independent

Monday 23 July 2018

Pres girls reeled in by Comer

Presentation 3-7 Castlecomer C.C. 2-10

Ailis Neville makes a piercing run through the Castlecomer defence as Caoimhe Hennessy looks on
Ailis Neville makes a piercing run through the Castlecomer defence as Caoimhe Hennessy looks on

Brian Carty

For so long, history appeared to be beckoning for Presentation (Wexford) as they sat pretty at half-time with a ten-point cushion, having blown away Castlecomer Community College in the previous half-hour.

But ultimately, these two skilful and determined sides must lock horns again as the Kilkenny outfit heroically fought back in the fourth quarter to force a replay in Saturday's thrilling All-Ireland Schools Junior 'B' camogie final played at a mucky Tinryland, Co. Carlow.

The scoring exploits of Emma Dempsey and Ailis Neville had propelled the Wexford town school into a 3-5 to 0-4 interval ascendancy, with the panache and ruthlessness they had displayed by that juncture ironically similar to peak-Kilkenny in its execution.

But they coughed up more presentable chances after the break, which was understandable given the dire straits Castlecomer had found themselves in.

Three frees from the dangerous Grace Mulhall helped whittle the deficit down to 3-6 to 0-7 after 41 minutes, only for Presentation's top scorer, Neville, to peg a point back from a 45th-minute free.

However, Castlecomer cranked up the pressure considerably in the final 14-plus minutes, and accounted for 2-3 before the end to come mightily close to completing a scarcely believable comeback.

Shannon Feehan caught the puck-out from that Neville free to split the posts, but there was some confusion surrounding Mulhall's point two minutes later as both umpires were at a loss to determine whether it was on target or not, with below-par referee John McDonagh eventually awarding the point.

Castlecomer really threw the cat among the pigeons nine minutes from time when Mulhall gathered, turned and powered to the net as the gap shrunk to 3-7 to 1-9.

The officials didn't cover themselves in glory either when McDonagh spotted a phantom foul on Mulhall in front of the posts, with even some of the Castlecomer supporters surprised when a penalty was awarded.

However, justice prevailed for Presentation as Alibeth Moran-Curran bravely thwarted Mulhall's subsequent low drive.

Still, the ball hardly left the Presentation half, and when Sarah Brennan unleashed a bullet to the top corner of the net a minute into injury-time the tension was palpable, with Mulhall eliciting a huge cheer that drowned out the din of the adjacent motorway to force parity for the only time.

As far as bright starts go, Presentation couldn't have asked for better as Dempsey swiped to the net after only 40 seconds when Andrea Fielding had initially been hooked.

Neville was a calming presence on any placed-ball within scoring range, and she landed three such efforts inside the first quarter, including a difficult chance from the sideline that squeaked just over.

And the long-time leaders really found their groove in a devastating five-minute period that put them firmly in the driving seat.

Dempsey had the foresight to step out of traffic before slamming home following a goalmouth scrum on 19 minutes, while Neville absorbed a heavy shoulder on the way to flighting to the top corner after being teed up by Fielding.

Alas, Castlecomer would roar back into life, although Presentation will relish the opportunity of completing the job the next day.

There was a rather lengthy wait post-game as the referee had signalled for extra-time before the mentors from both sides eventually agreed to a replay instead. And on the evidence of this game, the renewal should be worth attending.

Presentation (Wexford): Fiona Cousins (Buffers Alley); Catríona Kinsella (St. Ibar's/Shelmalier), Alibeth Moran-Curran (Glynn-Barntown), Nicole Harding-Kenny (St. Ibar's/Shelmalier); Niamh Cogley (Glynn-Barntown), Aoife Whelan (Buffers Alley), Cora Rowe (Glynn-Barntown); Eleanor Hammel (Buffers Alley), Sinéad Furlong (Buffers Alley, capt.); Ailis Neville (St. Ibar's/Shelmalier, 1-5, 0-5 frees), Emma Dempsey (Glynn-Barntown, 2-1), Niamh Rowe (Glynn-Barntown); Aoibheann Mernagh (St. Martin's, 0-1), Tara Murphy (Glynn-Barntown), Andrea Fielding (St. Ibar's/Shelmalier). Subs. - Lilly Stout, Grace Harding-Kenny, Hannah Hearne (all St. Ibar's/Shelmalier), Rachel Murphy, Rebecca Fanning (both Glynn-Barntown), Orna Corrigan (Buffers Alley), Clodagh Whelan (Blackwater), Kennedy Cullen (Kilmore), Sarah O'Donoghue (St. Mary's, Rosslare).

Castlecomer C.C.: Therese Kelly (capt.); Sofia Kerr, Shannon Conroy, Megan Brennan; Amanda Molloy, Carlise Comerford, Caoimhe Hennessy; Ava O'Shea, Ellen Gunner (0-1); Shannon Feehan (0-1), Sarah Smyth (0-1), Laura McDowell; Colleen Booth, Grace Mulhall (1-7, 0-3 frees), Sarah Brennan (1-0). Sub. - Chloe Ryan for Booth (43).

Referee: John McDonagh (Galway).

Wexford People

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