By Daragh Ó Conchúir
CORK were singing in the rain at the Coralstown Kinnegad grounds, producing a power-packed second half performance to win the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues Division 2 title for a fifth time.
It was a disappointing capitulation by Derry, after competing well in the first half and only going in at the break trailing by 0-9 to 1-3.
Cork had caused Derry plenty of trouble in that initial period though despite playing into a strong wind and with their own defence restricting the Ulster side to just two points after the restart, the result was never really in doubt.
Rachel O’Shea scored six points to be named player of the match but she had strong opposition for the individual award, with defenders Lauren Callanan and Sarah Buckley in particular standing out.
It was a good boost for Leeside camogie, with the seniors having lost the Division 1 final a week ago. They were able to call upon three of the players who started that game against Kilkenny – Jennifer Barry, Niamh McCarthy and Linda Collins – and possessed an all-round depth that proved too much for Derry.
The persistent rain made it difficult for both sides but Cork laid the foundations for their victory in that opening half, as they used a sweeper between the two traditional defensive lines to cut off the avenue of supply to the Derry inside forwards.
It didn’t work immediately however, as after Collins and Karen Kielt exchanged early points, Mary Hegarty grabbed a long delivery on the edge of the square and blasted it to the Cork net.
Niamh McCarthy pointed for Cork but two on the trot from Hegarty and Kielt stretched the Derry lead to four inside eight minutes of the throw in.
Callanan and Buckley began to exert significant influence from half-back however and a brace of points from Maeve McCarthy, four from O’Shea and one more from Katelyn Hickey established that three-point lead at the interval.
Finola Neville and O’Shea stretched the advantage early in the second half but Áine McAllister replied with a brace to keep Derry in touch.
They wouldn’t score again though, while Cork always looked dangerous. Caroline Sugrue was introduced by Paudie Murray and she had an instant impact, grabbing a goal and a point.
The excellent Maeve McCarthy and O’Shea added to the tally before another sub, Sarah Fahy put the icing on the cake with an excellent goal.
SCORERS FOR CORK: R O’Shea 0-6(3fs); M McCarthy 0-4; C Sugrue, S Fahy 1-1 each; N McCarthy, K Hickey, F Neville, L Homan 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR DERRY: M Hegarty 1-1; K Kielt (fs), A McAllister 0-2 each
CORK: A Lee, R Killeen, S Harrington, N Ní Chaoimh, L Lynch, S Buckley, L Callanan, F Neville, J Barry, K Hickey, K McCarthy, M McCarthy, N McCarthy, L Collins. Subs: C Sugrue for Collins (36), L Homan for K McCarthy (49), S Fahy for M McCarthy (49), M Buckley for Hickey (50), J Crowley for Barry (54), H Ryan for O’Shea (58), A Kelleher for Killeen (58), N O’Callaghan for Neville (59)
DERRY: N McQuillan, R Bradley, C McAtamney, S Donaghy, J McGuckin, A Ní Chaiside, B Ní Chaiside, Á McAllister, K Kielt, A Devlin, G McNicholl, A Quinn, M Hegarty, A McCusker, D O’Kane. Subs: E Ní Chaiside for B Ní Chaiside (33), R Cassidy for Quinn (42), N McBride for Kielt (51), N Boylan for O’Kane (56)
REFEREE: J Dermody (Westmeath)