ST. VINCENT’S and reigning champions St. Martin’s of Wexford must meet again at IT Carlow this Sunday (1.30pm) to decide the destination of the AIB Leinster Senior Club Camogie title for 2019, after playing out an enthralling 0-10 apiece draw at Donaghmore-Ashbourne GAA club in Meath last Sunday.
Both sides had their spells of dominance, with Vincent’s heavily relying on the contribution of free-taker Ali Maguire for their scoring, with the nine of their 10 points from placed balls.
St. Martin’s were reduced to 14 players after a second yellow card for defender Mary Barrett in the 46th minute, but despite some poor shooting in the second half, they held their nerve.
A 54th minute point from Sarah O’Connor provided the equaliser, and although both sides pressed hard for a winner, time ran out, and after an epic battle the sides must live to fight another day.
While St. Martin’s were keen to hold onto Leinster silverware, St. Vincent’s were keen to get back to the top, having last claimed provincial honours in 1998, although reaching the decider in recent years.
Little separated the sides in the opening minutes, with the sides matching each other well score-for-score.
Chloe Foxe opened the St. Martin’s tally with a pointed free inside the opening minute, which was responded to two minutes later, by a fine Aisling Maher point – which turned out to be St. Vincent’s only score from play over the hour.
Scores from Linda Bolger and Sarah O’Connor saw St. Martin’s push two points clear by the sixth minute, but Vin’s continued to press hard.
Fine play from the likes of Áine Fanning, Eimear McCarthy and Maher was rewarded, as Maguire converted her first pointed free of the day to cut the gap to the minimum in the eighth minute.
Scores became harder to come by as defences came to the fore, with Chloe Foxe continuing to prove accurate from placed balls, as St. Martin’s claimed at 0-6 to 0-2 lead by the 20th minute.
Vincent’s badly craved a score, and found the target for the first time in 19 minutes when Maguire converted her second pointed free, after Áine Fanning was fouled.
St. Martin’s pressed hard for a goal but to no avail, with Chloe Foxe firing wide, before a Maguire free at the opposite end cut the gap to two points on the stroke of 30 minutes.
It was frantic in the five and a half minutes of injury-time that followed, with Foxe extending St. Martin’s lead to three points, before Maguire’s fourth pointed free ensured a 0-7 to 0-5 score-line at the break.
St. Martin’s looked hungry on the restart, with Amy Cardiff adding a point after just 70 seconds.
St. Vincent’s were guilty of two wides, before Maguire opened their second half tally in the 40th minute.
Five minutes later she cut the gap to the minimum, after Mary Barrett’s dismissal, and with Chloe Foxe mis-firing and Maguire continuing to prove accurate, St. Vincent’s moved 0-10 to 0-9 ahead with seven and a half minutes left on the clock.
Neither side wanted to give an inch in the closing minutes as both teams battled hard to deliver a win, but O’Connor’s point to level the tie at 0-10 apiece was to be the final score of the match.
St. Martin’s had plenty of chances to deliver a winning score, but came unstuck in front of the posts.
Foxe and O’Connor both had misses, but Vincent’s defended strongly, with Eimear McCarthy making a fine clearance, before Ray Kelly blew full-time.