O’Shea shines as Inch retain Munster crown

Inch Rovers (Cork) 2-14 Ballymacarbery (Waterford) 0-8

O’Shea hit 1-5 and was one of six members of the Cork team which won the All-Ireland title last month leading the Inch Rovers charge.

The champions held all the aces. They were superb throughout the field with the Walsh sisters Angela and Ciara unbeatable in defence; Mary O’Connor majestic at centre forward along with Ann Marie Walsh and O’Shea.

Ballymacarbery couldn’t be faulted for effort. Once the dominant club in Munster at this level, they have fallen on lean times and haven’t won the title since 2000. They played second fiddle in most areas but it was no fault of Eibhlís Cooney, Treasa McGrath, Linda Wall and Sinead Ryan that they failed to bridge that eight year gap.

Rovers laid the foundations for victory in the first half when playing into the strong wind. Mary O’Connor opened their tally with a point after a minute and they were three to the good before Ballymac had their first score from Linda Wall in the 10th minute.

Time and again the Waterford attack were denied by the brilliance of the Walsh sisters Angela and Ciara and on the one occasion a goal looked on, corner back Mairead Kennedy deflected Michelle Ryan’s shot over the bar.

At the other end Amy O’Shea was a handful for the overworked Ballymac defence and when raced through for a goal in the 12th minute, Rovers never looked back.

Mary O’Connor led the Inch attack in style and another goal from Jessica O’Shea helped her side to an interval lead of 2-6 to 0-4 and the result was never in doubt thereafter.

A rock solid Inch defence threw a ring of steel around their goalkeeper and Ballymac never got through for a goal which might have made a match of it.

It was left to Ryan to do the scoring for the Waterford side and she pointed four frees to keep Ballymac in touch but the Mary O’Connor and Amy O’Shea soon showed their class with a couple of points to leave nine points between the sides at the three quarter stage.

It might have been a goal more but Amy O’Shea’s poorly-struck penalty posed no trouble to Ballymac ‘keeper Aine Ryan who also denied Jessica O’Shea with a marvellous save late in the game.

In the end Inch Rovers finished easy winners to retain their Munster crown, and have a home tie against the Leinster champions in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Scorers for Inch Rovers: A. O’Shea 1-5 (0-3 frees); M. O’Connor 0-4 (0-1 free); J. O’Shea 1-0; A. M. Walsh 0-2; C. Keohane, O. Cotter, L. Williams 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ballymacarbery: M. Ryan 0-7 (0-5 frees); M. Wall 0-1.

INCH ROVERS: M. Hayes; M. Kennedy, A. Walsh, S. Smiddy; J. Duffy, C. Walsh, E. Ryan; O. Cotter, A. Walsh; J. O’Shea, M. O’Connor, AM Walsh; J. Horan, A. O’Shea, C. Keohane.

Subs: K. Harrington for E. Ryan (50); L. Williams for Smiddy (54); E. Ryan for Keohane (57).

BALLYMACARBERY: A. Ryan; B. Cooney, R. Hallahan-Doocey, L. Hogan; L. Ryan, E. Cooney, T. McGrath; M. McGrath, L. Wall; M. Wall, M. Ryan, B. Grogan; A. Wall, S. Ryan, L. Gleeson.

Referee: R. O’Connor (Tipperary).

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