2020 All-Ireland Club Camogie Championship: Oulart-The Ballagh too strong for Slaughtneil in semi-final

Slaughtneil camogs defeated in Asbourne semi-final

Slaughtneil's hopes of regaining their All-Ireland Senior Club Camogie Championship crown were ended as they fell to a 2-15 to 1-11 semi-final defeat by Oulart-The Ballagh.

The Wexford side stormed into an early eight-point lead and held a commanding 2-10 to 0-6 advantage at half time.

Therese Mellon's goal early in the second half sparked hopes of a Slaughtneil revival in Ashbourne.

But Oulart-The Ballagh held firm and saw the game out to win by seven.

"We knew we were going to be up against it," said Slaughtneil joint-captain Tina Bradley.

"Oulart are well-decorated between club All-Irelands and winning county, and they showed their true class today.

"They started very quickly and that left us with a lot of work to do. We felt like we got a purple patch at the start of the second half, but unfortunately I think the damage was done and they pushed on. They were superior all over the pitch."

Oulart, who claimed their seventh Leinster title last week, set down an early marker as they stormed into an eight-point lead inside the opening eight minutes, raising five white flags before Una Leacy fired low into Jolene Bradley's net after being teed up by Shelley Kehoe.

That left five-in-a-row Ulster champions Slaughtneil with it all to do, but they responded strongly, hitting an unanswered 0-5 as Bradley came to the fore with two frees and a point from play.

Unfortunately for the Derry club, their resurgence was halted when Oulart knocked over their sixth point before notching their second goal, Ursula Jacob's free hitting Louise Dougan's hurl and ending up in Bradley's goal.

The impressive Una Leacy also had the chance to score her second first-half goal but struck the post after a turnover in the Slaughtneil defence.

"We knew what to expect, Slaughtneil are not to be taken for granted," said Oulart's Stacey Kehoe, who will prepare for next week's All-Ireland final by getting married on Friday.

"We got a good start and that makes it easier for everyone to settle and we just continued throughout the game."

Oulart led by 10 at the midway mark but the Ulster champions came out firing with Mellon finding Lauren Sinnott's top corner with a superb shot from distance.

An Orla McNeill score reduced the deficit to six but Oulart were not to be denied, increasing their advantage back to nine with Ursula Jacob and Shelley Kehoe both hitting fine points from play to help leave the score at 2-14 to 1-11 at the second-half water break.

From there, Slaughtneil continued to battle, with Louise Dougan and Tina Bradley both scoring frees before Orla McNeill's point from play.

However, the Derry side - who clinched three successive All-Ireland titles between 2017 and 2019 - were unable to break down a stubborn and well-organised Oulart defence in their search for a goal as the Wexford outfit saw out a deserved seven-point victory with Kehoe twins Shelley and Stacey contributing a combined eight points from play.

Oulart, aiming to land their third title and first since 2015, will face holders Sarsfields of Galway in next week's decider at Nowlan Park as the pandemic-affected 2020 campaign finally reaches its conclusion.

Slaughtneil, however, will have the chance to enter another All-Ireland series when they face Loughgiel in the 2021 Ulster Final in January.

Oulart players celebrate at the final whistle
Oulart-The Ballagh will meet holders Sarsfields of Galway in the Nowlan Park decider
Oulart players celebrate at the final whistle
Sisters Mary and Una Leacy celebrate Oulart's win

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