Down Intermediate Camogie Final
Bredagh 5.10 Ballyholland 2.5
Bredagh collected their second Down Intermediate championship in a keenly contested final against Ballyholland at Aghaderg/Ballyvarley on Saturday.
It was a case of a slow burn in the opening quarter for the Ravenhill Road girls, as they struggled to get to grips with the work rate and intensity of Ballyholland. A brace of goals mid-way through the second quarter provided them the confidence to open out an expansive second half game plan. But despite the scoreline they were never really free from their challengers until the last 10 minutes of the game. Ballyholland, to their credit, never surrendered until the final whistle, but the loss of star forward Eimear Rushe in the opening period was always going to hinder them in their quest for scores.
The opening period saw Ballyhollland capitalise on hesitancy in the Bredagh defence and an opportune goal for Mulholland-Shields. Shortly after, a Bredagh penalty was deflected over the bar and and 3 consecutive wides suggested this game was going against the Belfast girls. But it was a touch of class from youngster Brentnall, operating at full forward, that finally settled the Bredagh nerves. Collecting the ball on the left wing, she shook off the tackle of the experienced Caoimhe Byrne before shooting low to the corner of the net, and finally Bredagh were up an running. But Ballyholland continued to apply the pressure on both wings through Rushe and Murtagh, and two frees and a point from play say them ahead 1.3 to 1.2 after 20 minutes.
In a carbon copy of their semi final win the weekend before, it was a two goal burst from Andrea McKillop that ignited Bredagh in the 25th minute. The first a deft flick from a free, and then a second moments later with a well worked lob over the keeper having drawn the defence out. Ballyholland remained a threat in the closing stages of the half with the Bredagh back line of Molony, Daly and Boyle having to press continually to snuff out the scoring threat until Rushe retired following an awkward fall under pressure. A goal from McFarland on the cusp of half time put the first daylight between the teams as the half finished 4.3 to 1.3 in Bredagh’s favour.
In the second half the Belfast girls took up where the left off, and free of the nerves that held them back in the early stages, they opened up to play a much wider expansive game on both wings. Flanked by the ball winning pace and power of county minors, McKee and Blayney, McFarland tormented the Ballyholland defence picking off 5 points, wrapped around further points by Brentnall and McKillop. To their credit, Ballyholland never stopped working up front, but team captain Catherine Rocks marshalled her defence superbly, assisted ably by Deery and Devlin, on each wing and the tireless support of McKay and McCann around the middle.
Ballyholland efforts were rewarded by a further goal in the closing quarter, only for McKee to take a long range goal and dispel any hope of a late comeback, and Bredagh closed out the scoring from substitute Blaney. The Intermediate Camogie Championship Cup now rests along-side the Ladies Senior Football Championship as the Cherryvale girls have “done the double” in Down for 2018
R McConnell, M Molony, G Daly, O Boyle, M Devlin, C Rocks, M Deery, A McCann, M McKay, A McKee, A Mc Farland, C Blayney, A McKillop, A Brentnall, P McKay.
Subs: O Blaney, O Crozier, A O’Sullivan, M Kieran, C Magennis, M McMullan, C Le Velly, B McKegney, B Donaghy,
D McCourt, J Devine, C Byrne, A O’Hanlon, H Duffy, O McLogan, M O’Hare, N O’Gorman, S Murphy, A Quinn, C Murtagh, E Rushe, C Mulholland-Shields,
Subs: D McGovern, B Cassidy, C Turley, E Casey, E Mullen, A Kearney, N Ryan, F McAloon, E Doran