On a busy day at SETU Carlow, Kilkenny were crowned winners of this year’s Leinster intermediate camogie championship for just the third time in almost 10 years.
Seamus Kelly was involved with the county setup in 2015 when Kilkenny took Leinster, turning success into an All-Ireland tilt in 2016 that featured KCLR analyst Áine Farrell as captain before going on as manager herself to lead the Cats to another Leinster title in 2019 before Covid brought things to a halt in 2020. Carlow and Kilkenny met on that day too in 2019 and with the sides meeting in a championship setting for the first time since, Saturday’s game was highly anticipated, especially on a local level.
With a Kilkenny man in Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere overseeing Carlow and Carlow-man Seamus Kelly overseeing Kilkenny, plus players on both sides sharing college teams and club games, this one had all boxes ticked for a local derby.
Carlow have shown themselves to be goal hungry and capable across the league and championship and Eleanor Tracey held up expectations, hitting the back of the next with just three minutes on the clock, Kilkenny taking a further ten to claw back the gap through Sarah Barcoe and Afton Grace. Trading points for the first half, Kilkenny hit two stoppage time scores through Grace again and Claire Doheny to give themselves a two point cushion at the break, 0-08 to 1-03.
Anyone’s game, or so you may think, but from there, Kilkenny never looked back.
Two minutes into the second half, Sarah Barcoe hit the net for Kilkenny and while Tracey kept the scoreboard ticking over for Kilkenny, the lead would never be caught. Laura Greene, Ellen Gunner and Hannah Scott added a handful of scores for the Cats with Carlow’s opportunities to score from play on home soil severely limited. Two late points Emma Cody and Eleanor Tracey sparked hope of a dramtic comeback but the damage had been done early on, Kilkenny looking full value for the win.
A double salvo from Ellen Gunner in second-half stoppage time ensured another Leinster title on Kilkenny’s roll of honour with the game closing out 1-19 to 1-8. An 11-point cushion may be somewhat flattering to Kilkenny but Carlow will relish having had the chance to be tested by the Division 2B finalists ahead of the start of the All-Ireland series next month.
Listen back: Carlow v Kilkenny
Recap the final in detail and hear from both camps as part of this coming week’s Camán Caint camogie podcast.