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Tuesday 23 July 2019

Ibar's savour shield victory

GAA national Feile na nGael finals in Cork - St. James' pipped in final

Joe O’Brien, the St. James’ captain, receiving his runners-up medal from John Purcell, Chairman of the Cork Féile organising committee. Photograph: George Hatchell
Joe O’Brien, the St. James’ captain, receiving his runners-up medal from John Purcell, Chairman of the Cork Féile organising committee. Photograph: George Hatchell

Five young Wexford teams made memories that will last for a lifetime at the annual national Féile na nGael in Cork last weekend, and there was an added bonus in one case with a merited shield success.

The St. Ibar's/Shelmalier camogie crew collected the Division 3 title for clubs that didn't make it into the cup competition after the group stage, defeating Kilmaley from Clare by 2-3 to 0-6 in Sunday's final in Carrigaline.

Meanwhile, there was bitter disappointment for St. James' in the corresponding Division 3 hurling shield, as they were pipped to the crown by Cork club Watergrasshill in the decider in Ballincollig by 1-4 to 1-3.

The adventure for St. Ibar's/Shelmalier started in Ahavine on Friday when they pipped the local Fr. O'Neill's club from Ballymacoda by 1-2 to 0-4, before suffering their sole loss of the weekend to Galway's Ardrahan on a 2-4 to 2-1 scoreline.

They took on their hosts, Cobh, on Saturday morning, with a 1-3 to 0-4 victory leading to a trip to Castlemartyr and a 2-2 to 0-2 shield quarter-final success against Rockbán from Cork, the home club of ladies' football legend Valerie Mulcahy.

There was a real possibility of outright honours at that stage, and they were just one step away from glory when Sunday morning's semi-final in Carrigaline against another Cork outfit, Tracton, was won by 1-2 to 0-2.

That left the last hurdle to climb a couple of hours later, and a triumphant trip home to a warm welcome in Hollymount began after Clare's Kilmaley were put to the sword by 2-3 to 0-6.

The winning St. Ibar's/Shelmalier team was captained by Grace Harding-Kenny whose sister, Sarah, was the sole Wexford ladies' footballer selected on the National League Division 2 team of the league recently.

Their proud grandfather is Jack Harding, All-Ireland winning Wexford hurling full-forward of 1960.

The St. James' journey started in Ballynoe on Friday, beating Cork's Kilara Og by 2-6 to 1-1 before drawing with Mount Leinster Rangers of Carlow (2-2 to 1-5).

Although they lost to host club St. Catherine's at the same venue on Saturday by 0-6 to 1-1, they returned to winning ways in the shield quarter-final in Killeagh when Cois Fharraige from Galway were beaten by 3-6 to 1-9.

Ballincollig was their base on Sunday, with a thrilling 1-5 to 0-7 semi-final win against famed Cork stronghold Blackrock followed by that agonising 1-4 to 1-3 defeat to Watergrasshill.

Oulart-The Ballagh were the Division 1 hurling representatives, and they started on a high note on Friday by defeating home side Carrigtwohill on a 2-5 to 1-5 scoreline.

Lucan Sarsfields from Dublin put a big dent in their cup hopes though on a 3-8 to 0-3 scoreline, and there was further frustration in Midleton the next morning when the Magpies defeated them by 2-6 to 1-7.

The shield quarter-final in Ballincollig brought a 3-4 to 2-2 win versus Douglas (Cork), but Naas from Kildare proved their masters in Togher on Sunday morning by 1-5 to 1-4.

Kilrush, who shared last year's Division 1 camogie cup crown with Sarsfields of Cork, had a major title to defend, but they were thwarted at the quarter-final stage.

The group started with a 2-1 to 1-4 draw against Inniscarra from Cork in Ballyanley on Friday, before Eire Og Annacarty/Galtee Rovers from Tipperary were edged out by 1-2 to 0-4.

They moved to Ballygarvan on Saturday morning for a 0-4 to 0-2 success against Ballygarvan, but the cup quarter-final against Cork's Eire Og - the eventual champions - in Ballinora was lost by 2-11 to 1-2.

Monageer-Boolavogue, the Division 7 hurling representatives, were based in Kilavullen where they defeated Cork's Carraig na bhFear by 2-7 to 1-6, lost to Hospital-Herbertstown of Limerick by 1-5 to 0-2, and overcame the locals by 3-2 to 0-5.

It was on to Ballyhooly for the cup quarter-final on Saturday afternoon, but Cork's Grenagh prevailed by 3-5 to 0-3.

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