Burgess/Duharra clinch sixth consecutive Tipperary title

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Burgess/Duharra clinch sixth consecutive Tipperary title thumbnailChairperson of Tipperary camogie board Bridget Bourke presents the senior camogie cup to the Burgess Duharra joint captains Ciara McKeogh and Elaine King. Pic: Rose Mannion. MT42108RM

BURGESS/DUHARRA brought the county Tipperary senior camogie cup back to the Shannonside village of Newtown for the sixth consecutive year when they saw off a brave challenge from their great rivals Drom & Inch, in the senior final which took place on Saturday last in county camogie pitch at The Ragg.
No one can deny that this team is superb and there's no other team in the county that can come near. While Annacarty made them work hard for their win in the semi-final, they worked hard and when the pressure is on, Duharra can dig deep to see off their opponents. Winning their sixth consecutive title also means that they have equalled Cashel who won six in a row between '86 and '91, Toomevara who also won six in a row between '92 and '97 before Cashel came back to dominate the scene for a further five years 1998 to 2002.
But now it's all about Burgess/Duharra and rightly so too as they have trained and worked hard to reach this point in their club and they look as if they can repeat that dominance and stamina in the years ahead.
It was more heartbreak for Drom who served up a great first half performance to a massive following of fans and they must be left wondering what goes so terribly wrong for them year after year. They never looked as if they could pull any distance ahead and with the wind at their backs, they should have been well in control of the game at the break. The opening half was a tit for tat affair with just one point separating the sides at the break but the champions moved up a gear in the second half and their opponents couldn't handle the pace and skill.
Playing with the aid of a strong breeze, wearing the number eleven for Drom, Niamh Treacy dropped over a point in the opening thirty seconds after she herself was fouled. Within a further forty seconds and wearing the number eleven jersey for Burgess/Duharra, Jenny Grace had the sides level for the first time from a placed ball.
Grace and Treacy traded a further two points from frees over a nine minute period and it looked as if the sides wouldn't be separated.
Amy Kennedy set up her sister Tara for a possible goal in the 12th minute but Drom custodian Caoimhe Bourke did well to deny her and the follow up free was dropped over by Jenny Grace who was deadly accurate from placed balls throughout the game. A Duharra attack from Ciara McKeogh landed to Amy Kennedy who picked out Jenny Grace and she found the uprights with ease to send Duharra into a two point lead mid way through.
Drom fought back though and when Treacy was fouled she sent the resulting free straight between the uprights. The sides were level for the fourth time in the 17th minute through the evergreen Joanne Ryan with Miriam Campion and Karen Purcell involved in the build up.
Duharra drove on by two from the free taking skills of Jenny Grace. At the opposite end, Niamh Treacy was unlucky to have a free come off the uprights where Campion took control dropped to Noirin Kirwan and she sent in and over. Miriam Campion had the sides level with seven minutes to the break with a great point from over her shoulder. The Drom forwards were tested when Siobhan McGrath dropped a ball right in front of a loosely marked Karen Purcell but she was unable to handle the quick skilled Gemma Grace and Drom had missed an opportunity at goal. Jenny Grace finished out the scoring before the break while Niamh Treacy and Joanne Ryan dropped over points but it was the defending champions who led by the narrowest of margins on the break 0-10 to 0-9
Duharra brought on their ace of subs Eimear McDonnell for her first appearance in the championship and while she was settling into play, Jenny Grace (free )and Amy Kennedy widened the gap. Goals went abegging at both ends when Drom had another chance but Mairead Eviston was unlucky with her effort. At the opposite end, Ruth Barry was unlucky too when her ground shot grazed the uprights.
Duharra commenced to pull away in the 40th minute when they struck six points without reply, Amy Kennedy, Jenny Grace (four from frees) and Eimear McDonnell on target and the scored doubled 0-18 to 0-9.
Drom did manage however to pull back a goal with six minutes of normal time remaining when Campion dropped to Kirwan and her ground shot gave Duharra net minder Ciara Holohan no chance.
The response came quick though, a point from Ciardha Maher followed by McDonnell's blast to the Drom net and a Jenny Grace free, all without reply. With time running out, Drom mounted another attack through Joanne Ryan who heavily marked found Niamh Treacy who hand passed the ball to the Duharra net in the first minute of injury time. Treacy and Amy Kennedy finished the scoring and Duharra rejoiced.
Captains' Reaction.
Burgess/Duharra joint captains Ciara McKeogh and Elaine King worked tirelessly throughout the game and both are "honoured" to be part of this winning combination.
The hard working midfielder Ciara McKeogh served up a massive game performance both feeding and defending and shone out so much for her sheer work rate. A worthy choice for sharing the role of captain, she spoke of the honour it was for her to be part of the winning team. "I actually can't believe it, to me it's the sweetest one yet because we had so many doubters this year, we were missing so and so and so and so and so many doubters and then to win so well and so comprehensively, I still can't believe we did it".
Commenting on the game she spoke about their game plan which she said "was to break down where the ball was going and that would curtail the play. However," she continued, "even though we had a game plan, as games go, they usually take on a life of their own and after last week-end (semi-final v Annacarty), we were told to play with freedom and when we do, the best side comes out," she said.
Thinking ahead to the Munster semi-final in two weeks time, McKeogh said that they hadn't thought that far ahead and were only taking one match at a time but she added "no doubt the lads will have a plan worked out for us and we can make a match of it like last year".
A solid defender, Elaine King is one of the toughest and one of the most reliable players that the Duharra team have. "The Jenny Grace frees in the second half and the way the forwards applied the pressure" is what was the winning of the game for Duharra, believes Elaine King. Speaking of how lucky the team are to have subs like Eimear McDonnell who bagged 1-1, King said "we are very lucky to have her. She did very well, she has natural skill and fitness and we were delighted to see her coming on". Looking ahead the joint captain said "every year we try to go on and do that bit more so hopefully we can go further this year. The drive is there to keep winning". For now though Duharra have a Munster semi-final hurdle waiting.
Manager's Reaction.
The quietly spoken Duharra manager Pat Cremin takes it all in his stride and doesn't seem to do pressure at all, on or off the sideline.
Speaking after the game, the new manager complimented the players and all management teams in the past. "It's a credit to everyone," he said. Speaking about the game he said "We were playing into a strong wind and we knew we would be able to control the scoreboard in the first half and just hold Drom, they came at us very strong. There was nothing in it really, it was 50/50 but I was delighted we went in a point ahead at half time because I knew the wind would have an influence on the second half. Our forwards were playing well in the first half but we said to each other at the break, we have to improve from one to nine especially". Improve they did and Pat Cremin said that as Drom are their huge rivals, Duharra have to focus 100% on such a game which they did and got the results. However, it hasn't given him or the players any time to think about the forthcoming Munster semi-final.
A fiercely disappointed Drom & Inch manager Geraldine Kinane feels the "big occasion" got to the players, in particular the younger ones who she said were very nervous. "Duharra were going for their sixth and there was no pressure there whereas we had worked very hard and put pressure on ourselves to get back in there and try and win. We really wanted to win a final. That's not taking from them though," she said "they are a fantastic team. We put in a 100% training and preparing for this day and it hasn't worked out. We had the wind in the opening half and playing against Duharra we really should have been ahead of them by a lot more instead of one point so it was obvious we had it all to do in the second half and then we missed a few chances too but they were the better team no doubt".
But Drom haven't finished the year empty handed claiming the League earlier in the year. So it's back to the drawing board for Drom where they will have to do it all over again for next season.
Player of the match: Ciara McKeogh (Burgess/Duharra).
Scorers: Burgess/Duharra: Jenny Grace (0-16, 0-15 frees), Eimear McDonnell (1-1), Amy Kennedy (0-3), Ciardha Maher (0-1).
Drom & Inch: Niamh Treacy (1-6, 0-5 frees), Noirin Kirwan (1-1), Joanne Ryan (0-2), Miriam Campion (0-1).
BURGESS/DUHARRA: Ciara Holohan, Elaine King, Amanda Egan, Gemma Grace, Katie O'Flaherty, Caoimhe Maher, Aisling Cremin, Ciara McKeogh, Ruth Barry, Shona O'Donoghue, Tara Kennedy, Jenny Grace, Ciardha Maher, Amy Kennedy, Laura Reid. Subs: Eimear McDonald (for K. O'Flaherty, half time), Aine Gillespie (for L. Reid, 51 mins), Una Quigley (for A. Egan, 59 mins).
DROM & INCH: Caoimhe Bourke, Eimear Cahill, Christina Brennan, Lorraine Bourke, Niamh Long, Anne Eviston, Kate Cashman, Noirin Kirwan, Mairead Eviston, Siobhan McGrath, Niamh Treacy, Karen Purcell, Joanne Ryan, Caitriona Shortt, Miriam Campion. Subs: Michelle Woodlock (for C. Shortt, half time), Aoife McGrath (for N. Long, half time), Mary Burke (for A. Eviston, 44 mins), Mairead Butler (for C. Brennan, 49 mins), Patricia McGrath (for S. McGrath, 54 mins).
REFEREE: Mike Ryan (Nenagh).


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