Donoughmore cruise to a hat-trick of provincial titles

Donoughmore 3-13 Ballymacarbry 0-5

Opponents Ballymacarbry, whose name is etched on the cup a record 14 times since the mid-1980s, had no answer as the Cork side's explosive start saw them compile a comprehensive 3-9 to 0-2 interval lead.

Well-balanced and on top in most sectors, the Donoughmore ladies struck early when the unbeatable Mary O'Connor of county camogie fame slotted two points in as many minutes to set the pattern for the day's play. They had wind-assistance in this half.

And they used the wind to good effect as the back-line and midfielders delivered quick ball to a score-hungry attack, and the umpires were kept busy.

That whirlwind opening start saw them put together some telling moves, and as early as the fourth minute had the tonic of a goal from the penalty spot.

Hanora Kelleher, Rena Buckley, Juliet Murphy and Louise Murphy were all involved before Aisling O'Connor was grounded in the square.

Team captain Juliet Murphy expertly converted the penalty strike and from thereon, the Waterford ladies were fighting an uphill battle.

They raised their first flag in the 10th minute from an Áine Wall free but had to wait another 13 minutes for their second point when Rebecca Hallahan soloed all of 50 yards to outstrip the Donoughmore rearguard.

In between, the rampant Cork ladies were combining brilliantly and not surprisingly, Ballymacarbry came under severe pressure and two further goals were conceded prior to the interval.

The O'Connells, Aisling and Mary, Stephanie Dunlea (another Cork camogie star) Rosie Cogan and Ann Brennan made the opening for Louise Murphy in the 14th minute and shortly afterwards, it was Dunlea's turn to beat Sarah Hickey in the Ballymacarbry net following exciting approach play by Vera Sheehan and Aisling Barrett.

With the odds stacked against them, Ballymacarbry tried to stem the tide and players like Noirín Walsh, Annalisa Crotty, Martina O'Ryan, Linda Wall, Claire Ryan and Rebecca Hallahan strung some fine passes together but did not get any reward on the scoreboard.

The best attempt at goal came in the 22nd minute but Donoughmore keeper Tracey Rodgers was well-positioned to deny Linda Wall, who had been brilliantly set up by Marie Hannigan.

On the changeover, Ballymacarbry tried valiantly to reduce the arrears, but the Donoughmore defence, in which Eimear Walsh and Edel O'Sullivan were in brilliant form, yielded little, and all the Waterford representatives could achieve were three points from Clare Ryan, whose blistering shot grazed the crossbar, Áine Wall and hard-working substitute Orla Kearney.

They did have the satisfaction, however, of confining the Donoughmore attack to four points, but whether the Cork ladies took the foot off the pedal remains to be seen.

The Donoughmore win was the third by a Cork team over the weekend as Naomh Aban beat Cappawhite in the Munster Intermediate Championship while Gabriel Rangers from West Cork defeated Austin Stacks, Tralee in the junior decider.

Scorers: Donoughmore: L. Murphy 1-4; M. O'Connor 0-7; J. Murphy 1-0; S. Dunlea 1-0; R. Buckley 0-1; A. O'Connor 0-1.

Ballymacarbry: A. Wall 0-2; R. Hallahan 0-1; C. Ryan 0-1; O. Kearney 0-1.

DONOUGHMORE: T. Rodgers, E. Walsh, E. O'Sullivan, S. O'Connell; V. Sheehan, H. Kelleher, R. Cogan; R. Buckley, J. Murphy (Capt); A. Barrett, S. Dunlea, A. Brennan; M. O'Connor, L. Murphy, A. O'Connor.

BALLYMACARBRY: S. Hickey, A. Ryan, N. Walsh, E. Cooney; M. McGrath, A. Crotty, M. Ryan; M. O'Ryan, R. Hallahan; L. Wall, C. Casey, C. Ryan, M. Hannigan, G. O'Ryan, A. Wall. Subs: O. Kearney, L. Ryan, M. Ryan.

Referee: Mike Walsh (Limerick).

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