Ferns find the scoring range
Ferns St. Aidan's 7-3 Rathgarogue-Cushinstown 5-4
Ferns St. Aidan's won what is surely the last remaining final of the local 2017 season, beating hosts Rathgarogue-Cushinstown in a goal-fest to claim the Minor camogie Roinn 2B championship title on Sunday.
This was a real winter encounter. After the recent poor weather, the usually immaculate pitch in Cushinstown was a little threadbare. It meant that this contest turned into a real scrap and that suited the victors just fine.
Not so much a secret to success, Ferns St. Aidan's did one thing so impressively well that they must have been working hard on it in training. Whenever the ball dropped into the Rathgarogue-Cushinstown goalmouth they swarmed, somehow managing to overload a shaken defence.
It was like one of those David Attenborough documentaries, where they zoom the camera in on the ant colony and they are all tearing around the place, looking for any scrap to feed off. Here the scraps invariably turned to Ferns St. Aidan's goals.
Becca Foley got Rathgarogue-Cushinstown off to a positive early start with the opening point but, after the superb Orla Sinnott levelled, Aoife Millen appeared to get the last touch on the first Ferns goal, with Nicola Ryan and Ciara O'Sullivan competing in the scramble too.
Ryan swiped home the second goal from close range after great work by Chelsea O'Leary. Kate Devereux and Chloe Byrne responded with points for Rathgarogue-Cushinstown, but Ferns St. Aidan's went 3-1 to 0-3 ahead when Ciara O'Sullivan made the most of excellent build-up play by Laura O'Sullivan.
The hosts responded to the nightmare first quarter by grabbing a goal when Ella Foley flicked home Devereux's long free. However, Sinnott replied at the other end, sailing a long dead-ball to the net.
Still, Becca Foley smashed home a free past a crowded goal-line and Devereux registered her second point as Rathgarogue-Cushinstown closed to within three points at the interval (4-1 to 2-4). Hoping to consolidate early in the second-half, Sinnott scored a fine point for Ferns.
The pattern was clear in the second period, as every time Rathgarogue-Cushinstown responded to get themselves within a score, Ferns hit right back. Niamh O'Shea pulled home to get her side back to one point down but Aoife Millen countered with a goal from close range.
Becca Foley got her second major but Sinnott followed it with a quick 1-1 as Ferns held a 6-3 to 4-4 lead with nine minutes left. A grandstand finish was in the offing when Ella Foley hared down the right wing and drilled a stunning shot past Emma Warren in the 60th minute.
But true to form, the insatiable hunger of the Ferns girls won out. They moved the ball down the field through Sinnott, and she clattered the metalwork but Aoife Millen followed it in to complete a memorable victory for her side.
Ferns St. Aidan's: Emma Warren; Aoife Bowe, Casey Doyle (joint capt.); Charlotte Stammers, Catríona O'Neill; Katie O'Toole, Laura O'Sullivan, Orla Sinnott (joint capt., 2-3, 2-2 frees); Nicola Ryan (1-0), Ciara O'Sullivan (1-0); Chelsea O'Leary, Aoife Millen (3-0). Subs. - Laura Bailey for O'Leary (45), also Róisín Scallan, Aideen Fortune.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Eadaoin Murphy; Kate O'Keeffe, Jane Doyle; Róisín Dillon, Ciara Gaffney; Oonagh Murphy (capt.), Kate Devereux (0-2, 1 free), Orlaith Gaffney; Ella Foley (2-0), Chloe Byrne (0-1); Becca Foley (2-1, 1-0 frees), Niamh O'Shea (1-0). Subs. - Caoimhe Lyng for Gaffney (35), also Kate Hendrick, Sinéad O'Brien.
Referee: Philip Murphy (Faythe Harriers).