Gaule hits winner in another All-Ireland, Cork's regrets and why it's 'extra special' for Kilkenny

3 talking points after Kilkenny’s All-Ireland camogie final win over Cork.

1. Another final defeat for Cork

laura-tracey-dejected Cork’s Laura Tracey dejected. Source: Leah Scholes/INPHO

TO SUFFER BACK-to-back All-Ireland defeats is a difficult experience for a squad to go through. Cork trailed Galway by a point when two late, late points from Orlaith McGrath squeezed them over the line last September. 

11 months on, they were even closer to Kilkenny. Only for the concession of a goal minute before the finish, it’s likely Cork would have been the ones bringing home the O’Duffy Cup. The irony it was the only goal chance they conceded all day. 

Cork left a couple of green flags behind them in the opening period. They left Croke Park with plenty of regrets, not least their failure to trouble the scoreboard for the first 20-odd minutes.

They roared back into the contest, drawing level by half-time as their powerful running game caused huge problems in the Kilkenny defence. The second-half was absorbing. It appeared that Amy O’Connor’s accuracy from frees and the brilliance of Hannah Looney and Katrina Mackey might be the difference.

But Kilkenny struck with 1-1 at the death to consign Cork to another winter of torment.

2. Gaule proves Kilkenny’s saviour again

denise-gaule Kilkenny's Denise Gaule takes a shot at the posts. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Kilkenny and Galway were trading blows late in the 2020 All-Ireland final when Denise Gaule was fouled for a 58th minute penalty. She buried it herself and it proved the difference between the games. 

Sophie Dwyer’s goal that saved Kilkenny today arrived in the same minute as Gaule’s effort two years earlier. This time around Cork pulled themselves level before Gaule stepped up to slot over the free that won the All-Ireland. 

Unusually, Katie Nolan and Gaule alternated as free-takers in the game. Gaule missed her first of the day late in the first-half and Nolan took over, firing the next four. However after she missed one in the closing stages, Gaule stepped up and shot wide in the 57th minute.

She showed remarkable composure to slot over the winner in second-half stoppage-time with the teams deadlocked.

3. Kilkenny celebrate All-Ireland in front of supporters

katie-power-and-grace-walsh-celebrate Kilkenny’s Katie Power and Grace Walsh celebrate with the cup. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Having lost three All-Ireland finals between 2017-19, Kilkenny finally put some demons to rest when they beat Galway in the 2020 decider.

However it arrived during the height of Covid. They lifted the O’Duffy Cup in front of an empty Croke Park, being robbed of the opportunity to soak in the moment with their supporters.

“We didn’t get to celebrate with ye in 2020 but my God we’ll make up for it,” said captain Aoife Prendergast in her speech.

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This time around, they got the full Croke Park experience.

“Don’t get me wrong it was one of the best feelings of my life but there were no supporters here,” reflected manager Brian Dowling. 

“We said it all year, the message was we wanted to win this for Kilkenny people, our families and friends. They didn’t get to celebrate in 2020 with us but they were were in ’17 when they lost, they were there in ’18 when they lost, they were there in ’19 when they lost.

“Last year it was our mission but we didn’t get there. This year it was our mission to win an All-Ireland in front of Kilkenny people. I thought we had a huge crowd today up here supporting us and we’re just so happy to bring the O’Duffy Cup home. 

“It’s extra special, for my own family, for the girls to have their families there, their friends, their club-mates, as I’ve said already the people who have suffered in defeats, they get to celebrate this.

“It’s extra special now to have the crowd there. I thought the support from Kilkenny was huge and we’re delighted that they get to celebrate this with us.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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