Cork have enjoyed tremendous glory in the Electric Ireland Minor A Camogie Championship since getting off the mark in 2018 and are now one game away from a fourth title in six seasons as a result of their 1-18 to 3-10 triumph over a valiant Galway in Nenagh.
Awaiting them in the final at UPMC Nowlan Park on May 7 are neighbours Waterford, who will be striving to win their first title after emerging from another derby by accounting for the most successful county in the competition, Kilkenny in the second semi-final at the Éire Óg venue.
Congratulations to our Minor team who won in Nenagh today in their semi final against Galway. It was Galway 3-11 to Cork 1-18. Well done team - it's Final time! 😁🇦🇹🇦🇹💯👍 pic.twitter.com/JqEWUqsaqN
— OfficialCorkCamogie (@CorkCamogie) April 23, 2023
Galway got the scoring underway against Cork with a pointed free in the first minute from Aoibheann Barry but it was all Cork for the next 20 minutes, even though Kayla Madden goaled for the Tribeswomen at the end of the first quarter.
The Rebels had scored six points in a row between those two Galway scores, impressively supplied by six different players. One of those, Caoimhe O’Donoghue, responded to Madden’s goal with a major of her own and when Niamh McNabola pointed after 22 minutes, Jerry Wallace’s crew led by 1-9 to 1-1.
Barry was a constant threat for Galway though and she hit back with a goal and a point and the westerners were in touch at the change of ends, trailing by just 1-11 to 2-4.
It was Aaron Fox’s team that had the better restart and when Caoimhe Kelly drilled a 37th minute penalty to the net, they had drawn level, 3-6 to 1-12 but the Leeside riposte was notable. Player of the match Ava Fitzgerald drove them forward as McNabola, Emily O’Donoghue (two) and Erinn Curtin put some daylight between the sides once more.
Galway refused to give in though, and Barry and Orlaith Cremin exchanged points, before Barry added to her tally with another brace, but the Maroons fell short by two and it was Cork who advanced.
Congratulations to Eimear O’ Neill who is today’s Player of the Match in the @ElectricIreland Minor A All Ireland Semi Final.
Eimear played a big part in Waterford’s come back Vs Tipperary last weekend scoring 4 points & today scoring a super 1-04 Vs Kilkenny 👏💙#Thisismajor pic.twitter.com/vDUxeNcB78
— Waterford Camogie (@deisecamogie) April 23, 2023
In the other game, Waterford imposed themselves early on, the excellent Maggie Gostl breaching the Kilkenny defence with a goal after three minutes. Keisie Obanya added a point straight away before Rachel Dowling got the Cats off the mark.
It was Waterford who dominated the scoring to the interval however, Alannah McNulty and the outstanding Eimear O’Neill raising white flags to make it 1-6 to 0-3 at the change of ends, O’Neill bringing her tally to four.
Waterford had been reduced to 14 players just before the interval but they were able to keep Kilkenny at arm’s length in the second half nonetheless, even though Julie Lennon split the posts on two occasions early on for the young Stripeywomen and Dowling shot another brace to leave four between them.
It was O’Neill who landed the telling blow however, with a goal after 56 minutes following a brilliant bit of play by Emma Fitzgerald set her up. There was no way back for Kilkenny from there, hard though they tried and a late goal was not enough to deny the blue and whites their shot at history.
Meanwhile, Antrim will play Limerick in the Minor A Shield final, the Saffrons defeating Wexford by 4-12 to 1-8 and Limerick edging out Shannonside rivals Clare by 1-8 to 1-6 to progress.