Words by Joe Shannon
Dublin’s minor A camogie side survived Storm Dennis and a Cork onslaught to start their championship in brilliant fashion at Bray Emmet’s, beating the reigning champions by three points.
The side featured Na Fianna’s Emily Byrne and Elyse Jamieson Murphy, Naomh Fionnbarra’s Kerry Milne and CBC’s Meadhbh Hicks from the start.
After Aisling O’Neill’s early point, goalkeeper Jones had to be alert to deny an instant riposte from Cork.
Dublin had started slightly the better with Ellen Dunphy making an immaculate catch in the conditions while Niamh Comerford added another point from a free.
O’Neill sent another over the bar before Cork retaliated with speed and purpose and set about a storming run from Ciara Irwin who struck low and hard but Jones was again equal to it.
But the rebels were coming in waves and Rebecca Sheehan took advantage of the goalmouth scramble to put the sliotar in the net for a goal. All even.
No matter as the hosts edged back in front when Jamieson Murphy was fouled and Comerford sailed the free over the bar.
Cork equalised again and almost went in front for the first time when Claudie Keane’s shot rattled the upright and bounced back into play. Following the reprieve, Comerford delivers another score from a 45.
In the final minutes of the half, the struggle, like the wind, is unsure which way it is blowing. The visitors do land a point but, in the blink of an eye, the Dublin gears find their groove adding two more points via the steady aim of Comerford and one from play by Katie McDonald for a 0-7 to 1-2 half-time start.
Cork started the second half on the up, equalising the score as Dublin defended their lead desperately.
No sooner had they done so than O’Neill popped up again and added another score from an acute angle; again, the Munster side equalise quickly.
But a new fluency could be detected in the Dublin play. A Lucy Quinn strike went tantalisingly wide after a melee in the goal mouth.
O’Neill then sent a low, fierce shot at the Cork goal which was just parried which Dunphy, running at speed, pounced on to soar the sliotar over the bar. Another Comerford free augmented the tally further.
Cork, sensing the game slipping, were being blocked at each turn with 10 minutes to go, a great block down by Katie McDonald a case in point.
And McDonald was soon to create the crucial goal, dropping in a free into the danger zone where Comerford was on hand to strike into the net. It put six in the difference; Cork gamely pulled two back but Dublin kept out of reach when O’Neill added extra breathing room.
Cork, not to be outdone, claimed two more points one from play and one a free but it was not enough.