Mighty Milford on a roll

Milford (Cork) 0-14 Granagh/Ballingarry (Limerick) 0-6
All-Ireland senior club camogie champions Milford delivered a determined performance to secure their third AIB Munster championship title in-a-row at Charleville on Saturday.

Over 1,100 spectators turned up at the Cork venue to witness this intense battle with quality players from the All-Ireland senior (Cork) and intermediate (Limerick) championship winning sides on view.

The fact that many of the players had attended the same secondary school added extra spice to the affair. However, Milford, who led by three points at the interval, used their greater experience and strength in depth, to turn on a powerful second half display restricting Ciarán Carey’s Granagh/Ballingarry to one point from play.

“It was like a heavyweight boxing match out there,” admitted Milford boss Frank Flannery. “Both teams were out on their feet for the last 10 minutes. But I’d say after three years we are probably at our fittest.

“We took a long break and didn’t come back until June. We seem to be timing it right. We will take a well-earned break and go again for Mullagh (Connacht representatives) in February for the All Ireland semi-final.”

A brilliant 10-point return from placed ball specialist Emer Watson was the highlight – her free-taking was flawless, from various angles and distances.

Ashling Thompson scored first in an opening quarter that was close and competitive, Milford eventually moving ahead courtesy of an excellent Marie O’Neill point. Rebecca Noonan (4) registered twice for Granagh/Ballingarry before Emer Watson scored two more points. It left the champions 0-7 to 0-3 ahead at half-time.

Without Eileen O’Brien, who is recovering from a cruciate injury, Granagh/Ballingarry struggled in the scoring department. Lisa Kelly, Siobhán Enright and Sarah Carey worked tirelessly, as did Aoife Sheehan and Fiona Hickey further outfield but time and again they were repelled by a rock solid Milford defence led by Elaine O’Riordan and Anna Geary. Milford goalkeeper and skipper Rebecca Finn also impressed under some dangerous long range frees from Aoife Sheehan. “Two things about this team stand out,” explained Flannery. “Spirit and defiance. They just don’t give up. I train them very hard, maybe even harder than the boys. But they want to be pushed. They train up to five times a week and they look after themselves impeccably.”

Scorers for Milford: E Watson (0-10, six frees, three 45’s), M O’Neill (0-2), Á Watson and A Thompson (0-1 each).

Scorers for Granagh/Ballingarry: R Noonan (0-4, frees), M Nash and A Scully (0-1 each).

MILFORD: R Finn (Capt); K Galvin, E O’Riordan, L Healy; S Sexton, A Geary, M Walsh; O O’Mahony, D O’Reilly; C O’Connor, A Thompson, Á Watson; M O’Neill, E Watson, M Watson.

Subs: M Flanagan for C O’Connor (half-time), D Hayes for O O’Mahony (53), E O’Friel for Á Watson (60).

GRANAGH/BALLINGARRY: C Enright; E Hickey, L Kelly, D Moynihan; S Enright, S Carey (Capt), E O’Grady; F Hickey, A Sheehan; V Sheehan, M Nash, A Scully; R Noonan, T Mulcaire, M Fitzgerald.

Subs: M Lynch for M Fitzgerald (45), N Chawke for R Noonan (50).

Referee: John Dolan (Clare).


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