Cork complete the worst kind of three-peat

All-Ireland camogie final talking points: Dervla Cosgrave's four goal haul, big moment decision making, and how for women's sport it's now can see can be
Cork complete the worst kind of three-peat

CHAMPIONS: Miriam Bambrick of Kilkenny celebrates after her side's victory in the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final match between Cork and Kilkenny at Croke Park in Dublin. Pic: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The worst kind of three-peat

Cork didn’t just lose this final by a point in gut-wrenching circumstances, it was also their third big final loss in-a-row.

Last year’s All-Ireland final was lost to Galway by two points, prompting Paudie Murray to step down and be replaced by his regular lieutenant Matthew Twomey.

Getting to this year’s Littlewoods Division One final was a big boost to their new-look management but they lost the league decider when Galway made a six-point comeback and beat them by four.

Cork had to make a similar comeback themselves yesterday after a surprisingly poor start.

There was an element of terrible luck in the goal they conceded but losing three finals in-a-row is tough mentally for any team and, to add further to their woes, their Intermediates also lost yesterday.

Recovering mentally will be a considerable challenge now for Cork camogie.

History in a hat-trick 

Move over Shane O’Donnell, your fastest All-Ireland hat-trick crown has been taken by Antrim’s Dervla Cosgrove who left the Armagh defence seeing treble with her sensational first-half flurry.

It wasn’t just that the Cushendall star scored three goals - she rattled the net thrice in one 84-second flash in surely the fastest hat-trick ever in an All-Ireland final.

Even allowing for the fact that it was a junior final with lower quality defending she struck each of the trio beautifully, especially the first through a thicket of Orchard defenders.

Armagh reacted by whipping off two of their full-back line in the 26th minute but still she wasn’t finished.

She got a fourth goal in the third quarter and only a great save stopped her bagging a fifth. She finished with 4-2 of Antrim’s 5-5 total, an astonishing personal haul.

On any other day the heroics of their brilliant goalkeeper Aine Graham would have sealed the Player of the Match gong but even she couldn’t overshadow her even though Cosgrove subsequently insisted her scores were all a “team effort.” 

Big games turn on miniscule margins 

With two minutes left in the intermediate final Cork’s Joanne Casey stood up to take a 20m free. They trailed by two, Galway had already been reduced to 14 and while the subsequent four minutes of injury time hadn’t yet been announced, there was bound to be some time added on.

Instead of taking the point to reduce the deficit to a point she went for a goal.

Galway got the luckiest of stops - Katie Ann Porter kept it out with her foot - but it did the trick. Next play, they got only their third score of the half to extend their lead to three and Cork needed a goal to win it.

They still had subsequent chances, including one shot off the upright so the decision didn’t lose them the match.

But who knows what might have happened if they’d opted for a point and trusted themselves to win the puckout and level it.

On such tiny decisions do such tightly-balanced games swing.

Can see, can be!

Every All-Ireland camogie programme contains short Q&As with all of the participating captains. Yesterday’s was no different and there was an encouraging trend to the replies to one particular question.

For many years the answer to ‘Who’s the sportsperson you’d most like to meet’ has been littered with Rafa Nadal, Ronaldo, Messi, Usain Bolt and lots of male superstars.

This year’s choices?

Antrim captain Maria McLarnon went for Katie Taylor, as did Kilkenny’s Aoife Prendergast and Cork’s Laura Treacy (though Laura had Jurgen Klopp as her back-up).

Cork intermediate captain Finola Neville went for Rachael Blackmore and Galway’s Lisa Casserly, a talented soccer player herself, went for USA’s Alex Morgan.

The Armagh captain Gemma McCann actually plumped for a superstar from her own game in Ashling Thompson.

The fact that all named women, and that none of those women need any further introduction indicates how the visibility of successful female athletes has radically increased in the past 10 years.

‘If you can’t see it you can’t be it’ is a famous feminist adage which has particularly applied to sport but things, clearly, have improved for the better and television coverage plays a huge part.

Where’s their jumpers?

Not for the first time we were left wondering why camogie goalkeepers don’t wear a different colour jersey from their teammates?

It's common practice in every team sport in the world yet somehow camogie persists with this strange anomaly.

It does goalkeepers’ a disservice as it makes it very difficult, in crowded goalmouths, to identify some of their heroic deeds.

That’s not such a problem in the final stages of the inter-county championship but during the league, and in club games, there’s rarely any ‘action replays’ for media and fans to double-check goalmouth scrambles.

And while we’re at it please, for the love of God and all neutral camogie fans, could Kilkenny put a number block on their stripey jerseys to help everyone else identify their players.

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