Oulart/The Ballagh’s Senior Camogie team laid down an early marker for 2018 on Monday evening in the Senior Camogie League final.
Played in a sunny Buffers Alley, and even though it’s early days yet, the girls of Oulart-The Ballagh displayed determination and hunger which was something to note, if not to admire.
Managed this year by Colin Sunderland, the team showed a steely determination even without Una Leacy who picked up an injury on inter-county duty with Wexford.
Maybe it was an ominous sign for St Martin’s when a little pitch invader, in the form of a Monamolin rabbit, decided to run at the Oulart-The Ballagh huddle immediately before the throw-in.
That rabbit watched the rest of the game from a distance, but surely she surely must have been impressed by the manner in which the girls of Oulart/The Ballagh similarly ran at the St.Martin’s outfit.
In the first-half, Ursula Jacob and Linda Bolger were both deadly accurate from frees. Jacob, who captained Oulart, was deputising at centre-forward for the injured Una Leacy, while Bridín Redmond joined a full-forward line which included Diane Ryan and recently promoted Siobhan Sinnott.
Linda Bolger also operated at centre-forward for the girls in maroon and was causing some headaches with her direct, fast-paced running. However, apart from her converted frees, St Martin’s only had two points from play during the first half – one from Linda Bolger herself and one from Anna Hennessy.
For Oulart, there was a better spread of scorers with teenagers Anais Curran and Siobhan Sinnott getting on the scoreboard with cracking points. However, the score that lit up the first half was a great team move that started with Aoife Dunne in midfield and finished with Stacey Kehoe’s rocket to the back of Mags Darcy’s net.
At the break, Oulart-The Ballagh led by 1-08 to 0-07, and on the resumption, they continued where they left off with St Martin’s finding it difficult to make any inroads.
St Martin’s would only raise two more white flags during the second half, despite the best efforts of Linda Bolger, several members of the O’Connor clan and teenager Ciara trying their utmost to make a breakthrough.
Oulart were tipping away and added seven points in the second half to maintain their superiority. With time running out and the Oulart girls comfortably ahead, referee Gearoid McGrath awarded the Martin’s a penalty which was taken by Sarah O’Connor and converted on the rebound by the inrushing Chloe Fox.
When the final whistle sounded the scoreboard read Oulart-The Ballagh 1-15 St. Martins 1-09 and it’s fair to say that the spectators witnessed some fine camogie which whets the appetite for the summer championship action ahead.
Expect St Martin’s to be firing on all cylinders as things rev up, but expect nothing less from a dominant Oulart/The Ballagh side either.
The rabbit hopped away, delighted she picked a winner, and as Una Leacy made her way out on crutches, we hope that the next time we see her she’ll have the same pep in her step as the little Buffers Alley pitch invader.
Full time: Oulart 1-15 – 1-09 St Martins
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