BY NIALL SHERRY
Antrim await in Croker clash
Kilkenny’s Intermediate camogs are through to the All-Ireland final on Sunday 12th September after a hard-fought win over Meath in UPMC Nowlan Park last Saturday. John Scott’s team will now face the Saffrons of Antrim in their bid to be crowned champions.
Young Ireland’s Ciara O’Keeffe opened the black and ambers account in the first minute, slotting over a fine point from play. Not to be outdone, Jane Dolan equalised for the Royal County with a point from a 45m free.
The undoubted attacking star of the team’s championship run to date, Sophie O’Dwyer pointed a similar score for the cats in the 4th minute, before Ratoath’s Amy Gaffney and Jane Dolan raised the white flag for Meath to put them a point ahead by the 9th minute
Kilkenny arrived at the water break leading by 0-4 to 0-3 after the sides had been level three times. The Noresiders then showed their quality and intent with fine scores from James Stephens O’Dwyer and O’Loughlin Gaels Danielle Quigley. On the short whistle, the home side had built a 4-point lead, with the scoreboard reading 0-9 to 0-5 at the interval.
When proceedings resumed, the pattern followed a similar pattern to the first half, with both sides keeping the scoreboard ticking over via placed balls. O’Dwyer hit her seventh score of the day, while Dunboyne full-forward Sinead Hackett pointed to try and keep the Royal County in touch.
As the second half developed, Kilkenny appeared to be int total control, and never seemed in any real danger of relinquishing their lead. Thomastown forward, Eva Hynes then got in on the act, striking over a nice point, before yes, you guessed it – Sophie O’Dwyer took her personal tally to eight, with a 7th free of the day to extend the cat’s lead. When the second water break arrived, Meath knew that they would probably need to raise a green flag to get back into the game, however, some great defending ensure that Sinead Farrell’s net wasn’t troubled.
Naturally, Sophie O’Dwyer hit another fine score, to finish the day with nine points, and despite the best efforts of Jane Dolan from placed balls, her side never really rattled Kilkenny during the semi-final clash.
Limerick referee Kevin O’Brien then blew the full-time whistle and the Kilkenny players celebrated – John Scott had steered his side into the All-Ireland Final for the first time in six years on a score line of 0-13 to 0-9.
Kilkenny Scorers – Sophie O’Dwyer (0-9, 8f), Ciara O’Keeffe (0-2), Danielle Quigley, Sarah Walsh (0-1 each)
Kilkenny – Sinead Farrell, Niamh Leahy, Roisin Phelan (Capt), Ciara Murphy, Sarah Crowley, Leann Fennelly, Tiffany Fitzgerald, Laura Hegarty, Ciara Phelan, Eva Hynes, Sarah Walsh, Ciara O’Keeffe, Sophie O’Dwyer, Hannah Scott, Danielle Quigley
Subs – Maria Doheny for Eva Hynes, Jennifer Leahy for Laura Hegarty, Caoimhe Dowling for Hannah Scott.
>> SHERRY SAYS………..
Thank God! the semi-final heartbreak of 2021 broken!
Firstly – A big shout out to our minor camogs, who came through a gruelling battle with Galway in Abbotstown on Saturday to claim a place in this weekend’s final with those darn rebels in Limerick.
Following on from this wonderful victory, John Scott’s team managed their semi-final clash with Meath with sublime control. Yet again James Stephens shooter, Sophie O’Dwyer hit another 9 points, to go along with the other 19 already in her pocket from this year’s championship.
The defence stood firm, and negated the Royal County goal threat, Mullinavat’s Leann Fennelly and Tullaroan’s Ciara Murphy rock solid.
The challenge facing our intermediate camog’s in Croker for the title, will be the Ladies of Antrim. In a clinker at Clones, the Saffrons got the better of Galway to secure their final berth.
Our ladies will need to fire on all cylinders to secure title against their opponents, but with the talent in both panels, glory will hopefully be gained.