O'Regan's dedication to Rebelettes' cause inspires league glory
Cork 1-12 Down 2-6
Amanda O'Regan made yet another match-winning contribution for Cork as the Rebelettes grabbed the Division 2 camogie league title in Clane.
O'Regan is a former All-Ireland-winning captain at senior level for her county, but the 31-year-old has continued to commit to the cause, despite falling out of the favour for the first team.
And her example has clearly rubbed off on the up-and-comers, who combined to produce a strong last-quarter finish to deny Down in a brilliant game at Conneff Park.
O'Regan was typically influential as she weighed in with 1-6 for Cork, while player of the match Caroline Sugrue added 0-3 from play for the winners.
Catherine McGourty and Fionnuala Carr fought hard for Down but they could not deny their rampaging opponents in the closing stages.
For all their toil, the class of O'Regan and Co ultimately made the difference.
Down got off to a dream start with a sixth-minute goal from Nicola Braniff and, with McGourty amongst the points, they led by one at half-time, 1-4 to 0-6.
Brid McGourty and O'Regan exchanged scores early in the second half before goalkeeper Jessica Kavanagh brilliantly saved Catherine McGourty's penalty.
That looked like it could have been a crucial blow for Down, but McGourty showed character in abundance and made up for it with a goal to put Michael McCullough's side clear.
However, they failed to score again, while Cork upped the tempo to a significant degree, probing and asking questions of their opponents with pace and intensity.
There was some fortune on their side, as O'Regan brought the teams level with a goal from a 25th-minute free that was short but dropped just under the crossbar.
That put the wind in the Cork girls' sails and had a degenerative effect on the Down effort.
It was all Cork in the closing stages and, as they stepped on the gas, late points from O'Regan, Laura Treacy and Sugrue gave them the honours.
SCORERS – Cork: A O'Regan 1-7 (1-6fs), C Sugrue 0-3, L Treacy, S O'Neill 0-1 each Down: C McGourty 1-3, N Braniff 1-0, N Mallon 0-2, B McGourty 0-1.
CORK – J Kavanagh; S Buckley, L O'Sullivan, N O'Keeffe; S Harrington, C Foley, S Hayes; L Treacy, H O'Regan; C Sugrue, C Desmond, S O'Neill; J Hennigan, A O'Regan, M Cahalane.
DOWN – M McNally; J Fowler, C McGovern, K Tinnelly; C Rocks, F Carr; E McCormick, A Keown, L McPolin; C McGourty, P Gribben, K McMullan; N Mallon, N Branniff, B McGourty.
REF – R Kelly (Kildare)