Goals were key Birr pulled off a major shock in the Offaly Senior Camogie Final overcoming Shinrone by a point after a thrilling final in St Brendan’s Park last Saturday.
Offaly Senior Camogie Final
In front of a large crowd, Birr’s claimed their first win in the senior final as they held on bravely at the end to see off the challenge of the two time defending champions.
Leading by a point at the break, 2-4 to 0-9, Birr led by as many as six in the second-half after Dawn Whelehan found the back of the net from close range. As they had done in the first-half, Shinrone finished strongly and while they got the gap down to one, they couldn’t manage to draw level despite having numerous opportunities to at least force a draw.
Birr however were superb at the back, none more so than Orlagh Kirwan who was outstanding at centre-back for the winners. Sheila Sullivan also dominated in the full-back line while Mairead Jennings, who plays in the forward line on the Offaly Senior team, was rock solid in goals.
For Shinrone, Michaela Morkan and Kerry McLeish were the only players to carry a scoring threat while their defence was caught out for the three goals, all of which could have been avoided.
There was little to chose between the sides in the opening ten minutes and they were locked at three points apiece.
Birr jumped into the lead with 2-1 in a matter of minutes with the goals coming from Arlene Watkins and Eimear Mooney. The impressive Mooney also added a point and all that Shinrone could muster by way of a response was a point from Kerry McLeish.
However the defending champions finished the half strongly scoring the last five points to get back within one, three from Kerry McLeish, one from Michelle Davis and one from Michaela Morkan bringing her total for the half to four.
In the opening ten minutes of the second-half, Birr once again built a six point lead with Dawn Whelehan getting the third goal along with points from Arlene Watkins and two from Eimear Mooney.
Shinrone scored just once in this period with Debbie Morkan finding the target leaving them six points down with 20 minutes to go at 3-7 to 0-10.
Incredibly, Birr would not score for the remainder of the game as they dropped deep allowing Shinrone to take control of the game. While the defending champions did add five more points, three from Michaela Morkan and one apiece for Kerry McLeish and Grainne Egan, they fell one short of what they needed to force a draw. They wasted a large number of chances in the final quarter although credit also has to go to the Birr defence that hunted in packs throughout the game putting pressure on Shinrone all over the field.
The final whistle sparked scenes of celebration as Birr were crowned Offaly senior Champions for the first time.
Birr: Mairead Jennings; Danielle Ryan, Clare Ryan, Sheila Sullivan; Deirdre Cashen, Orlagh Kirwan, Katie Bergin; Ciara Ryan, Mairead Dooley; Gillian Irwin, Kady McKenna, Eimear Mooney; Katie Dooley, Rebecca Hoctor, Arlene Watkins. Subs: Dawn Whelehan fro Rebecca Hoctor; Shauna Carroll for Katie Dooley.
Shinrone: Fiona McLeish; Meave Gleeson, Kate Aherne, Sarah Cleary; Leona McLeish, Kelly Sammon, Edel O’Meara; Christine Cleary, Michaela Morkan, Michelle Davis; Caroline Crean, Emer Reynolds, Kerry McLeish. Subs: Debbie Morkan for Emer Reynolds.
Referee: Tony Carroll