Limerick Crowned All-Ireland Intermediate Champions

Post date: Sep 21, 2014 3:09:47 PM

Limerick crowned a magnificent season by securing the All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie title at the second time of asking with a 1-12 to 0-10 win over Kilkenny in Croke Park on Sunday. Fans finally got to see a Limerick captain ascend the steps of the Hogan Stand as Granagh Ballingarry’s Fiona Hickey received the Jack McGrath Cup from Camogie President Aileen Lawlor.

The win was Limerick Camogie's third All-Ireland championship title of the season with the Intermediate joining the Minor and Junior A titles currently residing on Shannonside.

Limerick had won promotion to Division 1 of the league last year so they played all of their league campaign against Senior opposition. This was to be crucial in bringing an increased intensity to Limerick's play. They also significantly recorded three wins against senior opponents. Derry and All-Ireland champions Galway in the league and Tipperary in the Munster Senior Championship semi-final.

Limerick came through the championship group stages with four wins out of four defeating Kildare, Antrim, Galway and Tipperary by large margins scoring ten goals. The semi-final was a much greater challenge with Limerick prevailing over a strong Waterford side by the narrowest of margins 0-9 to 0-8. But the team had achieved their goal and delivered on the promise made at the foot of Hill 16 in the immediate aftermath of last year's defeat by getting back to the All-Ireland Final in Croke Park. Limerick's opponents on Sunday were, as they had been for the senior and minor hurlers, Kilkenny. The Cats were going for a double as they were also facing Cork in the senior final.

Limerick were playing into the wind in the first half and it was Kilkenny captain Mags Fennelly who opened the scoring but that was to be only time Kilkenny were to lead in the game. Three frees from Niamh Mulcahy put Limerick firmly in charge when Mary O’Callaghan got their first point from play for a 0-4 to 0-2 lead.

The switches manager Joe Quaid had made before throw-in with half-forwards Caoimhe Costelloe and Niamh Mulcahy lining out in midfield was paying off as Limerick dominated the middle of the park.

On 19 minutes Caoimhe Costelloe and Mairéad Fitzgerald combined with a break on the left wing and when the ball was crossed into the danger area Deborah Murphy coolly controlled it and found the back of the net with crashing shot to give Limerick a 1-5 to 0-3 lead. Kilkenny were not finished yet and the last three scores of the half were Kilkenny frees to leave Limerick with a two point lead at half-time 1-5 to 0-6.

Limerick management made two changes at half-time bringing Sinéad McNamara and Dymphna O’Brien into the attack. Kilkenny scored first in the half but Caoimhe Costelloe replied with two well-taken points from play to maintain the lead. Kilkenny replied to close the gap to the minimum again 1-7 to 0-9.

Limerick now started to really dominate and showed the benefits of experience with two points from play from Rebecca Delee and Niamh Mulcahy widening the gap to three points. Kilkenny were to get one final score from a free but two points from player-of-the-match Niamh Mulcahy and a second score from play for Rebecca Delee left the score at the final whistle Limerick 1-12 Kilkenny 0-10.

It was a game where the Limerick backs totally dominated as they prevented the Kilkenny forwards from getting a single shot on Síle Moynihan’s goal. Claire Mulcahy, Sarah Carey and Katie Campbell in the half-back line prevented Kilkenny from building any attacks and the experienced Michelle Casey at full-back flanked by Fiona Hickey and Judith Mulcahy kept Kilkenny’s vaunted forward line to six points from play.

The win means Limerick will return to senior ranks in 2015 and the performances of this year indicate that they will be well-capable of performing well at that level.

In a wonderful moment as Limerick U14s paraded with other teams on the pitch at half-time in the Senior game the Intermediate team ran out to greet them as they walked off to great jubilation. Celebrations continued with team and supporters at a meal in Morans Red Cow Hotel on Sunday.

The team returned on Monday evening to a reception attended by fans and dignitaries including Mayor Michael Sheehan and Council Cathaoirleach Kevin Sheahan at team sponsors The Woodlands House Hotel. The team went on to a great welcome in the Granagh the home of captain Fiona Hickey.

Limerick scorers: Niamh Mulcahy 0-7 (4F), Deborah Murphy 1-0, Caoimhe Costelloe, Rebecca Delee 0-2 each, Mary O’Callaghan 0-1

Team: Síle Moynihan (Ahane), Fiona Hickey - Captain (Granagh Ballingarry), Michelle Casey (Killeedy), Judith Mulcahy (Ahane), Katie Campbell (Na Piarsaigh), Sarah Carey (Granagh Ballingarry), Claire Mulcahy (Ahane), Caoimhe Costelloe (Adare), Niamh Mulcahy (Ahane), Lorraine McCarthy (Bruff), Mary O'Callaghan (Bruff), Rebecca Delee (Newcastle West), Deborah Murphy (Knockaderry), Aoife Sheehan (Granagh Ballingarry), Mairéad Fitzgerald (Granagh Ballingarry)

Subs: Dymphna O'Brien (Killeedy) for Mairéad Fitzgerald (HT), Sinéad McNamara (Na Piarsaigh) for Lorraine McCarthy (HT), Karen O'Leary (Newcastle West) for Mary O’Callaghan (43 mins), Niamh Ryan (Bruff) for Deborah Murphy (59 mins), Deirdre Fitzpatrick (Killeedy) for Aoife Sheehan (60 mins)

Squad: Marguerite McCarthy (Ahane), Sarah Collins, Katie Hennessey, Tara Fitzgibbon (Ballyagran), Muireann Creamer (Cappamore), Donna Mulcahy, Noreen Barry (Killeedy), Laura O'Neill, Jane Wilson (Na Piarsaigh), Leanne Browne (Newcastle West)

Manager: Joe Quaid

Selectors/Coaches: Ger Sheehy, Patsy Hall, Willie Banks, Ann Herbert, Adrian O'Sullivan

Backroom Team: Ger Curtin, Theresa Noonan

First Aid/Physical Therapist: Sara Fitzgerald

Doctor: Marcella O'Callaghan

Liason Officer : Fiona Godfrey