Granagh Ballingarry’s challenge for Munster Championship glory was ended by All-Ireland champions Milford in Charleville on Saturday. The impressive Cork side secured their third AIB Munster championship title in a row by 0-14 to 0-6 and were good value for their victory having led by 0-7 to 0-3 at half time.
A large crowd turned out to witness the second meeting at this stage between the sides in consecutive years and with only 12 miles separating the clubs the match had the air of a local derby. There were plenty of All-Ireland medal winners on show too with each side having a strong representation on Cork’s Senior and Limerick’s Intermediate winning sides.
The opening quarter of the match was tightly contested with Granagh matching Milford who never were more than two points ahead. Ashling Thompson opened the scoring for the Cork champ[ions but Rebecca Noonan’s frees had the sides level at the 10 minute mark. However in a low-scoring game Milford opened a significant four point margin going into the break with Emer Watson unerring from placed balls.
After the break Milford further widened the gap as they began to assert their dominance on the game. Granagh had their chances as late in the game they looked for the goal that would turn the game. Aoife Sheehan droped some long range frees into the goal area only for them to be ably dealt with by an impressive Milford defence led by Anna Geary and Elaine O’Riordan.
Siobhán Enright, Sarah Carey, Aoife Sheehan and Fiona Hickey et al worked tirelessly throughout for Granagh Ballingarry but with Meadbh Nash and Aisling Scully getting their only points from play (one in each half) their inability to penetrate the Milford defence was the difference between the sides.
But the Ciarán Carey managed side can be proud of their achievement in getting to this stage for the second year running and only a Milford side at the top of their game was able to defeat them.
Milford: E Watson (0-10, six frees, three 45’s), M O’Neill (0-2), Á Watson and A Thompson (0-1 each).
Granagh/Ballingarry: R Noonan (0-4, frees), M Nash and A Scully (0-1 each).
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).
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).
Referee: John Dolan (Clare).