Tara qualify for Junior Championship final after close encounter with Croydon. Full report to follow.
Author: Emer Kelly
Date: Saturday 21st September 2014
For the second week in a row, Croydon and Tara came head to head in Greenford on Saturday morning in the Junior Camogie championship. With Tara winning the Junior league title the week before, Croydon were hungrier than ever to beat Tara in the junior championship semi final. After a great game last week, the spectators were not left disappointed when one of the best displays in the junior championship this year was witnessed. 60 minutes of cracking camogie wasn't enough to decide the winner and only after extra time was played did the Tara girls emerge victorious.
Croydon put the pressure on the Tara back line very early in the game. In the first two minutes Tara corner back, Emer Kelly was forced to clear the ball out of her own end line to give Croydon their first 45. Croydon mid fielder, Caoilinn O Neill put the sliotar between the posts to put the first score on the board. 5 minutes later, the pressure was still on the Tara back line when corner back, Dee Ryan made an excellent save to give Croydon another 45, which Caoilinn o Neill again, slotted over the bar.
With Croydon two minutes up after 7 minutes, the Tara girls knew they had to start making their own runs forward. Niamh Murphy, Tara full back cleared an excellent ball down to centre forward, Eilish O Neill. O Neill rounded two Croydon defenders and took a great shot which was only millimetres wide. The next ten minutes saw some great attacks from both sides, but because of some excellent defending there were no scores converted.
The Croydon girls were saved more than once in this period by their centre back, Claire Curtain, who made some excellent tackles and clearances. Lisa Creamer was unlucky not to get a goal 5 minutes before the break but Croydon goalie Bridget Hehir stopped it on the line. The Tara girls got their first score 25 minutes into the game when Anna Nyhan put a 45 between the posts.
Croydon responded two minutes later when Tara conceded a free inside their own half. O Neill again stepped up and put another point on the score board for the South Londeners.
This meant Croydon led by two points at the half time break.
Whatever was said to the Tara girls at half time they came out with a new lease of life in the second half. A foul on Emer Kelly in the first 5 minutes saw Joni Traynor place an excellent free into the hand of Tara mid fielder Orla Tynan. Tynan picked out Gillian Dennehy who was making a run towards goal. Dennehy didn't need to think twice and stuck the ball in the back of the net to give Tara the lead for the first time in the game. Croydon responded 5 minutes later with a point to equalise. Half way through the second half croydon won a free from their back line which Caoilinn O Neill dropped into the square. It was caught by the Croydon full forward and struck to the back of the net, giving Tara goalie Emma Dunlea no chance.The Tara girls felt the heat when O Neill pointed her 4th point of the day for the South Londeners to put them three up with 5 minutes to go.
The girls in blue and white never gave up and kept threatening a goal to level the sides. With four minutes to go Anna Nyhan controlled the ball excellently and let off a great pass to Dennehy. Dennehy spotted Mary Fenton in front of the goal and hit a high ball in. Fenton realised she had no time to waste and volleyed the ball, rattling the back of the net.
The great goal by Fenton left the sides level at full time meaning extra time was to decide who went into the championship final.
Coming out in extra time both teams meant business. In the first five minutes Fenton dropped a ball into Dennehy who scored a great goal from the ground. Anna Nyhan scored a point from a 45 2 minutes later meaning the West Londoners were up by 4, after 6 minutes. The Croydon girls tried their best to come back but some excellent defending by Tara full back, Niamh Murphy made it very difficult for them. Just before half time of extra time, Joni Traynor dropped a high ball into the square to Lisa Creamer. Creamer struck it on the ground beating the Croydon goalie meaning the Tara girls were ahead by 7 at the break.
The Croydon girls made some great attacks on goal but were denied by Tara Corner backs, Dee Ryan and Emer Kelly. With 4 minutes to go tara mid fielder, Sarah Quinn cleared a ball down the pitch to substitute June Donnely who added another goal to the Tara score line. Croydon never gave up hope but when Orla Tynan scored a point for Tara in the last 2 minutes it was obvious there was no coming back for them. The full time score after extra time was 5-4 to 1-5, it was a fantastic display of camogie from both sides. One thing that this game proved was the standard of junior Camogie in London is improving year on year.
Well done to the Taras who will face John Mitchells in the championship final on Sunday the 6th of October in Greenford.