Gourmet Food Parlour O’Connor Cup semi-final
University of Limerick (UL) 3-14
University College Cork (UCC) 1-11
Emma Dufy reports from IT Blanchardstown
REIGNING champions UL are set for a fiery Gourmet Food Parlour O’Connor Cup final against DCU after a nine-point win over Munster rivals UCC.
In a repeat of the 2017 decider, Mayo forward Shauna Howley’s 2-1 was key and a late, late goal from Emma Needham sealed the win for the Limerick outfit at IT Blanchardstown.
Waterford’s Geraldine Power put on a battling display for UCC in front of the posts, while Cork’s Libby Coppinger and Orlagh Farmer were among others to impress but it wasn’t enough.
The scoreline may be slightly harsh at the end of the day, but UL showed true grit and determination when it mattered most to get over the line.
Without the services of Cork camogie duo Hannah Looney and Maebh Cahalane, it looked like it was going to be a dismal outing for UCC as they went a goal down with just 23 seconds on the clock.
Howley had the ball in the back of the net before Cork star Eimear Scally and Tipperary’s Roisin Howard had the holders off to a flying start.
Shane Ronayne’s charges responded well against the odds though, with Geraldine Power leading the scoring, as she did throughout the clash.
Tipperary’s Bríd Condon and Coppinger added two more efforts to keep the Rebel college in touch, but Scally sparked to life along with 2017 Intermediate Player of the Year Aisling McCarthy at the other end.
With the half-time score reading 1-6 to 0-5, UL came out all guns blazing on the restart as Mayo forward Grace Kelly – who finished with 0-3 from play — opened her account and made her impact felt from the get-go.
Tipperary dual star Orla O’Dwyer split the posts with her first touch from the bench, while McCarthy tagged on another.
Farmer narrowed the deficit at the other end before Maebh O’Sullivan was called upon to deny a UL goal chance. Moments later though, Howley once again found the back of the net to complete her brace after a scramble around the goalmouth.
There was no shortage of drama in the final 10 minutes from both ends, with UCC having a goal disallowed, scoring a penalty and UL then sealing the win.
Kerry’s Aoife Geaney stepped up to smash home the 52nd-minute penalty, while Power helped the Cork outfit keep the faith with another free-kick.
But UL had enough in the tank to hold on with substitutes Ailbhe Davoren and Ailish Considine pointing before Emma Needham slotted home at the death to make it 3-14 to 1-11 and seal their decider spot.
Scorers for UL: Shauna Howley (2-1), Eimear Scally (0-3, 1f), Orla O’Dwyer (0-3), Emma Needham (1-0), Roisin Howard (0-2), Aisling McCarthy (0-2), Grace Kelly (0-2), Ailbhe Davoren (0-1).
Scorers for UCC: Geraldine Power (0-6, 4f), Aoife Geaney (1-0), Orlagh Farmer (0-2), Kate Leneghan (0-1), Bríd Condon (0-1), Libby Coppinger (0-1).
Caoimhe Moore (Cork)
Aisling Kelleher (Cork)
Maria Curley (Tipperary)
Shauna Molloy (Galway)
Joanne Cregg (Roscommon)
Laurie Ryan (Clare)
Fiona McHale (Mayo)
Louise Ward (Galway)
Shauna Kelly (Cork)
Shauna Howley (Mayo)
Laura Rogers (Kerry)
Aisling McCarthy (Tipperary)
Roisin Howard (Tipperary)
Eimear Scally (Cork)
Grace Kelly (Mayo)
Orla O’Dwyer (Tipperary) for Joanne Cregg (HT)
Rebecca O’Malley (Mayo) for Louise Ward (46)
Ailbhe Davoren (Galway) for Laura Rogers (46)
Emma Needham (Mayo) for Aisling McCarthy (50)
Ailish Considine (Clare) for Shauna Howley (58)
Maebh O’Sullivan (Cork)
Rebecca Casey (Waterford)
Eimear Meaney (Cork)
Emma Spillane (Cork)
Bríd Condon (Tipperary)
Megan Dunford (Waterford)
Marie Ambrose (Cork)
Caoimhe Condon (Tipperary)
Orla Devitt (Clare)
Mairéad Corkery (Cork)
Libby Coppinger (Cork)
Geraldine Power (Waterford)
Hayley Ryan (Cork)
Orlagh Farmer (Cork)
Kate Leneghan (Cork)
Laura Dillon (Tipperary) for Orla Devitt (10)
Aoife Geaney (Kerry) for Kate Leneghan (45)
Aoibhe O’Shea (Tipperary) for Caoimhe Condon (49)
Liz Devine (Waterford) for Emma Spillane (50)
Evie Casey (Cork) for Hayley Ryan (50)