Dublin Senior 2 Championship Semi-final. Skerries Harps 0-12. St. Oliver Plunketts 2-3
Skerries Harps senior Camogie team qualified for their first Senior B championship final since 2011 when they overcame a stern challenge in Sunday’s semi-final in Skerries against St. Oliver Plunketts. Although they never reached the heights of their group performances the Skerries girls will be happy to have got past the semi-final stage having failed at that stage for the past three years.
The first half proved to be a tight low-scoring affair with both teams guilty of ceding possession easily to their opposite numbers. The Plunketts defence, in particular, crowded out the speedy Skerries attack who relied on a pointed 45 from Aoife Halpin and free from Nicola Thorne for their only scores of the first quarter. The visitors responded with two scores from their dangerous forward Aoife Bugler, one a free. A point from another of their county players, mid-fielder Laoise Quinn, put Plunketts ahead for the first and only time in the game. Skerries mid-fielder Orlaith Durkan was having a huge influence on the game and broke through for a great point to equalise. Another Thorne free pushed the home team ahead and Durkan added another to leave the home team ahead by two points at the break 0-5 to 0-3.
Skerries dominated the third quarter based hugely on a dominant half back line of Grace Leach (playing her first senior season), Jean Murphy and Ciara Copeland. This provided plenty of possession to the Skerries forwards. Veronica Fay-Watt, introduced late in the first half, was getting on plenty of ball at corner forward and whilst not scoring created opportunity for her colleagues. The Harps kept the scoreboard ticking over with Tara O’Flaherty at wing-forward contributing two excellent scores in a strong second half performance. The pressure also forced the concession of a number of frees by the visiting defence and Thorne (2) and Halpin (1) increased the lead further.
Durkan, continuing her all-action performance, and Eve Kehoe brought the Harps total to 0-12 without Plunketts adding to their interval score. The Harps will be very disappointed to concede two goals with some sloppy defending and lack of concentration in the last three minutes. This made for a nervous finish but they held out for a deserved victory.
Like most semi-finals the key objective is to reach a final with performance secondary and this certainly was the case for Skerries here. The team will know that a much improved performance will be needed for the final against St. Judes in two weeks times.
Scorers for Skerries: Nicola Thorne 0-4(f), Orlaith Durkan 0-3,Tara O’Flaherty and Aoife Halpin(1f,1’45) 0-2 each, Eve Kehoe 0-1.
Harps Team: Niamh Kirby-Sullivan, Kathy Gilmore, Michelle O’Neill, Roisin Leneghan, Grace Leach, Jean Murphy, Ciara Copeland, Aoife Halpin, Orlaith Durkan, Nicola Thorne, Tara O’Flaherty, Niamh Murphy, Catherine Richardson, Eve Kehoe, Ashling Spillane. Subs: Veronica Fay-Watt for Richardson, Val Van Veen for Gilmore, Clodagh Bolger for Spillane.