Ferns have one to spare
Ferns St. Aidan's winners by the smallest margin versus Kilmore in the Junior 'C' camogie league final in an action-packed encounter in Oylegate on Saturday.
Ferns St.Aidan's 2-7 Kilmore 2-6
The victors seized their opportunity when Kilmore star Aoife Cousins was carried off with cramp in the 50th minute. Prior to that, the southerners looked as if they might just hold on to the lead they had built in the first-half.
Three early points, all inside the opening five minutes, signified Ferns' only scores of the opening 30 minutes. A brace of Denise Bolger midfield minors followed by a Martina Murray effort shot Ferns into an early lead.
Kilmore and Cousins answered swiftly back, scoring the entirety of the half's remaining scores and opening up a three-point lead at the interval, initially with two points from dead balls before a third free fell short and into the back of the net.
A final point in injury time secured the double scores lead at the break (1-3 to 0-3).
An early Ellie O'Connor point for the team sporting bright orange apparel was answered by the first Ferns major, with Aoife Bowe pulling across the goal and into the bottom left corner after Denise Bolger's shot was blocked.
Cousins and Murray exchanged scores before the former was carried off with cramp - unsurprising given the monumental area of ground covered by the midfield maestro thus far.
Cousins' temporary departure proved detrimental as the Kilmore side struggled to clear their lines without the pacey midfielder.
Ceri McNichol and Bowe added minors before a damning blow, instigated by the couple just mentioned, left the seasiders with a mountain to climb. McNichol's shot was saved by goalkeeper Johanna Cousins into the path of Bowe who pulled Ferns into a three-point lead (2-6 to 1-6).
Seven minutes into injury time Bolger added another, her fourth point of the game, and little did anyone know how important that score would be.
Moments earlier, Cousins had recovered enough to resume play in a last-ditch attempt to salvage a result. Unsurprisingly, she found herself on the ball and running at the Ferns defence before checking and firing a ferocious, almost too fast for the naked eye to comprehend, shot into the top right corner past goalkeeper Emma Warren.
Kilmore did not get the opportunity to level though, with referee Francis Neville blowing the full-time whistle on the puck-out to ensure a one-point victory for Ferns.
Ferns St. Aidan's: Emma Warren; Margaret O'Leary-Doyle, Orla Murphy; Carlie Holly, Marie Allen; Casey Doyle, Charlotte Stammers, Denise Bolger (0-4); Martina Murray (capt., 1-1), Aoife Bowe (1-1); Aoife McClean, Katie O'Toole. Subs. (rolling) - Ceri McNichol (0-1), Ciara O'Sullivan.
Kilmore: Johanna Cousins; Marion Cousins, Nicole Kelly; Leanne White, Shannon Moran; Ellie O'Connor (0-2), Aoife Cousins (2-4, 1-2 frees), Mary Ann Sheehan; Niamh Berry, Eimear Crosbie; Sophie Tierney, Rachel Brady. Subs. (rolling) - Orla Fortune, Sarah Brennan, Mag Owens.
Referee: Francis Neville (Shelmaliers).