All-Ireland Senior Camgie Championships Quarter-Finals
Offaly 1-13 Dublin 2-9
INSPIRED by the exceptional Elaine Dermody, Offaly ensured a first ever appearance in the semi-finals of the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship by virtue of an outstanding victory over Dublin at Parnell Park last Saturday afternoon.
Drumcullen full-forward and team captain Dermody notched an impressive 1-7, including a vital second half penalty on 38 minutes, as the Faithful county set-up a last four clash against Wexford at Nowlan Park on Saturday week (Cork and Galway meet in the other semi-final).
Dublin, after beating Kilkenny in the qualifiers (after extra-time), began the game with the aid of a stiff breeze and made it tell early on, as a brace of frees from Laura Twomey put them two points to the good by the second minute.
Dermody's fourth minute free got John Troy's side off the mark, before Mairi Moynihan restored the capital side's two-point advantage.
Dublin then netted a very fortunate goal, as Moynihan's long punt gathered pace in the strong wind, and deceived Offaly netminder Eleanor Clendennen, giving Dublin a 1-3 to 0-1 lead. Dermody and Muireann O'Gorman swapped points, before centre half-back Louise O'Hara stretched the Dubs' lead to 1-5 to 0-2 by the end of the first quarter.
Offaly's situation looked even more precarious when Dublin registered three unanswered points through Aisling Carolan, Amy Murphy and Aine Fanning, but thankfully the Faithful women steadied themselves thereafter, and three frees by Dermody had them within five points at the interval.
To no great surprise, Offaly started the second half in the ascendency - with the heavy wind no doubt helping the cause, as it did for Dublin in the opening period).
Some brilliant play early in the second moiety inspired Offaly, as they stretched their sequence of unanswered points to seven.
Siobhan Flannery, set-up by half-time substitute Eimear Mooney, registered well, before Shinrone's Michaela Morkan popped over two points. Dermody was then ice-cool to convert a penalty in the 38th minute, after Arlene Watkins had been fouled. Dermody's fourth goal of the championship series gave Offaly a 1-10 to 1-8 advantage, and though Twomey narrowed the gap, Offaly were defending stoutly, with Marion Crean, Lorraine Keena and Linda Sullivan showing up well in the half-back line.
A scoring spree near the end of normal time (thanks to points by Siobhan Flannery, Michaela Morkan and Arlene Watkins) handed Offaly a seemingly insurmountable advantage going into injury time, but the allocation of six minutes injury time seemed to make them somewhat nervous.
Moynihan clinically smashed home a second goal for the Dubs', an exceptionally well-taken free, and Offaly nerves became frayed. However, Offaly stayed firm and managed to preserve the one-point lead to set-up a semi-final meeting against Wexford, who beat Offaly by five points in the Leinster decider earlier this year.
Scorers - Offaly: E Dermody 1-7 (1-0 pen, 4f, 1 45"), M Morkan 0-3, S Flannery 0-2, A Watkins 0-1.
Dublin: M Moynihan 2-1 (1f), L Twomey 0-2 (2f), L O'Hara, M O'Gorman, A Twomey, A Carolan, A Murphy and A Fanning 0-1 each.
Offaly: Eleanor Clendennen; Karen Brady, Triona McDonald, Sheila Sullivan; Lorraine Keena, Marion Crean, Siobhan Flannery; Fiona Stephens, Tina Hannon, Michaela Morkan, Jean Brady, Aoife Kelly, Elaine Dermody, Arlene Watkins. Subs: Orlagh Kirwan for Hannon and Eimear Mooney for Kelly (HT).
Dublin: Fiona Hayes; Lizzie McSweeney, Grainne Quinn, Elaine O'Meara, Arlene Cushen, Louise O'Hara, Catriona Power, Marie Moynihan, Laura Twomey, Muireann O'Gorman, Sarah Ryan, Alison Twomey, Aisling Carolan, Amy Murphy, Aine Fanning.
Referee: Alan Lagrue (Kildare).