Pres pipped after comeback
Coláiste Iosagáin 3-2 Presentation 1-7
Despite a spirited comeback, Presentation Wexford's dream run to the All-Ireland Schools Senior 'B' camogie championship semi-final was ended by Dublin side Coláiste Iosagáin in Hollymount on Friday.
The Wexford school were riding on the crest of a wave after taking the Leinster title last time out but they came up against talented, speedy opponents that they took a little too long to get to grips with.
In truth, the visitors could have been out of sight in the first-half but their composure was seriously lacking in front of the posts. On the contrary, Presentation took their chances in the opening period but when they started to dominate after the break the scores dried up.
Any loss at an All-Ireland semi-final stage is going to hurt, but this one could sting for a while. Presentation conceded three goals but you'd be hard pressed to pick out one mistake in their full-back line all game long.
Aoife Whelan, Alannah Davis and Kaitlyn Whelan-Kinsella were magnificent, easily the most consistent line on the field, and they certainly didn't deserve three goals in the against column; that stat is an absolute travesty considering how they played.
It was all in front of the trio as Coláiste Iosagáin swatted nine wides and dropped two shots short amidst poor decision-making and inaccurate long-range shooting in the first 18 minutes of the contest.
At the other end Presentation were making the most of their chances. The deadly Ailis Neville popped over an early free and added another after the robust, determined Lauren Murphy was fouled.
Little things went against the Pres, some at more important times such as when referee Liz Dempsey halted play for their free when Emma Dempsey was in a great position close to goal. The resulting Neville dead-ball made it 0-3 to nil and she added another when Murphy was again fouled in the 15th minute.
A floaty effort from Gráinne Ní Drisceóil opened the Iosagáin account in the 20th minute but Emma Dempsey responded seconds later at the other end.
Painfully for the hosts, they would go in trailing at the interval after shots from distance from Sinéad De Bhuilde and Ní Drisceóil found the net late in the half (2-1 to 0-5).
Things didn't get much better in the early stages of the second period. De Buhilde pointed and then sent in the ball that Niamh Cogley saved as far as Niamh Nic Cormaic, but the Iosagáin forward pulled home the rebound from close range to make it 3-2 to 0-5.
Things looked bleak for Presentation at this stage but the balance of play started to turn. Neville pointed after Murphy was fouled 45 metres from goal to put five between the sides, and the score galvanized the hosts.
Some small moments prove to be big. Kilkenny official Liz Dempsey stopped the game when Síobhra Nic Aindriú got a tap on the hand under a high ball. It was a rare occasion in which a Presentation player got away into the clear but she was called back and the referee decided to throw-in the ball when at the very least an easy point was in the offing had play continued.
Things looked to open up for substitute Cora Rowe too but a well-oiled Iosagáin defence quickly cut off the angles and she handpassed wide of the goal in the 46th minute. It was all Presentation at this stage and they cut the gap to four with another Neville free after Dempsey was felled.
Somehow the game then went eleven minutes without another score. That was until Neville thundered home a 25-metre free, again after Dempsey was fouled, as the game ticked into stoppage time.
With several injury breaks, plus two substitutions, the Presentation girls might have expected a few minutes to find the leveller. However, only two extra minutes were played and they were unable to create a chance in the time allotted.
Despite the disappointing end to the season for the Seniors, it's clear that a lot of hard work is going into sport in the Presentation, with the camogie success the pinnacle of it. They will play Senior 'A' next season but still have an All-Ireland Junior semi-final to look forward to in the coming weeks.
Presentation Wexford: Niamh Cogley; Aoife Whelan, Alannah Davis, Kaitlyn Whelan-Kinsella; Ciara Bridges, Dúirí McDonald, Fiona Kinsella; Eleanor Hammel, Sinéad Furlong; Ailis Neville (1-6 frees), Lauren Murphy, Aisling Byrne (capt.); Emma Sinnott, Emma Dempsey (0-1), Emma Sweeney. Subs. - Cora Rowe for Cogley (40), also Hannah Hearne, Áine Fitzgerald, Saoirse O'Connor, Alibeth Moran-Curran, Catríona Kinsella, Keeley O'Brien, Andrea Fielding, Jess Howlin, Jessica Sludds, Anna Kearney.
Coláiste Iosagáin: Maria Ní Bhúachalla; Laura Joye, Sadbh Nic Uileagóid, Róisín de Fuitléigh; Sarah Ní Fhionlainn, Sinéad Ní Dhonnchú, Cassie Sultan; Rachel Ní Airtnéide, Michelle Ní Chiardha; Saoirse Mai Nic Aindriú, Sinéad De Bhuilde (1-1), Síobhra Nic Aindriú (capt.); Niamh Nic Cormaic (1-0), Asha Heibe, Gráinne Ní Drisceoil (1-1). Sub. - Sarah Ní Fhaircheallaigh for Nic Cormaic (47).
Referee: Liz Dempsey (Kilkenny).