Cushinstown girls so close
Brideoga (Mayo)1-4 Rathgarogue-Cushinstown 1-3 (AET)
One had to hail the efforts of the Rathgarogue-Cushinstown girls who came up just short after a brave effort when it took a point in extra-time to separate them from a fine Brideoga (Mayo) side in this excellent John West Féile na nGael Divison 5 camogie Cup final at Fenagh on Sunday.
From the start little separated two evenly-matched sides in a game which threw up several top-class individual displays, but it was the overall team efforts that really caught the eye.
The Wexford girls put in a storming seven minutes once the second-half got under way which helped them into a four-point lead.
This looked sufficient to guide them to victory, but the Mayo side battled back to force extra-time when just one point during those two five-minute spells proved sufficient to separate them in the end, and unfortunately it went the way of the Connacht crew.
At the start of the game both sides went in search of scores, with the respective goals living a charmed existence as the defences came under pressure.
During this opening spell Erin Murphy and Cathy Murphy exchanged points, but an Aoife Doherty pointed free in first-half additional time left the Mayo side with a 0-2 to 0-1 interval lead.
Ultimately it was Cathy Murphy who proved the difference during that opening seven-minute spell on the resumption. Within two minutes of the re-start she worked her way through the defence for an excellent levelling point, while three minutes later a brilliant solo run led to an unstoppable shot to the net.
When Cora McGrath added a further point on seven minutes they led by 1-3 to 0-2 with eight minutes remaining.
Brideoga hauled themselves back into the game when Aoife Doherty fired a 21-metre free to the roof of the net with just three minutes remaining, while a Lilian Keane point on full-time brought the sides level (1-3 each), leading to extra-time.
The opening five-minute spell failed to produce a score, but just two minutes into the second period an Aoife Doherty pointed free put the eventual winners in front.
The Rathgarogue-Cushinstown girls stormed all over their opponents in the closing minutes but a couple of point attempts in search of the equalising score tailed just wide.
They may have failed to secure a levelling score, but they can feel proud of a fine display overall.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Abbey Delaney; Ciara Kirwan, Katelyn Carty, Aimee Stafford; Elaine Aspel, Claire McCarthy, Jessica Sutton; Grace Donovan, Cora McGrath (0-1); Caoimhe Cowman, Katie Murphy (1-2), Ellie Nugent; Gráinne O'Neill, Fiona Lyng, Amy Martin. Subs. - Anna O'Brien for Stafford, Kate Mythen for Kirwan, Lily Somers for O'Neill, also Tara Nolan, Nicole Whitty, Orlaith Butler, Tara Bookle, Aoibheann Doran, Jemma Martin, Catherine Hayes, Chloe Monaghan, Laura Banville.
Brideoga: Róisín Lynskey; Caragh Burke, Aoibheann Crowley, Saoirse Delaney; Caoimhe Delaney, Niamh Greally, Laura Madden; Aoife Doherty (1-2 frees), Geri-Maye Henry; Erin Murphy (0-1), Lilian Keane (0-1), Rebecca Klein; Aoibhin Lynskey, Ellen Tener, Emer Delaney. Subs. - Claire Flanagan for E. Delaney, Emily Coffey for Klein.
Referee: Kieran Kelly (Carlow).