Rebelettes roar back to kill off Cats
CORK took a deep sip of their Barry's tea at half-time in Croke Park yesterday.
Things were looking far from rosy as they trailed Kilkenny by 1-6 to 0-4 in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie final.
The Cats had been firmly in charge. Michelle Quilty got their goal. Denise Gaul was playing with gusto. Ann Dalton too.
Kilkenny's 20-year wait for the O'Duffy Cup looked to be over. But Cork were a different team for the second period.
And they were to take gold for the 25th time on the scoreline of 2-12 to 1-9.
In an electric atmosphere, they were re-born.
Their manager, Paudie Murray, didn't put the transformation down to the milk in the tea. But he said one word summed up the remarkable recovery: "bottle".
"The girls showed great character. And they have shown it all year," said Paudie.
"We were in deep trouble at half-time. But we had a good chat and we dug deep."
The Leeside captain, Anna Geary, the Cork Rose of Tralee, agreed with the boss.
"We spoke at half-time about what we needed to do," she said. "We were making too many mistakes and Kilkenny were getting scores from those mistakes.
"The plan was to reduce the errors and bring out a more attacking game, and thankfully it worked."
Cork had a blistering red-and-white spell when they hit 1-5 without reply. And, on 40 minutes, came the critical goal from the great Jennifer O'Leary.
It was the leadership of players like O'Leary, Rena Buckley, Briege Corkery and Orla Cotter that swung the sliotar in Cork's direction.
Kilkenny foraged hard for equality, but Angela Walsh's injury-time goal sealed it.
Earlier in the day, Down beat Laois in the Premier Junior final, while Limerick overcame Kilkenny in the Intermediate decider.