Even with 15 wides in the notebook by the final whistle, Kilkenny were crowned Tesco All-Ireland Minor A Camogie champions on Sunday evening, defeating Cork 2-12 to 0-12 at the LIT Gaelic Grounds, Limerick. Conor McKenna has the details.
A standout performance from Sarah Barcoe with the game’s opening goal early doors with Emma Shortall added a second in the final ten minutes proved the difference as the young Cats dethroned the defending 2018 and 2019 champions (no championship in 2020).
It was the Rebel County who had the better start, as two early Cork points put them into the ascendancy, with Orlaith Mullins and Aimee Morgan finding the target. Barcoe then slotted over Kilkenny’s first score, though it was quickly cancelled out by Ciara Golden’s effort.
Emma Shortall’s effort split the uprights before Barcoe found the net for the game’s opening goal, with a neat finish to put Kilkenny ahead for the first time.
Morgan replied with a decent score for Cork as the Munster side trailed at the first water break, with Kilkenny holding a one-point lead after an exciting opening period.
Kilkenny dominated in the period from the water break to half-time, scoring three unanswered points with Amy Clifford (2) and Barcoe finding the target, as Mike Wall’s side held a 1-5 to 0-4 lead at the interval.
Emma Manogue opened the second half scoring for Kilkenny to stretch the gap to five, though Cork responded with four successive scores to reduce the deficit to the minimum. Claire Doheny and Meadhbh Ring swapped scores as Kilkenny held a 1-7 to 0-9 lead at the second-half water break.
Whatever Wall said to his players at the water break certainly had the required impact as Kilkenny were phenomenal in the final quarter. They played like pure champions and it was a joy to watch as Asha McHardy, Amy Clifford, Barcoe and Shortall added scores to restore Kilkenny’s five-point lead.
Shortall’s 52nd-minute goal all but ended the game as a contest, as it left eight between the sides heading into the final stages and Kilkenny were never going to relinquish that advantage.
Cork fought until the bitter end but it was to little avail as their opponents held out for a six-point win.
This was Kilkenny’s first title at minor level since 2015, though they hold the record for the most All-Ireland minor titles won and this was their seventh success.