By Daragh Ó Conchúir
The Fennelly name lit up Croke Park once more as Kilkenny produced a strong second half performance to just edge out Cork in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Final at Croke Park.
Keeva Fennelly was central to the effort, scoring two goals as Kilkenny overturned a four-point interval deficit to get their hands on the Jack McGrath Cup. Fennelly’s father Ger won three Hurling All-Ireland’s with Kilkenny – including one as captain – and joined his six brothers as Ballyhale Shamrocks garnered three more at club level.
Michael and Colin have been among the latest generation gracing Croke Park but it was their first cousin’s turn to capture the headlines this time, finishing expertly on the double to break Cork’s hearts. It had looked bleak for the victors in the first half and they could probably count themselves slightly fortunate to be only 0-7 to 0-3 behind at half time.
Cork played in a similar style to the Seniors, linking well, running off the shoulder and always attempting to find a colleague. Linda Collins was on fire and the Courcey Rovers full-forward had three points as Paudie Murray’s side scorched into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Crucially, Collins had a shot at goal blocked that would have put them even clear and Ciara Holden, who had slotted their only point at that juncture, added a couple of more to keep them in contention.
Amy Lee did well to deny Kilkenny at the other end but Finola Neville and Rachel O’Shea were on the mark to make it 0-7 to 0-4 at the change of ends. Kilkenny returned to the pitch with their intent visible in body language and how they met their opponents as they resumed their positions. It showed as they were level within three minutes, Holden pointing before Jenny Clifford hand-passed to the Cork net.
The momentum swung back in the Leesiders’ direction however as Collins provided a deserving resounding finish for a goal in the 38th minute after Caroline Sugrue’s dancing feet had created the chance. Sugrue laid the groundwork for a magnificent point by Collins from the next attack and Cork were four ahead once more.
Within a minute, Fennelly did well to handpass to Cork net though and she repeated the trick five minutes later. Both sides had plenty opportunities in the final quarter but despite points from O’Shea, Collins and the final score of the game from Keeva McCarthy, Kilkenny just kept their noses in front, Holden’s successful free just before that proving significant.
SCORERS: KILKENNY: K Fennelly 2-0; C Holden 0-5(4fs); J Clifford 1-0; A Fahey 0-1 CORK: L Collins 1-5; R O’Shea 0-4(3fs); F Neville, K McCarthy 0-1 each
KILKENNY: K Maher, R Phelan, J Norris, N Sweeney, N Leahy, K Nolan, E Frisby, A Kenneally, L Greene, K Fennelly, C Holden, J Clifford, S Walsh, Á Fahey, E Coonan. Subs: C Walsh for Coonan (42), L Phelan for Sweeney (45), C Phelan for Fahey (52)
CORK: A Lee, L Coppinger, L Weste, N Ní Chaoimh, J Crowley, S Buckley, S Harrington, C Sigerson, J Barry, K Hickey, S Fahy, F Neville, R O’Shea, L Collins, C Sugrue. Subs: E Murphy for Coppinger (41), L Lynch for O’Shea (46), K McCarthy for Fahy (49