Dublin’s Senior Camogie team put in a brilliant second half performance in a thrilling encounter against Clare in Parnell’s GAA Club to claim a first round victory in the Liberty Insurance Senior All Ireland Championship.
With twenty minutes to go in the game David Herity’s Dublin side found themselves six points adrift, but they powered home playing some scintillating hurling to turn the game around and win by three points.
Conditions yesterday were difficult for both teams, the playing surface was extremely poor after the heavy downpours on Friday night and certain sections of the pitch were waterlogged, add in the strong wind and both teams are to be commended for putting on such an entertaining game for the large crowd in attendance.
Dublin won the toss and decided to play against the wind in the first half. Clare won the throw-in and seconds later Niamh O’Dea swept the ball over the bar for the first score of the contest.
But Dublin hit a purple patch between the 5th and 9th minute scoring an unanswered 1-02. Two excellent points scored by Emma Flanagan and Ali Twomey were quickly followed by a well taken goal by Siobhan Kehoe, a shot by Hannah Hegarty was initially blocked but Kehoe picked up the loose ball and slotted home.
The Clare response was swift and by the thirteenth minute the ladies from the Banner County were back in front thanks to tormentor in chief Niamh O’Dea who hit 1-02 in the space of four minutes. O’Dea’s goal came via a long range free and the Clare forward got the last touch on the ball to send into the back of the Dublin net.
Clare’s Niamh O’Dea and Orla Devitt added further points for their side as they continued to control proceedings. An Aisling Maher point from a free ended Dublin’s twelve minute barren scoring spell.
But Clare finished the half on the front foot and added two more points before the short whistle, a free from Chloe Morey and a well taken point from play by Andrea O’Keeffe to leave the score at the break, Dublin 1-03, Clare 1-07.
Four points adrift Dublin needed a quick start to the second half but it was Clare who extended their lead inside the opening minute with a free from Chloe Morey.
But now playing with the wind, Dublin keeper Faye McCarthy was hitting her puck outs a huge distance deep into the Clare backline which was putting Dublin straight on the attack.
Clare were now under pressure at the back and two quick points from Miriam Twomey with a brilliant score from play and a free from Aisling Maher reduced the lead to just three points.
Although Clare weren’t getting as much of the ball as they had in the first half they were still dangerous going forward and in Chloe Morey they had a player who was deadly accurate from places balls.
And it didn’t look too good for Dublin with twenty minutes to go when two converted frees by Morey and a good point from play from Orla Devitt had Clare ahead by six.
But Dublin dug deep and ferociously hunted down the ball and forced Clare onto the back foot. Clare had been using a short puck out against the strong wind, but the girls in blue changed tactics and pushed High up the pitch forcing Clare to go long.
It took them out of their comfort zone and Dublin dominated around the middle of the park and the pressure grew on Clare and their discipline deserted them resulting in a spate of frees.
And Dublin keeper Faye McCarthy took advantage with three beauties in a row all from 50m and beyond but each time she split the posts to leave just a score between the sides.
Clare were now not just struggling for field position but also the ball but a rare foray forward resulted in a free that Chloe Morey dispatched with ease.
The tide turned in Dublin’s favour with eleven minutes to go, the girls from the capital were awarded a free about 90m out, Faye McCarthy stepped up and took aim at the posts, her shot was arrowing towards the target but dipped just short, struck the bar and the keepers hurl, the ball spun up in the air and Aishling Maher rose highest and directed the ball to the back of the net.
With only a point now between the teams and Dublin with all the momentum it was game on.
David Herity had introduced Alison Maguire early in the second half and just after Dublin’s second goal sent on Claire Donnelly and Zoe O’Donoghue and all three substitutes combined with eights minutes to go to complete the comeback.
Alison Maguire won the ball, fed it inside to Claire Donnelly and she fed Zoe O’Donoghue who despite being surrounded she hand-passed it to the back of the net and Dublin led by two.
A special mention has to go to Alison Maguire who shortly after coming on in the early part of the second half got a bad injury to her arm, she battled on till the end, but had to go to hospital after the game with a suspected dislocated elbow. If that’s not a show of bravery, commitment, dedication to the jersey and toughness I don’t know what is.
The closing stages of the game were tense and when Chloe Morey successfully hit another free to leave the bare minimum between the sides it set it up for a grandstand finish.
But Dublin were not going to be denied on the day and the players threw themselves into every tackle, blocking, hooking and battling for every ball in a frantic finish.
With four minutes to go Faye McCarthy strode forward from her goal to hit another perfect free to put the girls in blue up by two. Back came Clare with another Chloe Morley free to again fray the nerves of the watching Dublin supporters.
But Ali Twomey plucked a ball from the skies turned inside her marker and hit a stunning point to calm the nerves and as the game headed into injury time Dublin were awarded a free and the high accurate Faye McCarthy sealed the win sending the ball sailing straight over the black spot.
Faye McCarthy 0-05 (5f)
Aisling Maher 1-02 (2f)
Siobhan Kehoe 1-00
Zoe O’Donoghue 1-00
Ali Twomey 0-02
Emma Flanagan 0-01
Miriam Twomey 0-01
Niamh O’Dea 1-04
Chloe Morley 0-07 (7f)
Orla Devitt 0-02
Andrea O’Keefe 0-01
1. Faye McCarthy
2. Arleen Cushen
3. Grainne Quinn
4. Aine Woods
5. Eva Marie Elliott
6. Aisling Carolan
7. Eve O’Brien
8. Eimear McCarthy
9. Ellen McGovern
10. Miriam Twomey
11. Hannah Hegarty
12. Siobhan Kehoe
13. Aisling Maher
14. Emma Flanagan
15. Ali Twomey
07mins 2nd Half On: 18. Ali Maguire Off: 9. Ellen McGovern (37th Min)
20. Zoe O’Donoghue For 14. Emma Flanagan (48th Min)
17. Claire Donnelly For 13. Aisling Maher (48th Min)
1. Ciara McCarthy
2. Amy Barrett
3. Maire McGrath
4. Carol O’Leary
5. Laura McMahon
6. Clare Hehir
7. Roisin McMahon
8. Orlaith Duggan
9. Ciara Grogan
10. Aine O’Loughlin
11. Aoife Keane
12. Aoibhean Duggan
13. Orla Devitt
14. Niamh O’Dea
15. Chloe Morey
17. Andrea O’Keeffe For 12. Aoibhean Duggan (25th Min)
19. Aoibhean Malone For 10. Aine O’Loughlin (44th Min)