An extraordinary Leinster debut for Arklow Rocks as they secure place in provincial final
Late Bardon goal sends Wicklow Intermediate champions through to Junior ‘B’ decider.
Arklow Rocks 1-6
Burren Rangers 2-1
Wicklow Intermediate camogie champions Arklow Rock Parnells made an extraordinary debut in the Leinster Junior ‘B’ camogie championship when they played host to Carlow champions Burren Rangers at Pearse’s Park in Arklow on Saturday last, November 11. The Arklow side, who trailed their Carlow opponents for the entire game from the seventh minute onwards, only got their noses in front one minute into added time when Erin Bardon got the crucial touch in a goalmouth scramble to give her side the lead for the first time in the game as the finishing post approached. And they held on for a thrilling victory by 1-6 to 2-1.
While it’s difficult to be ungrateful for the good fortune to move ahead at just the right moment, in truth it was a break that ARP richly deserved. They dominated the second half, enjoying at least 60 per cent of possession, as they battled to overturn a deficit of two goals at half-time. Burren Rangers had got off to the better start in the opening half and half-forward Lynsey Ward put them in front on the scoreboard with a good point after two minutes. Play was evenly contested at this stage and Ciara Lancaster brought the sides level at 0-1 apiece when she pointed a free. Lady Luck appeared to have a vendetta against the Rocks side and the first instance of this occurred after eight minutes. Rangers’ Emer Deacon shot for a point from the right wing, but the ball dropped short. Ida Ryan appeared to have things in control, but the ball deflected to the net just inside her left post to leave the visitors 1-1 to 0-1 ahead. Rangers were growing in confidence and Helena Cranny, Niamh Cox and Aoife Carroll were prominent as they began to vigorously contest. The Arklow side, through Niamh and Doireann Killoran, Lizzie and Catherine Bourke, Aine Byrne, Ciara Lancaster and Maisie Mellon were more than holding their own, but the scores were not coming. Lady Luck struck another blow coming up to half-time. Rangers’ Sarah Cox was short with a free which dropped into the Rocks goalmouth, but the ball took a deflection off a defender’s hurley and finished in the net. This left Burren Rangers 2-1 to 0-1 ahead at the break. The Rocks began the second half in a very determined fashion. Ciara Lancaster pointed a free after three minutes and when Maisie Mellon batted home the rebound from a Marie O’Neill save in the visitors’ goal, Rocks thought they were back in business. But that old Lady Luck was still in foul mood and the goal was disallowed, presumably for a square infringement. The home side battled on and points from a Ciara Lancaster free and 45 left a goal between the sides as we went into the final quarter. Excitement was building as the Rocks kept up the pressure. In fairness to Burren Rangers, they weren’t exactly surrendering easily as they battled to hold on. Their goalie Marie O’Neill was proving to be a good shot stopper and invariably the ball kept coming back out of defence. The Rocks must have forced up to half a dozen fruitless 45s to no avail, but they kept battling on. Lizzie Bourke pointed from play and when Ciara Lancaster pointed a free the gap was down to the minimum with 10 minutes to go.
Burren Rangers continued to defend heroically and must have felt that they might just hold on as the game moved into four minutes of added time. However, it was then that Lady Luck eventually relented, and Erin Bardon rescued the game with her goal. The Rocks held on for a famous win. It was no more than they deserved. Burren Rangers defended gamely in the second half but failed to add to their half-time score. ARP: Ide Ryan; Aoife Kavanagh, Jessica Mellon, Kelly Somers; Niamh Killoran, Emma Breen, Chloe Dobson; Doireann Killoran, Lizzie Bourke (0-1); Aine Byrne, Catherine Bourke, Ciara Lancaster (0-5, 4f, 45); Aoife O’Brien, Maisie Mellon, Erin Bardon (1-0). Sub: Zara Fennell. Burren Rangers: Marie O’Neill; Edelle Morrissey, Amy Maloney, Helena Cranny; Caoimhe Byrne, Niamh Cox, Aibhe Kiernan; Aoife Carroll, Mia Collier; Sarah Cox (1-0, f), Roisin Connolly, Lynsey Ward (0-1); Sami Salter Bermingham, Eimear Ralleigh, Eimear Deacon (1-0). Referee: Paddy O’Reilly (Kilkenny)