at Croke Park to watch Cork's half-back line and midfield strangle the life out of 2004 champions Tipp.

2005 All-Star Jennifer O'Leary chipped with three points as Cork led 0-06 to 0-03 at the break, with only Joanne Ryan, Emily Hayden and Eimear McDonnell on the score sheet for the Premier girls.

In a one-sided affair, John Cronin's charges went nine points ahead with Gemma O'Connor, Emer Dillon and Una O'Donoghue shooting 0-02 apiece.

Disappointingly, after Aoife Murray had thwarted a number of their goal attempts, Tipp's fourth point arrived in injury-time from the hurl of Hayden – a full 35 minutes after their third.

These two sides have met in every senior camogie decider since 1999, apart from the 2001 final which saw Tipp beat Kilkenny, and with that in mind it was easy to see how the Munster rivals could cancel each other out.

The sheer familiarity between the game's top teams, with league and championship clashes already behind them this season, meant that this was never going to be a high-scoring clash.

Defences were on top, and no line more so than the Cork half-back unit of Rena Buckley, Mary O'Connor and Anna Geary. They dealt with every ball that came their way, so much so that the attacking threats of Tipp's McDonnell, Louise Young and Jill Horan were never really seen.

Midfield duo Gemma O'Connor and Briege Corkery got through mountains of work, and dual players Buckley, Corkery, Angela Walsh and Mary O'Connor are deservedly in with a chance of claiming a unique 'double double' in three weeks' time.

All four picked up All-Ireland winners' medals in camogie and ladies football last season, and are in line repeat that feat when Cork take on Armagh in the football final on 1 October.

Tipp should have been all out for revenge after the Rebelettes spoiled their three-in-a-row bid last September, but this afternoon they never got out of the blocks. Cork led from the fifth-minute onwards when crafty corner-forward Dillon floated over a point from the right wing.

O'Leary made it two for Cork when she had her goal shot deflected over bravely by Tipp 'keeper Jovita Delaney. Soon the holders and league champions pushed 0-04 to 0-01 clear with scores from Corkery, who snapped onto a poor clearance from Delaney, and key forward O'Leary.

Tipp's chances were not helped by the number of balls dropped short into the grasp of Cork netminder Murray, and only for Joanne Ryan's searing pace and the ability of McDonnell to dominate her corner the Premier girls would have ended the half clinging to Hayden's 11th-minute point.

A great run and point from Tipp midfielder Ryan gave her side hope and for all of their early dominance, Cork's lead stood at only 0-04 to 0-02. Possession-wise, it was all Cork and points from O'Leary and the dynamic Gemma O'Connor sprung them three clear for the break.

Cork's grip on the game tightened on the resumption as some excellent hounding mean the Tipp forward lines saw little of the ball.

Former All-Star Rachel Moloney restarted Cork's charge to a 22nd All-Ireland title when she pointed and then played in full-forward Una O'Donoghue for an excellent score.

Dillon got out ahead of her marker Julie Kirwan to fling over Cork's ninth point before left-half forward O'Leary was foiled by Delaney with a goal in sight.

Caitriona Foley was then on cue to deny Tipp a rallying goal. Murray was also in fine form, producing two textbook saves with less than ten minutes remaining. Claire Grogan dangled in a dangerous '45' delivery that Murray batted away, while the Cork number one was also equal to a drilled shot from Hayden.

Overs from 2002 captain O'Donoghue, Gemma O'Connor and O'Leary, who took her championship tally to 0-22 with a late free, really clinched it for Cork. Ryan, who was Tipp's best player, went on another solo run which almost plundered a goal in injury-time, but O'Regan deflected the effort wide.

Hayden swung over Tipp's fourth point, which was little more than a consolation, as Cork bagged their third O'Duffy Cup since 2002.

Afterwards, Cork boss Cronin said: 'It was a marvellous performance – I thought we played out of our skins. That was our best performance of the year.

'The half-back line and midfield were tremendous and set the standard for the rest of the team. Aoife, our goalkeeper, always has a cool head and she made some marvellous saves to prevent Tipperary from coming back at us.'

Cork: A Murray; J O'Callaghan (capt), C Foley, A O'Regan; R Buckley, M O’Connor, A Geary; G O'Connor (0-02), B Corkery (0-01); R Moloney (0-01), A Walsh, J O'Leary (0-04 (0-01f)); E Dillon (0-02), U O'Donoghue (0-02), E Burke.

Subs used: S O'Donovan for Burke (37 mins), O Cotter for Walsh (49).

Tipperary: J Delaney; S Kelly, U O'Dwyer, J Kirwan; M Shortt, P Fogarty (capt), S Nealon; C Grogan, J Ryan (0-01); J Horan, E Hayden (0-02), C Hennessey; E McDonnell (0-01), L Young, G Kinnane.

Subs used: L Bourke for Young (half-time), T O'Halloran for Hennessey (45 mins), M Ryan for Horan (48).

Referee: Fintan McNamara (Clare).

Live!
Sunday Sport
Sunday Sport
Powered by NewsWhip