Castlegar 1:07, Ballycran 2:01, Final Here We Come!

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What a performance! The Castlegar Camogie team are in the All Ireland intermediate championship final and are well worth their place. They outclassed the Ulster champions Ballycran on their home patch in Casement Park Belfast on a score line of 1:07 to 2:01.

Cashel started the better with points from Aislinn Connolly (free) and Katie Connell; their fitness levels were one of the most impressive aspects of the drawn game and they used this to their advantage in the replay by playing at high intensity from the very start. Ballycran managed to reel them in with a goal from Brid McGourty, but the Castlegar girls regrouped and deservedly got their noses in front again with two frees from Aislinn Connolly, only to suffer another body blow, losing their lead to another goal. Again they regained the initiative and scored a goal of their own from Maria Corcoran, to lead by two points at half time. In cold damp conditions, scores were very hard to come by. Ballycran piled on the pressure in the second half with Castlegar defending like their lives depended on it and counter attacking whenever possible. One such counter attack stretched their lead to three points. The discipline of the defensive effort was very impressive; Ballycran brought it back to two points with a free from Katherine McGourty, the only point Cashel conceded from a free in the entire game. Again they stretched their lead to three points with another free and it was edge of the seat stuff from there until until the final whistle. But in truth it would have been a huge injustice if Ballycran had gotten the goal they needed to tie the game. Castlegar were head and shoulders the better team, they conceded only three scores and both goals had little to do with defensive lapses or brilliant attacking and more to do with long hopeful balls which the heavy uneven ground made it very hard to clear quickly. Ballycran were a very physical side and had a player sent off at the end. The red card when it came was long overdue (at least a week) and showed how they had totally run out of ideas having to resort to this in order to gain some kind of advantage. It didn’t work though, just like everything else they tried and they can have no complaints. Hopefully injuries won’t be a problem after this bruising encounter.