A WHIRLWIND finish to the first half helped Mullinavat regain the senior camogie crown, beating St Lachtain’s by 5-9 to 1-8.
Playing with greater confidence, the South Kilkenny girls rattled off 2-2 in three devastating minutes before the break, a burst which helped them ease to victory against St Lachtain’s (Freshford) in Clara on Saturday.
Trailing by double scores approaching the interval (0-6 to 0-3), Mullinavat made a dash for victory. Points from Michelle Quilty and Julie Anne Malone left the bare minimum between the teams, before Valerie Law got the final touch on an Elaine Aylward free to find the net.
Moments later, Michelle Quilty and Leanne Fennelly teamed up to send Ciara Holden through on goal. Holden blasted her shot to the net for an expertly taken finish.
In the space of a few minutes, the game turned on its head as Mullinavat took a 2-5 to 0-6 lead in with them at the interval.
Surprisingly, it took Mullinavat a while to get going as they were well contained by the St Lachtain’s defence in the opening stages. The Freshford ladies led 0-6 to 0-3 by the 25th minute, with Imelda Kennedy was on fire in midfield - she scored 0-4 in the opening half hour, including a superb effort from play after just 90 seconds.
It was all change thanks to that late 2-2 though, with Mullinavat taking charge of proceedings before the break. Early second half points from Michelle Quilty (2) and Elaine Aylward helped stretch their advantage even further (2-8 to 0-6).
Victory came closer in the 41st minute when Leanne Fennelly ghosted past the Freshford defence and blasted home with ease.
Lachtain’s kept battling away, gaining hope with a well-taken Imelda Kennedy goal on 52 minutes. However, two late goals helped Mullinavat reassert their dominance. Sinead Phelan tapped the sliotar into an empty net following a glorious crossfield delivery by Quilty then turned provider in time added on, setting up Julie-Anne Malone to complete an emphatic victory.
The Aylward sisters Sinead and Elaine were superb in the central defensive positions, while in attack Michelle Quilty led the line superbly. Julie-Anne Malone was a revelation in the second-half as she constantly had the St Lachtain’s defence in all sorts of trouble, while Sinead Phelan was superb when introduced as a first-half substitute.
St Lachtain’s kept battling to the end, but never really recovered from those two first half goals. Imelda Kennedy was magnificent and her excellent goal was sheer reward for her persistent efforts, while Aoife Fitzpatrick and Sinead Connery performed admirably in difficult circumstances.
Mullinavat - Brid Aylward, Joanne Quinn, Sinead Aylward, Rebecca Haberlin, Paula Butler, Elaine Aylward (0-1, free), Claire Aylward, Aine Kinsella, Amy Butler, Julie-Anne Malone (1-2), Leanne Fennelly (1-0), Miriam Frisby, Valerie Law (1-0), Michelle Quilty (0-5, 0-3 frees), Ciara Holden (1-0). Subs: Sinead Phelan (1-0) for Frisby, 21 mins; Lorraine Fennelly for Law, 55 mins.
St Lachtain’s - Sinead Cash, Katie Doheny, Gillian Dillon Maher, Claire Dermody, Maureen Walsh, Fiona Dowling, Eileen Fitzpatrick, Imelda Kennedy (1-5, 0-4 frees), Aoife Fitzpatrick, Cora Dowling, Sinead Connery (0-1), Lydia Fitzpatrick, Carol Kavanagh (0-1), Marie O’Connor (0-1), Sarah Lanigan.
Referee - John Walsh (Rower-Inistioge).