Pain for Pres. as Dubs best
Valiant effort ends in defeat
Presentation (Wexford) were in bonus territory on Saturday as they travelled to Gorey to play Castleknock Community College in the All-Ireland Senior 'C' camogie championship semi-final, having won the Leinster title three weeks ago.
Castleknock C.S. 2-8 Presentation 1-8
In a very close contest, where the sides were level numerous times, the Dubliners eventually edged the entertaining tie.
On a bitterly cold and windy afternoon, the Pres went into this game without star forward Emma Dempsey but were buoyed by the return of experienced players Dúirí McDonald and Kaitlyn Whelan-Kinsella after long-term injuries.
The Leinster champions played the first-half with a strong wind behind them and got off to a good start with a Cora Doyle free after Lauren Murphy was fouled. Castleknock responded in kind, and in the eighth minute went ahead with a fortuitous goal.
Presentation re-grouped and rattled off the next three scores to tie the game, two Doyle frees, after fouls on Murphy and Bridges, and a Murphy point from play.
A Castleknock minor from play again led to a strong Pres response with another two Doyle frees and a great snapshot from Emma Sinnott after a long delivery from Aine Ennis.
At half-time the Presentation led by 0-7 to 1-2. They had dominated the middle third of the field and Trojan work from Ciara Bridges, Sinéad Furlong and Sarah Harding-Kenny in particular meant the play rarely made it past halfway.
The second-half started similar to the first with a well-worked Pres score, Aisling Byrne the benefactor after a powerful run from Sarah Harding-Kenny.
Castleknock were not going to lie down though. They responded with a free and as the wind and rain picked up the Presentation goal was being put under serious pressure, but a good stop from Ailis Neville in goal and last-gasp interceptions from Alannah Davis and Fiona Kinsella kept them out.
The Castleknock pressure was relentless and a point from play was followed up with a low strike from 20 yards that deceived the Pres defence and ended up in the net. They followed with a point and led by 2-5 to 0-8.
Aisling Byrne replied for the Pres in spectacular fashion. After a long solo run in which she jinked past numerous players, she rifled the ball into the top corner to draw the game with under seven minutes to go.
The next score would be a vital one and unfortunately for the Wexford side it went to the Dublin girls.
They scored two good points from play and tagged on a '45 in the last minute to qualify for the final on a scoreline of 2-8 to 1-8.
The Presentation girls can be extremely proud of their excellent year under the management of Mr. Walsh, Ms. Murphy and Mr. Stafford, and can look forward optimistically to next year in the 'B' grade in which they will only lose three of this year's panel.
They will, however, feel they left this one behind them.
They will rue the missed opportunities in the first-half when, playing with the strong wind, they were dominant throughout the field, only to go in with a two-point advantage having struck as many wides as scores.
Presentation: Ailis Neville; Aoife Whelan, Alannah Davis, Dúirí McDonald; Fiona Kinsella, Aine Ennis, Ciara Bridges; Sinéad Furlong, Sarah Harding-Kenny; Aisling Byrne (1-1), Kaitlyn Whelan-Kinsella, Emma Sweeney; Emma Sinnott (0-1), Lauren Murphy (0-1), Cora Doyle (0-5 frees). Subs. - Holly Hynes for Doyle, also Aine Fitzgerald, Orlaith Barrett, Catríona Kinsella, Eleanor Hammel, Saoirse O'Connor, Jess Howlin, Aoife Fielding, Andrea Fielding, Hannah Hearne, Nicole Byrne.