THE greatest day in the history of Rower-Inistioge camogie club arrived as a devastating scoring spree in the final quarter helped the Kilkenny team make history.
Inistioge beat Shinrone by seven points, becoming the first Kilkenny team to win the Leinster intermediate championship.
Following their county final victory over Tullaroan, Rower captain Lizzie Lyng promised that the club would be worthy representatives of the county in the Leinster championship. They fulfilled that promise.
A pulsating contest saw the Rower build up a four-point lead in the first half against the wind before slacking off and allowing Shinrone score 1-2 late in the half to snatch a solitary point lead (2-4 to 1-6).
The Offaly contingent dominated possession during the third quarter, and should have led by more than 2-6 to 1-6.
Rower-Inistioge battled back. Two pointed frees from Kelly Hamilton and an excellent effort from Catriona Ryan drew them on level terms, before goals inside the last 10 minutes from Tara Kennedy and substitute Christine Lyng secured victory.
It was a magnificent team display from the Rower-Inistioge, who had heroes everywhere.
Goalkeeper Emma Kavanagh gave a solid display of assured handling, while defensively they were solid again, conceding 2-2 from play, with Shinrone only managing a solitary point from play in the second-half towards the end of the game.
Eimear Lyng gave a mighty display commanding the edge of the square, as she dominated the threat of Offaly full-forward, former inter-county player Michelle Davis.
On numerous occasions during the second-half Lyng defended tenaciously. Kelly Hamilton’s contributed from placed balls was vital, while Ciara Lyng worked relentlessly also.
16-year-old Aine Gannon was all action in midfield, while an unsung hero was Bridin White. She got through a massive amount of unseen work, denying Shinrone space as she covered acres of ground. Her high-work rate was a factor in epitomising the Rower-Inistioge team spirit.
19-year-old Tara Kennedy got the all-important second goal, and she was a real handful throughout. Kennedy worked tenaciously to disrupt the momentum of the Shinrone defence.
Lizzie Lyng sprung to life during the final quarter, as she was centrally involved to a number of their attacking moves, while Catriona Ryan led the way.
Having transferred from Tullogher as the club disbanded earlier in the year, the Kilkenny senior goalkeeper scored 1-3 from play and was a real leader throughout. As well as playing a leading role in Rower-Inistioge’s victory, she was goalscorer, and she was also named player of the match afterwards.
Supersub Christine Lyng played a decisive role by scoring 1-1 that killed off the Shinrone challenge during those closing few minutes.
Catriona Ryan’s early goal in the 11th minute gave Rower-Inistioge an early cushion, and they maintained that 4 point lead by the 25th minute.
Despite a well-taken goal from Kerry McLeish Rower-Inistioge replied with three pointed frees from Kelly Hamilton including a superb effort from 70 yards near the sideline, while Catriona Ryan also pointed expertly to add to their scoring account.
However, sloppiness cost Rower-Inistioge during the closing five minutes of the half.
Shinrone added points from a Michaela Morkan free and Grainne Egan, while Morkan was instrumental to Shinrone’s second goal approaching first-half injury-time.
The 2009 All-Star made a scintillating run through the Rower-Inistioge defence. Her shot was brilliantly smothered by Jane Cullen before Caroline Crean pounced to follow up on the rebound as they led 2-4 to 1-6 at the interval.
Rower-Inistioge struggled to make an impact during the third quarter and were fortunate to by just trailing by three points, as Shinrone squandered a host of chances.
However, the South Kilkenny girls kept plugging away. Points from a Hamilton (free), Catriona Ryan and another Hamilton free drew them level (2-6 to 1-9).
For the final 10 minutes, there was no looking back.
Tara Kennedy slotted home a goal from close range, after the Shinrone goalkeeper Deirdre Reynolds had her shot charged down.
Morkan pointed a free to narrow the gap, before Aoife Lyng and Christine Lyng pointed to stretch the advantage to four points. 2-11 to 2-7.
Morkan pointed another free as the tension was unbearable.
However, the nerves were sealed, when Christine Lyng fired in a shot goalwards.
Deirdre Reynolds spilled Lyng’s long range effort which drew delirious delight from the Rower-Inistioge players, substitutes and supporters.
Lizzie Lyng concluded the scoring for good measure, as the celebrations began in earnest.
SCORERS: Rower-Inistioge - Catriona Ryan (1-3); Kelly Hamilton (0-5, 0-4 frees 0-1 45); Christine Lyng (1-1); Tara Kennedy (1-0); Aine Gannon, Aoife Lyng, Christine Lyng (0-1 each). Shinrone - Michaela Morkan (0-6, 0-5 frees, 0-1 45); Kerry McLeish, Caroline Crean (1-0 each); Grainne Egan, Michelle Davis (0-1 each).
Rower-Inistioge - Emma Kavanagh, Jane Cullen, Eimear Lyng, Becky Dempsey, Emma Hynes, Kelly Hamilton, Ciara Lyng, Aine Gannon, Briona Langton, Sarah O’Mahoney, Lizzie Lyng, Bridin White, Tara Kennedy, Catriona Ryan, Aoife Lyng. Subs: Christine Lyng, Fiona Carroll, Aoife Hanrahan.
Shinrone - Eimear Reynolds, Kate Aherne, Karina Cummins, Sarah Cleary, Clodagh Shanahan, Kelly Salmon, Edel O’Meara, Christine Cleary, Marion Crean, Kerry McLeish, Michaela Morkan, Grainne Egan, Fiona McLeish, Michelle Davis, Caroline Crean. Sub: Janette Feighery.
Referee - Aidan O’Brien (Wexford)