Senior 2 Camogie Championship
TYMON on a sunny, Sunday morning. A little slice of Heaven.
But in the steaming climate, even the ducks in the pond were glad of the water break.
The hallowed turf of Faughs. Where Eamonn Rea made his home.
Before the Go-Ahead Senior 2 Camogie Championship contest, there was a minute’s silence to remember Mary Dunne. And a burst of applause.
Like Eamonn at Faughs, Mary gave a lifetime of service to Cuala.
In opposite dugouts were JP Byrne, who played for Dublin in the 1983 All-Ireland minor hurling final. And Tommy O’Mahony, of the hosts, one of the city’s finest gate-keepers.
They both savoured a cracking match. A game that looked polished and parcelled when Cuala went 10 points clear midway through the second half.
Yet, remarkably, Faughs Celtic pulled the sliotar from the fire. Equalising with a wondrous point in stoppage time from Saoirse Mallin.
She was wide right. Beside the M50 sideline. A long way from home. But her connection was perfect, and over she sailed.
“Saoirse showed such courage in taking on that shot with time almost up,” remarked O’Mahony, the Faughs Celtic manager. “It was a fantastic strike.”
Denise Gaule would have been proud of it. And it was a point that would enhance the wall of the Faughs Museum.
O’Mahony was more than pleased to have shared the points.
“It looked like it had gone from us. But the girls showed such character. They were just brilliant.”
The visitors were disappointed to have led the lead slip, but, at the same time, they appreciated travelling back to Dalkey with a valued point.
“Overall, when you reflect on it, leaving here with a draw, against such an iconic club, is not a bad way to start the championship. And with two home games to come, we are still very much in it,” noted Donal Murphy.
“It was a super game. And it was played in a great spirit. Both clubs deserve much credit for producing a match like that in the heat.”
Referee Adam Kelly made admirable use of the advantage rule. He kept it moving.
There was no stopping Sinéad Wylde. She had a blinder. So strong and skilful. At times, she was surrounded by two or three bodies, but she still found a way out of the cul-de-sac.
Cuala possess a diamond of a centre half-back in Hannah O’Dea. So swift and assured in possession.
“On your bike, Hannah,” came the call from ringside.
Cuala led at the interval, 1-6 to 1-5. Faughs Celtic produced the opening goal. A free from the highly-regarded Catherine Costello.
Sinéad Murphy’s dipping drive brought a Cuala goal on the half-hour, and just before half-time, splendid play from O’Dea set up Wylde for another picture point.
Four minutes into the second period came Cuala’s second goal. From their accomplished full-forward Loren Fenlon. The ball came back off the high post. Fenlon watched its every spin and struck the sweetest of volleys. Straight from the Serena Williams songbook.
As the net danced, a voice from the terraces declared: “That’s her tennis class coming out”.
And when Wylde added a third goal on 43 minutes, it was looking very much like game, set and match.
Yet, like all the great champions, Faughs Celtic weren’t bothered by the scoreboard. They kept going. And they were lifted by Ruby Whittaker’s goal.
They almost got another one soon after as Cuala ’keeper Maria Buckley made a smart save to turn Kerrie Finnegan’s shot behind for a ‘45’. But it was Finnegan who pounced amid the heavy traffic on 58 minutes to hit a goal that reduced the deficit to three points.
In the noonday sun, the tussle had reached boiling point. Faughs Celtic were on the front foot. Pouring forward. Every ball counted.
A free from the impressive Isabelle Costello kept them believing.
Then came a point from play from Whittaker, a marvellous young prospect.
Before Mallin’s magnificent golden shot tied up the enchanting duel.
Scorers: Faughs Celtic: K Finnegan, R Whittaker 1-2 each; I Costello 0-5 (5f); C Costello 1-1 (0-1f); H Finnegan 0-2; S Mallin 0-1. Cuala: S Wylde 1-6; L Fenlon 1-5 (0-4f, 0-1p); S Murphy 1-0; M Lewis 0-2.
FAUGHS CELTIC: C Evoy; C Barry, R Seery, J O’Sullivan; A Finnegan, C Costello, M Rock; A McCabe, S Mallin; I Costello, K Finnegan, O Rush; H Eggen, H Finnegan, R Whittaker. Sub: A Connolly.
CUALA: M Buckley; C Byrne, E Moore, S Flannery; A Curraoin, H O’Dea, R Ní Drisceóil; A Nic Ruairc, S Murphy; B Lane, M Lewis, J O’Flynn; S Wylde, L Fenlon, J Sheeran. Subs: L McAlarney, E O’Grady, M Monaghan.
MENTORS – Faughs Celtic: Tommy O’Mahony, David O’Shea, Carol Nolan, Niamh Breen. Cuala: Donal Murphy, JP Byrne, Jessica Lewis, Siobhán Murphy.
WIDES – Faughs Celtic: 4 (2+2); Cuala: 6 (5+1).
REFEREE – Adam Kelly (Lucan Sarsfields).
CONDITIONS: Sun-baked morning.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Sinéad Wylde (Cuala).