After a 5 year wait Tara get their hands on the Junior Championship Cup. It took extra time to separate ourselves and Mitchells but it was worth the wait.
Author: Emer Kelly
Date: Sunday 5th October 2014
There was absolutely perfect conditions on Sunday morning in Greenford for the Junior Camogie championship final. Blue skies and crisp October air, set the scene for one of the best games of Camogie witnessed in 2014. Tara of London, who haven't won in 5 long years, were up against John Mitchels of Birmingham, who wanted to relive the victory they had in 2012. Normal time wasnt enough to decide the winner, only after an intense extra time, Taras emerged victorious on a final scoreline of 3-12 to 1-13.
Tara were first to grace the scoreboard in the very first minute of the game when corner forward Mary Fenton collected the ball at half forward turned her player and put it between the posts. Taras conceded a free from the puck out which Mitchels Corner forward, Aoife Murphy put over the bar. She followed up two minutes later by scoring an excellent point from play. Anna Nyhan, was given a chance from a 45 yard free in the 8th minute, which she didn't pass up. Despite some great defending by Tara's Niamh Murphy and Dee Ryan, it was evident that the pressure was getting to the Tara back line. Two frees conceded in a row saw Aoife Murphy put the Birmingham side up by 2, 20 minutes in. Eilish O Neill who was outstanding all day, responded with a great point having caught Emma Dunlea's puck out. Things looked grim for the londeners in the 24th minute when Murphy got through the Tara defence to put the ball in the back of the net. Taras kept their heads high and two minutes later won a free which Orla Tynan converted with ease. Aoife Murphy continued her top form by putting over two points before the break. Mitchels were up by 5 points at half time, on a score line of 1-6 to 4 points.
Coming out in the second half Tara knew that they would have to do something spectacular to turn things around, and that they did. In the 3rd minute of the second half, Joni Traynor cleared the ball down the field and Eilis O Neill was the one who picked it up in the half forward line. O Neill ran through the Mitchels defence and rattled the back of the net. Anna Nyhan made a fantastic run down the pitch two minutes later and popped the ball between the posts putting only a point between the teams. This was now anybody's game. Mitchel's Murphy stepped up to the plate once more and put the ball over the bar to put the margin back to two. It was obvious at this stage how much this meant to both teams when every single player was putting their body on the line. There were some great runs forward by Mitchel's Emma Carroll and Noelle Devlin, but found it hard to covert their scored because of the great defending by Dearbhail o Rourke and Sarah Quinn. Orla Tynan scored a fantastic point in the 20th minute again, only to be responded by Murphy with another point. It was a battle between the two in the final minutes of normal time. Tynan scored a free in with 5 minutes to go to put one between the teams. The last 5 minutes saw some great camogie in which every player on the pitch gave it their all. When Mitchels conceded a free at the half way mark in the last minute, Tynan stepped up to the plate. Against the wind, it was always going to be a tricky one under such pressure. This didn't phase Orla who put the ball between the posts to level the game at full time. This left the final score of normal time 2-8 to 1-11, meaning both teams would have to play another 20 minutes to determine who would be lifting the cup.
With both teams regrouping and refocusing, it was the Tarass who started the first half of additional time the stronger. Within one minute of the referees whistle, a great ball by Sarah Quinn found the hand of the unstoppable ONeill who slotted the ball over the bar with a great long range point.
Mitchels however soon worked the ball back up the field to put the Tara backs under pressure yet again. With some strong defending by Dee Ryan and Joni Traynor, the ball only got as far as the lively Emma Carroll who, again, using her speed soon advanced upon the goal to slot over the equalising point. Both teams knew that every ball would have to be fought for and some great battles ensued in midfield for possession. With Anna Nyhan covering a great amount of ground, the Tara girls were denied from getting an additional score due to some great defending by Rebecca Molloy. Mitchels continued to put pressure on the Tara backs from their puck outs but with the fresh legs of Dearbhail O'Rourke and experience of Joni Traynor and Emer Kelly, they were to stop the Mitchels forwards from scoring again before the end of the ten minutes. And so it ended one point apiece after the first half of additional time.
The next 10 minutes of Camogie was one of the most dramatic ends to a final seen Greenford. Within the first two minutes there was a great attack up the field by Lisa Creamer which ended with Eilis O Neil scoring her second goal of the day, which couldnt have come at a better time for the Tara girls. As always Aoife Murphy, who never stopped working all day, stepped up for Mitchels to score a fantastic point from the half way line. With two points between the teams, Murphy had one thing on her mind, a goal. Having made a fantastic run through the Tara defence, she was pulled down in front of the goal to win a penalty. Emma Carroll stepped up to take the penalty but was denied when both Emma Dunlea and Emer Kelly pulled off a dramatic save. This was the turning point of the game, the ball was cleared up to Gillian Dennehy, who with fresh legs, ran the ball through the Mitchels defence. She found support in Eilish O Neill who rounded her player to score her third goal of the day! This put the Londeners up by 5 with 4 minutes to go and they never looked back. The Birmingham girls never gave up, and Murphy came back down the field to score her 11th score of the day. Orla Tynan put the cherry on top when in the last minute scored an unbelievable free from the sideline, 65 yards out. This was a dramatic finish to a spectacular 80 minutes of camogie. Taras won by 5 points on a score line of 3-12 to 1-13.
Well done to both teams on a fantastic display of camogie and a great ending to the most impressive junior championship seen in years. Etty Kelly, London camogie president, presented the cup to Tara captain Emer Kelly, who was overjoyed to be bringing the cup back to the Tara club after 5 long years. Congratulations to the Tara girls and their coach Alan Smyth, who will be hoping to achieve the same victory next Saturday in Ruislip when they come up against Croydon in the Senior Championship Final.
Thank you to the referee and all the officials in the final and through out year. Thank you to TCG for the use of their pitch. Thank you to the London county board for all their work throughout the year. Lets hope next years Junior championship will give is all as much entertainment as this years