What a thriller in Bennetsbridge, writes Michael O’Leary. Defending senior camogie champions Mullinavat and Thomastown served up the best of fare in the county final.
Mullinavat’s golden start proved crucial. They led by 3-3 to 0-1 by the 15th minute, and they never looked back despite heroics from the losers.
Entering the closing quarter the arrears were reduced to three points, but a fourth Mullinavat goal from Amy Butler was the clincher.
The winners exploded into life, goaling after 15 seconds. A clearance by Claire Aylward found Leann Fennell and she set-up county senior captain Michelle Quilty to hand-passed the sliotar into the empty net.
Quilty was on fire. She added two quick points to stretch the lead after Anna Farrell had pointed a free to open Thomastown’s account, 1-2 to 0-1. The outstanding Julie Anne Malone pointed before ’Vat opened up a clear lead.
First Malone blasted home the second goal. Then Leann Fennelly added a third. From the puck-out Fennelly fielded the sliothar about 70 yards out, and her return drive ended with the ball in the net, 3-3 to 0-1. Thomastown dug deep and during the second quarter out-scored their opponents, 2-2 to 0-3. The half-time score was 3-6 to 2-3. Thomastown out-scored the winners 0-5 to 0-2 during the third quarter, and threatened to the finish.
Eventually Amy Butler decided with a goal, putting her side 4-9 to 2-8 ahead. Thomastown had a late penalty saved, and they also had another chance of a goal, but it was ’Vat’s day. The class and experience of the inter-county seniors was telling.
Player of the match: Julie Anne Malone(Mullinavat)
The 18-year-old was magnificent scoring 1-3 from play. She was a constant handful for the Thomastown defence in a superb individual performance.
Scorers: Mullinavat – Michelle Quilty, Julie Anne Malone (1-3 each); Leann Fennelly (1-2); Amy Butler (1-0); Miriam Frisby (0-1). Thomastown – Anna Farrell (0-5); Niamh Donnelly (1-2); Shelly Farrell (1-0); Lisa Carey, Niamh Bolger (penalty) (0-1 each).
Mullinavat - Valerie Law, Sinead Phelan, Sinead Aylward, Joanne Quinn, Paula Butler (capt), Elaine Aylward, Claire Aylward, Amy Butler, Aine Kinsella, Miriam Frisby, Leann Fennelly, Ciara Holden, Michelle Quilty, Julie-Ann Malone, Rebecca Haberlin. Sub - Nieve Walsh.
Thomastown - Niamh Bolger, Niamh Quigley, Kate McDonald, Chloe Corrway, Megan Farrell, Ailish Butler, Ciara Farrell, Lisa Carey, Maeve O’Connor, Sinead Brennan, Jenny Reddy, Catherine Walsh, Shelly Farrell, Anna Farrell, Niamh Donnelly. Subs - Eimear Corr, Aoife Farrell.
Referee - John Walsh(Rower-Inistioge)