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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 10 August, 2020
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After last week’s thrilling men’s encounter, the pressure was on the country’s finest camogie players to deliver a special All-Ireland Senior Final. And, boy, did they.

Could Wexford secure that elusive three-in-a-row or would Cork win back the O’Duffy Cup for the first time since 2009? We followed all the action from Croke Park.

Send us your thoughts and comments on today’s action. E-mail sinead@thejournal.ie, tweet us @sineadocarroll, find us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.

FULL TIME Wexford 3-13 Cork 3-6

The Premier Junior and Intermediate teams just served up two great games as the curtain-raisers for the main show in Croke Park so hopefully the ladies from Cork and Wexford can keep the trend going from 4pm.

Meath won that Premier Junior contest with a two-point victory over Down, while the Intermediate final ended in a draw so Galway and Derry will have to fight it out again on 29 September.

The Cork team line-out looks like this – just one change from the 15 who beat Galway in the semi-final with Anna Geary being introduced at centre-forward. She has a mammoth task on her hands, facing off against the experienced Mary Leacy:

CORK SC: 1. Aoife Murray (Cloughduv); 2. Jenny Duffy (St. Finbarr’s); 3. Rena Buckley (Inniscarra); 4. Joanne O’Callaghan (Cloughduv); 5. Eimear O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig);  6. Gemma O’Connor (St. Finbarr’s); 7. Pamela Mackey (Douglas); 8. Jenny O’Leary (Barryroe); 9. Orla Cotter (St. Catherine’s); 10. Joanne Casey (Inniscarra); 11. Anna Geary (Milford); 12. Bríege Corkery (Cloughduv); 13. Katríona Mackey (Douglas); 14. Katie Buckley (Mallow); 15. Síle Burns (Rockbán).

And the Wexford team was kept secret until yesterday morning as management waited for news of injuries. Here it is:

WEXFORD SC: 1. Mags Darcy (St. Martins); 2. Claire O’Connor (Rathnure); 3. Catherine O’Loughlin (Monageer Boolavogue); 4. Karen Atkinson (Oulart the Ballagh); 5. Noleen Lambert (St Martins); 6. Mary Leacy (Oulart the Ballagh); 7. Deirdre Codd (Duffry Rovers); 8. Lisa Bolger (St Martins); 9. Kate Kelly (St Ibars Shelmaliers); 10. Michelle O’Leary (Rathnure); 11. Una Leacy (Oulart the Ballagh); 12. Josie Dwyer (Ferns St Aidans); 13. Fiona Rochford (St Annes); 14. Katrina Parrock (St Ibars Shelmaliers); 15. Ursula Jacob (Oulart the Ballagh)

A big worry for Wexford is the fitness of star centre-forward Una Leacy. The young Oulart the Ballagh player has come out onto the field with heavy strapping on her knee. A long-time injury, the 24-year-old limped off the pitch during Wexford’s semi-final over Offaly and how fit she actually is could be a huge factor in today’s game. An ever-present on the score-sheet, Leacy has also been the playmaker for the team’s other impressive forwards Katrina Parrock and Ursula Jacob this year.

President Michael D Higgins has arrived in Croke Park as the main festivities get underway.

There’s much talk about this three-in-a-row and just to show how elusive it has proved in the past: it hasn’t been achieved since Tipperary sealed victory for the third year in a row back in 2001. Cork have attempted it on two occasions in the 11 years since but were stopped by Wexford in 2007 and Galway (in the semi-final) in 2010. Can they get their own back today?

Paddy Power believes it is a step too far for Cork despite the result going their way in this year’s league final. Cork at 15/8 could be a cheeky bet…

The referee today is Kildare’s Alan Lagrue. Hopefully we won’t be talking about the Lilywhite come the final whistle.

A late change for Cork sees Claire Shine named at half-forward. She replaces young Katie Buckley. Bríege Corkery will move into the corner and Síle Burns to full-forward.

We’ve paused for a moment to remember young Ulster Rugby player Nevin Spence, his brother and father who died tragically in a farm accident in Down last night. Impeccable silence.

We have no official attendance numbers but there is one boxer impressed with the “decent crowd”.

Claire Shine gets a welcome to Croke Park and is on the wrong side of a hefty shoulder challenge. Jenny O’Leary points the subsequent free for the opening score of the match.

An effort to equalise from Fiona Rochford trails wide but there’s another opportunity as Lagrue blows against Cork’s full-back Rena Buckley.

Ursula Jacob, however, cannot convert. An uncharacteristic miss from last year’s All-Ireland winning captain.

Cork goalkeeper Aoife Murray gets herself into a bit of bother with a poor touch but is fortunate to win a free out. First, she’s being seen to by the Cork physio.

Wexford 0-1 Cork 0-1

Murray wasn’t so lucky that time. Another poor touch from the Cork keeper saw her come under pressure and eventually concede a free, which Jacob dutifully sticks over the bar.

Wexford 0-2 Cork 0-1

Not to be outdone by Jacob, Katrina Parrock gets her name on the scoresheet with a lovely point from out the field after some good play from Mary Leacy at centre-back.

Wexford 0-2 Cork 0-2

A break in play so Claire O’Connor, corner back for Wexford, gets medical attention for a facial injury. Play resumes with a free for Cork which O’Leary points. Draw game again.

Wexford fail to capitalise on a massive puck-out from Mags Darcy and Cork take advantage but the full-back line stays strong and clear the sliotar.

Wexford 1-2 Cork 0-2 Cork pile on the pressure but Wexford eventually get themselves out of trouble and launch a counter-attack. The ever-dangerous Parrock takes on the Cork defence and buries the ball in the back of Murray’s net. Great finish. That’s 1-1 for the St Ibars Shelmaliers player.

Wexford 1-2 Cork 0-2 The game has picked up pace and the last few minutes have flowed a bit more with fewer frees awarded by Lagrue. Una Leacy puts a shot wide but her sister Mary ensures possession stays with her team after the puck-out.

Wexford 1-3 Cork 0-2 And that’s a four-point lead for Wexford after Kate Kelly takes her point from midfield.

And then Kelly is on hand again to put pressure on Orla Cotter who concedes a free for taking too many steps. Great patch for Wexford at the moment.

Wexford 1-4 Cork 0-2 Rena Buckley gives away another scoreable free and Jacob makes no mistakes. 

Brilliant save from Cork’s goalkeeper as she intercepts a play from the Wexford full-forwards. Disaster averted as there was certainly a goal on there.

Wexford 1-5 Cork 0-2 With 23 minutes gone, Parrock is causing all sorts of difficulties for Cork. The full-forward has just added another point to her personal tally.

Cork desperately need a score to keep themselves in the game.

Wexford 1-5 Cork 1-2 And if to answer that prayer, Bríege Corkery makes a darting run towards the Wexford goal and is pulled down at the edge of the large rectangle. Penalty! Aoife Murray runs up Davy Fitz-style and buries the ball in the back of the net. Game on.

Wexford 1-6 Cork 1-2 But Parrock continues on her player-of-the-match mission and wins a free, which Jacob points. The Cork backs don’t seem to know how to stop her. Buckley has moved off her and Joanne O’Callaghan (wearing number 4) picks her up.

Wexford 1-7 Cork 1-2 After a disputed ’45 is given and scored by Jacob, Wexford stretch their lead once more.

Wexford 1-7 Cork 2-2 Mags Darcy is reeling after a superb bit of play from the Cork full-froward line. Síle Burns rockets the sliotar to the back of the net. There will be six minutes of extra time.

Wexford 1-7 Cork 2-3 And Cork will be the happier team with those extra minutes with a purple patch brining them within a point of the champions.

Darcy will be disappointed with that goal but Cork’s management will be happy with its selection process as Shine (who was a late change to the starting 15) played a major part in the goal.

Wexford 1-7 Cork 2-4 It’s level for the third time. Unbelievably.

Wexford 1-7 Cork 2-4 HALFTIME. Draw game.

Tony O’Regan in the comments section asks: “Could we have another draw for the GAA?” We’ll be playing in Croke Park through the winter if so….

That was an exhilarating first 30 minutes and a great advertisement for the game. A supreme individual performance from Katrina Parrock has been matched by a team effort from the Leeside ladies. We’ll be back after half-time for the rest of the action.

Were those six minutes of injury time telling about Cork’s supreme fitness levels? They seemed to get on top all over the field. Let us know your thoughts. Email me at sinead@thejournal.ie or tweet @sineadocarroll

A quick glance through Twitter at halftime has come up with this doozy from UPC. Oops.

And we’re back. No changes from first glance despite worries that Una Leacy isn’t at full fitness. She failed to put her mark on the first half and isn’t quite the player we’re used to seeing. Although in saying that, Gemma O’Connor had a super 30 minutes. The centre-back/centre-forward battles were always going to be key here.

Wexford 1-7 Cork 2-4 Cork manager Paudie Murray, brother of ‘keeper Aoife, paces the sideline as he attempts to mastermind Cork’s camogie comeback. 3 minutes gone in the second half as Kate Kelly takes a free from the middle of the park. Cork do well to clear but only as far as Lisa Bolger.

Wexford 1-8 Cork 2-4 Easy 20 minute free for Ursula Jacob to put Wexford a point up.

Another big puck-out from All-Star goalie Mags Darcy. Picked up eventually byKate Kelly and a lovely score from the midfielder from 45 yards out.

Wexford 1-9 Cork 2-5 Another save from Mags Darcy and Síle Burns fails to catch on to the rebound. But a 45 is eventually given and put over by O’Learly. A bit of a controversial moment as it looks like the umpire’s original decision to wave the ball wide was correct. Sliotar looked to have come off the post and not Darcy’s hurl though.

Rare mistake from Ursula Jacobs as she takes too many steps before handing the ball off to Una Leacy. Gemma O’Connor drives the ball into the danger zone but full back Catherine O’Loughlin clutches it from the air and clears.

Wexford 1-10 Cork 2-05 Fiona Rochford adds her name to the scorers’ list to put Wexford two points clear.

Wexford 1-10 Cork 2-05 O’Leary lucky to get away with catching the ball too many times but puts the ball wide. Cork retain possession after Darcy’s puck-out. 45 minutes gone.

Wexford 2-10 Cork 3-05 Wow. What a minue. A goal a piece for each side. What a response by Cork to an unfortunate goal.

Wexford 3-10 Cork 3-06 It’s hard to keep up here folks. Four points in it after Ursula Jacob fires (FIRES!) off the ground past Murray for Wexford’s third goal. Cork answer it with a point. Marty tells us it’s not over yet. It surely isn’t.

Wexford 2-10 Cork 3-05 The Wexford goal came as Aoife Murray blocked a high ball but it was rebounded into the net. Then Katríona Mackey with a blistering run beats Mags Darcy with a bullet. 

Wexford 3-11 Cork 3-6 It was Parrock’s first half but Jacob is causing all the problems for Cork. Between them they’ve scored 2-8. Jacob just brought her own personal tally to 1-6 (1-2 from play).

Wexford 3-11 Cork 3-6 With just nine minutes left, there’s five points in it. But Wexford give away a soft free after a handpass is deemed to have been thrown.

Wexford 3-11 Cork 3-6 But O’Leary can’t point the free from a difficult angle.

Chance of another Wexford goal but Murray manages to keep it out with a super save. Keeps her team in it.

Scrappy play down the sideline is stopped by Lagrue, who decides to throw the ball in. Gives Cork an opportunity to introduce Mallow’s Katie Buckley for Síle Burns.

Wexford 3-12 Cork 3-6 Poor effort from the middle of the park by Cork’s Gemma O’Connor as the ball trails wide of the posts. At the other end though, Fiona Rochford receives a ball from Kate Kelly and makes no mistake. Could this be Wexford’s day? Cork will need goals.

Wexford 3-12 Cork 3-6 The clock ticks down and Kelly, brimming with confidence, takes on the Cork defence. Corner back Jenny Duffy gives away a free and gets a yellow card for her response.

Wexford 3-12 Cork 3-6 Lovely passage of play from Wexford but Orla Cotter wins back possession – and a free. Centre back Mary Leacy is all over the subsequent ball and clears the danger.

Wexford 3-12 Cork 3-6 We’re into injury time (camogie matches are 60 minutes long – not 70 minutes as the hurlers play).

Wexford 3-13 Cork 3-6 Rena Buckley does well to keep the ball out of the Cork net but it really should have been a free out. Instead, a 45 is awarded and scored.

FULL TIME Wexford 3-13 Cork 3-6

Wexford are the All-Ireland champions for the third year in a row. Historic occasion for a team who have won four of the last six championships.

The O’Duffy Cup will be handed over to Karen Atkinson. First, she is congratulated by Michael D Higgins on the steps of the Hogan Stand.

And Atkinson accepts the cup on behalf of Wexford, noting the hard fought for three-in-a-row.

It certainly is an achievement – something that eluded the great Cork teams of the 2000′s. They’ll be dancing at the crossroads tonight.

The crowd was estimated to be about 15,000 at Croke Park today. Not sure if that will be seen as a success for the Association but with such a good display by the 30-odd women, hopefully there’ll be more hurling fans making the trip next year.

And that’s it from us today. Congratulations to Wexford and commiserations to Cork, who will certainly be back again. Thanks for joining us. Feel free to leave your analysis in the comments section. Great day for camogie. Oh to be in Loch Garman tonight.

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