Clonee turn tables at last
First big title for seven years
If the tide is truly beginning to turn in Wexford ladies' club football, then Clonee proved once again that they are the team best placed to take advantage with a superb performance to claim the Division 1 league title in St. Patrick's Park on Friday.
Clonee 1-9 Shelmalier 0-10
Sometimes these games, when they come about at the end of a long season, can be a bit of a damp squib. Players are used that aren't necessarily first choice, and effort levels don't match those of championship games a few months earlier. This was nothing of the sort.
Both sides were able to field 14 of their county final starters, two months to the day after the Shels won their seventh consecutive title. However, unlike that afternoon in Farmleigh, the Hollymount girls weren't gifted a start and weren't able to kick away from a determined Clonee.
It was 2009 since Clonee's first string had tasted any real success but they set about putting that right with nice early scores from Caroline Murphy and Liz Evered.
Shelmalier were the more clinical team as the opening half wore on and three Leona Tector points left them 0-3 to 0-2 ahead after eleven minutes.
Katie Kehoe kicked a fine score and Evered also added another pair, but it wasn't enough for an interval lead.
At the other end Sarah Harding-Kenny added her name to the scoresheet and two late points, from Tector and Deirdre Fox, left Shelmalier 0-8 to 0-5 ahead at the break.
Rachel Collier, who came on to add life to the Clonee attack towards the end of the opening half, smacked a shot into the side-netting shortly after the change-around. While it obviously didn't count like a score would, it just served notice that the Gorey District side were intent of winning this crown.
Fox put Shelmalier 0-9 to 0-5 ahead before Anna Doyle made a fine save from Tector in the 33rd minute. The county champions rarely threatened thereafter as Clonee completely took control.
Marguerite Doyle burst through but fired narrowly over the crossbar, and then Sharon Sunderland saw her half-volley saved by Siobhán Cloake. The pressure was mounting as Clonee kicked consecutive wides but continued to press.
Then they got the breakthrough. Moments after Collier pointed, veteran Caroline Murphy took possession on the right and tried her luck. Her shot dipped and crashed off the crossbar, into the path of Collier who fisted to the net.
Clonee had ample chances to put the game to bed in the last ten minutes but looked like they might regret those misses when a Fox free tied the game in added-time (0-10 to 1-7). However, Clonee weren't to be denied.
Murphy picked off the lead score after Sunderland made the most of Anne Byrne's hopeful ball forward, and then the former All-Ireland winning camogie star clinched the cup with another point in the 63rd minute to end seven years of hurt for the Clonee crew.
Clonee: Anna Doyle; Danielle Hayden, Mary O'Neill, Marguerite Doyle (capt., 0-1); Teghan Furlong, Claire O'Rourke, Marie McDonald; Cathy Kavanagh, Sharon Sunderland; Anne Byrne, Brídín Doyle, Liz Evered (0-3, 1 free); Katie Kehoe (0-1), Caroline Murphy (0-3), Charlene Hayden. Subs. - Rachel Collier (1-1) for C. Hayden (24).
Shelmalier: Siobhán Cloake; Sadbh McCarthy, Róisín Murphy, Maeve Quill (capt.); Michelle Harding, Ceara O'Brien, Ciara Corrigan; Lisa Quill, Eleanor Neville; Clara Donnelly, Deirdre McMahon, Kellie Kearney; Deirdre Fox (0-4 frees), Leona Tector (0-5, 2 frees), Sarah Harding-Kenny (0-1). Subs. - Fiona Kinsella for Neville (37), Kate Stafford for L. Quill (49), Michelle Murphy for McMahon (60).
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).