Julia White seals dramatic victory as Cork turn tables on Kilkenny
Rena Buckley secures an 18th All-Ireland senior medal in titanic tussle
Cork 0-10 Kilkenny 0-9
Julia White put two years of injury torment behind her to snatch a dramatic winner as Cork put the disappointment of last year’s Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Final defeat to Kilkenny behind after a titanic tussle laced with talking points.
After weeks of speculation and despite being ruled out officially, Gemma O’Connor started and played the entire 66 minutes or so.
What’s more, the St Finbarr’s legend sent over a towering equaliser as the game moved into injury time.
That looked like being the story of a game but White had the final say to move Cork one clear of Dublin to the top of the roll of honour with 27 titles.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling” said White. “I’ve had a frustrating year in terms of injuries and so on, so I was delighted to have the option of getting on and getting a point.
“I know it was only one point and there were loads more, but it’s definitely a great feeling after being out for the last two years.”
White was effusive in her praise of O’Connor’s contribution, giving a little insight into how important it was for the Leesiders that the 33-year-old was able to line out.
“Oh my God, the point she got was unbelievable. You could never write her off. She was probably in agony for the whole match but she was unbelievable, as usual, and it was worth it, definitely, taking the risk on her.”
Rena Buckley became the first person of either gender in the history of Gaelic games to captain her county to All-Ireland wins at senior level in both codes and moved clear of Briege Corkery in the individual stakes, claiming her 18th All-Ireland senior medal.
It was all about the team for the Inniscarra woman, who concentrated on camogie this year.
“It’s great, it’s absolutely fantastic” said Buckley, talking about the victory rather than any personal achievement. “We came up here last year, we had high expectations, we were going for three-in-a-row and we were kind of taught a lesson by Kilkenny really. They played with huge aggression and they really knew how to score and how to break us down.
“We had to work very hard, we went back early this year and we played Kilkenny in the league final and felt we had a lot of work put in but that day they beat us as well.
“So we really put our shoulder to the wheel, we came up against a very strong Galway team in the semi-final, which was a huge help I think. And thankfully today the fruits of our work were shown on the field.”
Cork were well on top in the first half, Amy O’Connor and Orla Cronin showing extremely well, while Ashling Thompson thundered into the physical exchanges with customary relish.
Kilkenny could get no change from a magnificent Cork rearguard and must have been delighted going in at the break trailing by just 0-5 to 0-2, Amy O’Connor (two) top-scoring and Julie Ann Malone responsible for Kilkenny’s only score.
A response was inevitable from the Noresiders and it came in the third quarter as the game opened up.
Within 10 minutes of the restart they had moved ahead, Meighan Farrell slotting two points, her sister Shelly another and Katie Power and Denise Gaule also finding the target.
Crucially, Orla Cotter stemmed the tide from an important free and it was a fiercely fought tight encounter once more from there to the end.
Cronin and Malone exchanged points before Miriam Walsh registered a brilliant score five minutes from time.
It looked like it might be their day but O’Connor and then White had the final say.
CORK: A Murray; L Treacy, R Buckley, L Coppinger; G O’Connor (0-1), P Mackey, C Sigerson; E O’Sullivan, A Thompson; A O’Connor (0-2), O Cronin (0-3), O Cotter (0-2, frees); H Looney, N McCarthy, K Mackey (0-1).
Subs: L Homan for Looney (52 mins), J White (0-1) for Sigerson (60+1 mins).
KILKENNY: E Kavanagh; C Phelan, C Foley, G Walsh; A Dunphy, A Dalton, D Tobin; M Farrell (0-2), A Farrell; J A Malone (0-2), K Power (0-1), D Gaule (0-2, frees); D Morrissey, M Walsh (0-1), S Farrell (0-1).
Subs: M Quilty for Morrissey (ht), J Reddy for Malone (59 mins).
Referee: O Elliott (Antrim).