Courcey Rovers made history today in Castle Road clinching the SE Systems Cork senior camogie championship title. On a perfect day for camogie, the club from Ballinadee and Ballinspittle saw captain Karyn Keohane lift the Punch Shoe Care Cup for the first time ever. It was the perfect performance too.
The standard produced was worthy of the day. They needed inspirational displays from big players and they got just that.
Two years ago, when they contested their first final, they fell to Inniscarra. The Mid Cork side were appearing in their fifth decider in a row and have made a major contribution to Cork camogie but, apart from a nervous start, Courcey Rovers were immense. Their teamwork was a joy to watch.
Mike Boland and his backroom team have worked wonders with this squad since suffering disappointment two years ago.
From brave goalkeeper Sinead O’Reilly – one of four sisters on the panel – they delivered.
There were contributions all over the field especially Player-of-the-Match Fiona Keating (3-2), Saoirse McCarthy (1-1) and Linda Collins (1-5). Keating created history of her own by adding a camogie title to the football medal she secured with West Cork earlier this month.
“I can’t even put it into words,” she said. “We were there two years ago, and last year things didn’t go our way with injuries. The first 10 minutes today were tough, going five points down. The ball wasn’t coming up too much. Once we found our feet, we drove on.
“The win over Mourneabbey in football set off the year for me. I know what it is like to lose county finals, I have lost three or four. When I won the football it gave me that extra bit of bite to go on and win the camogie.” Inniscarra were quicker out of the starting blocks and had five points on the board without reply. Once the Courcey machine got going, they would not be stopped.
Keating nailed goal number one in the 24th minute. A second goal, and a timely boost, came just before half-time when McCarthy’s shot went all the way to the net.
Courcey Rovers transformed the scoreboard, 2-8 to 0-6 at the break.
Their huge work-rate around the middle third enabled them to run at the Inniscarra backs. Jacinta Crowley too reliable from placed balls.
Inniscarra came at them hard after the change of ends. Joanne Casey driving forward, a couple of points reduced the deficit.
Keating’s second goal was a killer blow on 38 minutes. Her third arrived three minutes later. Inniscarra pulled one back from sub Erin Looney but they still had a mountain to climb. Collins’ green flag eight minutes from time the final nail in the coffin.
Heroes everywhere. Ashling Moloney, Ciara Hayes, Edel Moloney mopping up every ball that came their way.
And for captain Keohane, the realisation of a dream “It was not until the final whistle I knew we had it won. I thought, is this really happening. We focused on this year, not the past, we wanted to keep it positive.
“We have some unbelievable forwards. Even when the pressure was put on them the others came into play.”
F Keating (3-2), L Collins (1-5), S McCarthy (1-1), J Crowley (0-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1 45).
J Casey (0-6, 0-1 45, 0-1 free), E Looney (1-0), N Dilworth (frees), R Buckley (frees) and A Sheehan (0-2 each).
S O’Reilly; O Twomey, K Keohane (Capt), G Hannon; C Hayes, A Moloney, E Moloney; J Crowley, Elaine O’Reilly; Eimear O’Reilly, F Keating, Lorraine Collins; Linda Collins, C O’Neill, S McCarthy.
E Maguire for C O’Neill (46), A M Collins for Lorraine Collins (60), E O’Regan for Eimear O’Reilly (63).
S Walsh; A O’Regan, R Quigley, A Kavanagh; R Keane, R Buckley, A Sheehan; R O’Mahony, K O’Mahony (Capt); T McCarthy, C Ring, C Keane; E Murphy, N Dilworth, J Casey.
E O’Reilly for N Dilworth, E Looney for T McCarthy (half-time), C Looney for A O’Regan (42), J Burke for C Ring (53), D O’Callaghan for R Keane (55).
Cathal McAllister (Aghada).
Courcey Rovers arrived in Castle Road in the correct frame of mind. They were ready to do battle. Two years ago, it was all so different for a young team. This time, their eye was firmly on the prize.
Fiona Keating’s marvellous achievement winning senior county titles in camogie and football, especially when playing both codes is so demanding.
Any day you celebrate a first county title has to be good.
Inniscarra and legend Rena Buckley are naturally down. They lost a Junior B final as well on Saturday.
Inniscarra started out attempting to negate the opposing big names but in the end there were just too many to curtail.
Fiona Keating got the official gong. And you couldn’t argue with that. The number 11 was a standout player among many candidates.
Superb job from Cathal McAllister and his team. The Aghada man is greatly respected within camogie and hurling circles.
Munster club championship for Courcey Rovers against Clare champions Inagh/Kilnamona next weekend.