Martin's extra-time agony as Rathnure edge through
Extra time was needed on Saturday to decide the Senior camogie championship semi-final encounter between Rathnure and St. Martin's in Bellefield.
Rathnure 1-9 St Martin's 0-11 AET
It proved a close battle but a three-point extra-time lead for the maroon women was slowly broken down by Rathnure's O'Connor sisters, Ciara, Eimear and Aoife.
There was nothing to separate the rivals, with exceptional performances from the determined twin sisters, Lisa and Linda Bolger. They got St. Martin's off to a fantastic start and from the opening two minutes to the dying two, they ran the show with Linda claiming ten of the eleven points for her team.
One of their team-mates on the county Senior side also did her parish proud on the opposing side. Eimear O'Connor didn't take long to find the back of the Martin's net as a rambling ball found her palm and she quickly rattled it home with a shot to the top right-hand corner.
This slight lead was maintained throughout the rest of the half with consistent battling from Marie Morrissey, Olivia Hearn and Ciara O'Connor in the Rathnure forward line.
The clash of the O'Connors was fierce among both squads. First cousins, Sarah and Katie, excelled in the Martin's half-back line while each sister of the same surname in black and amber shirts threatened throughout.
Numerous goal opportunities were created by the Martin's but county Senior netminder, Laura Brennan, proved to have a reliable hand each time.
Wonderful corner-forward Linda Bolger was mesmerising for St. Martin's. Whether she stood over dead balls or took her shots from play, her scores meant that Rathnure were only ahead by the minimum at the break (1-2 to 0-4).
Marie Morrissey was sharp off the second-half throw-in when she claimed a sweet point before Linda Bolger followed suit. A plethora of scores from Bolger and Ciara O'Connor left matters level at full-time.
St. Martin's were motivated to grasp a quick lead in the opening period of extra-time. A still lively Linda Bolger claimed two beauties from play and Marie Claire Morrissey added another before the break.
Alas for the Martin's, the Rathnure O'Connor sisters had saved some fuel for the dying few minutes. Ciara neatly made the most of three dead balls and sister Aoife capitalised on a perfect pass from sibling Eimear as Rathnure advanced to a second successive final.
Rathnure: Laura Brennan; Bernie Holohan, Louise O'Leary, Farren Byrne; Laura Redmond, Jackie Quigley, Leanne Foley; Evelyn Quigley, Aoife O'Connor (0-1); Oonagh Doyle, Michelle Martin, Ciara O'Connor (0-5 frees); Olivia Hearn (0-1), Eimear O'Connor (1-0), Marie Morrissey (0-2). Subs. - Elizabeth Whiteley for Byrne, Jean Hayden for Redmond, Fiona Donnellan for A. O'Connor.
St. Martin's: Deidre Colfer; Lauren Kavanagh, Máire O'Connor, Lauren Carty; Katie O'Connor, Sarah O'Connor, Aine Ennis; Lisa Bolger, Becky Hamilton; Chloe Foxe, Marie Claire Morrissey (0-1), Mary Barrett; Amy Ryan, Amy Cardiff, Linda Bolger (0-10, 3 frees, 2 '45s.) Subs. - Lisa Firman for Hamilton, Aisling Cronin for Cardiff, Emma Codd for Barrett, Noeleen Lambert for Kavanagh.
Referee: Francis Neville (St. Ibar's/Shelmalier).