Dour struggle but heroic Milford keep their crown

Milford 0-6 Ardrahan 0-5
It was far from pretty but that won’t bother Milford as they retained the AIB All-Ireland Club senior camogie title after a titanic struggle at Croke Park.

Conditions were difficult owing to the heavy rain that fell earlier and, as the scoreline suggests, defences were on top throughout.

Not one forward won her individual battle as evidenced not just by the paucity of scores, but the fact only two of them came from play. Ardrahan played with a sweeper in the first-half and might well wonder, given how they managed to continue to nullify the Milford attacking threat after returning to conventional positioning, if it was a worthwhile tactic.

Aisling Thompson was a deserving player-of-the-match with another stellar midfield performance but, ultimately, it was the five-point contribution from Emer Watson that proved the match-winning contribution.

Amazingly, Watson had her first run-out earlier in the morning since suffering medial ligament damage in a challenge match 10 days previously but she wasn’t found wanting when the occasion demanded.

“I can’t believe we actually did two-in-a-row” said Watson afterwards. “We knew how hard it was going to be, we knew the battle Ardrahan were going to give us. It’s just brilliant. The commitment and dedication every single one of these girls have put in over the last two years. Look, we’ve put our lives on hold. It means so, so much to us and we’re delighted.”

Milford are now the third team to get their hands on the Bill Carroll Cup for a second consecutive campaign since the turn of the century and it is interesting to note both Pearses and St Lachtain’s went on to complete the three-in-a-row.

The North Cork girls took the lead in the seventh minute from a Watson free and held it until the final whistle. She knocked over the first four scores and it took the Galwegians until the 21st minute to score, via Rebecca Hennelly. Ardrahan finished the half strongly and another Hennelly free left it 0-4 to 0-2 at the break.

The margin was the same entering injury time but a Hennelly fre e in the second of the three scheduled minutes set it up for a dramatic conclusion. Hennelly was presented with the chance to make it a second draw of the day at Headquarters as Milford captain, Elaine O’Riordan conceded a 45. It would be the game’s last act but Hennelly’s shot drifted just wide and the Milford celebrations could begin.

Scorers for Milford: E Watson 0-5(4fs, 1 45), M O’Neill 0-1.

Scorers for Ardrahan: R Hennelly 0-4(fs), K O’Shaughnessy 0-1

MILFORD: R Finn, K Galvin, E O’Riordan, L Healy, M Walsh, A Geary, Á Watson, O O’Mahony, A Thompson, E Watson, D O’Reilly, A O’Flynn, M O’Neill, M Flanagan, M Watson.

Subs: L O’Flynn for E Watson blood (21-22); O’Flynn for O’Mahony (50)

ARDRAHAN: R Gardiner, S Keehan, S Healy, A Brennan-Dillon, S Gardiner, A Lynskey-Keane, S Forde, A Callanan, M Carr, R Hennelly, A Mullins, R O’Toole, D Diviney, C Walsh, K O’Shaughnessy.

Subs: E Holland for Diviney (48), B Kerins for Walsh (55), K Quinn-McMahon for Forde (59), S O’Flynn for A O’Flynn (60+2)

Referee: A Lagrue (Kildare)



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