TWO early goals set the tone for this Junior A camogie final in Gort on Saturday as Clarinbridge had too much firepower for a Ballinderreen side that toiled honestly, but just struggled to ever really get in contention against worthy winning opponents.
While buoyed by those goals, as Gerry Hooban’s charges turned a nine point interval advantage into a 13-point winning margin, Clarinbridge did not have matters all their own way as it took some magnificant defensive work on their part to repel a losing side that certainly deserved more in the scoring stakes.
At full back, Rachel Bannon was an outstanding performer as time and again she came away with possession as Ballinderreen threatened a comeback, while alongside her, captain Fiona Armstrong and Marie Kennedy, also played a huge part in cleaning up possession and clearing their lines.
They were also fastest out of the starting blocks in the scoring stakes as Elaine Kennedy found the net in a goalmouth scramble in the opening minute before Lisa Casserly pointed two frees to close the gap. Rebecca Callinan took full advantage of her game time after original selection Catherine Moran injured her calf in the warm up and she was first to a rebound after goalkeeper Fiona Ryan had kept out a Niamh Niland shot.
Now Ballinderreen were by no means out of the game at this stage and they responded with a goal of their own on nine minutes – Muireann Faherty firing home a rebound after a Casserly free was broken down in the square to leave matters at 2-0 to 1-2 in favour of Clarinbridge.
Thereafter, the winners really took over for a spell as midfielder Carrie Dolan took centre stage with six points in succession. They opened up a 2-6 to 1-3 advantage, with just Leanne Helebert picking up a scoring reward for their neighbours. While Lisa Casserly, Emma Helebert, Muireann Faherty and Ciara Molloy were making inroads on behalf of Ballinderreen, they were struggling for scores. A Casserly free came off a post, before the impressive midfielder and soccer international had a shot saved by Anna Kilduff.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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