GAA Football

Dazzling Donaghamoyne deliver 11th Ulster ladies football crown

The Donaghmoyne squad celebrate after winning the Ulster Senior Ladies Football Championship defeating Glenfin in the final at Killyclogher. Picture by Jim Dunne

Ulster Senior Club Championship Final: Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) 1-15 Glenfin (Donegal) 1-8

DONAGHMOYNE produced a stunning second-half performance, inspired by Cathriona McConnell, to clinch their 11th Ulster senior club crown in 15 years at Glenfin’s expense in Saturday’s decider at Killyclogher.

Having missed last season and last year’s final defeat to St Macartan's, McConnell returned to the Donaghmoyne setup at the start of the summer after having her baby daughter earlier this year and produced yet another match-winning performance for the 16 times Monaghan champions.

She finished with nine points that included a breath-taking free from far out along the side line in the second half worthy of any men’s game. She hit all four of her side’s first half points, all from play, as they led 1-4 to 0-4 at half time, 16-year-old Eimear Traynor’s 17th minute goal separating the sides in what was a cagey opening half in difficult conditions for both sides.

Glenfin were very much in the game at half-time despite conceding that goal and when Karen Guthrie scored two quick points to reduce the deficit to the minimum it looked like this game could be heading to the wire.

However, seven unanswered points in a 15 minute period did the damage and while Glenfin rallied with a 53rd minute goal from Yvonne Bonner and hit the post minutes after, they could not closer than four points as their gallant battle to win a first provincial club title fell short.

Donaghmoyne captain Cora Courtney said this title felt just as good as their first back in 2004.

“There is a lot of hurt there form last year. When you do lose we do come back more determined and we showed that this year,” she said.

“There is a lot of heart and a lot of pride in the team this year but also a lot of hurt and that is driving us on and we might not be playing the prettiest of football in Ulster but it is the work rate that is getting us through.

“We lost four ulster finals and that hurt sticks with us more than the wins we have. They hurt us, they still hurt us that is why we want to win each year,” she added.

McConnell opened the scoring in the second minute with a clever point having worked a free short before taking the return to split the posts but that was cancelled out by a Karen Guthrie free on seven minutes.

They edged back in front through McConnell again in the 10th minute in a carbon copy of her first score, playing in a stiff wind, but a point from Yvonne Bonner and a superb long range effort from Katy Herron put Glenfin ahead for the first time, 0-3 to 0-2, at the end of the first quarter.

Just as they had got their noses in front, however, Donaghmoyne struck for a crucial score to stun the Donegal champions when Traynor’s effort, which looked to be going for a point, dropped in to the top corner of Sharon Conaghan’s net.

McConnell sent over a point from play to make amends for an earlier missed free and she added her fourth of the afternoon on half-time after Bonner had made it a two point game again with their first score in 11 minutes.

A Guthrie brace on the resumption reduced the Donaghmoyne lead to the minimum within two minutes.

But Donaghmoyne hit an unanswered five points, three of those from the inspirational McConnell including that wonder effort from out on the sideline in a six minute rout to push them into a six point lead that extended out to eight, 1-11 to 0-6, by the 49th minute with three defenders - Sharon Courtney, Lauren Garland and Hazel Kingham all getting in on the act as well as Louise Kerley.

Bonner got a hand to a ball in from Herron to send it to the net to reduce the gap back to five in the 53rd minute, their first score in 20 minutes, and it could have been back to just two points but the post denied substitute Danielle McGinley after some good work from Bonner.

A Guthrie free left four between them with two minutes of normal time remaining but another three quick-fire points, two from McConnell either side of one from their captain, ended any chance of a nervy finish.

Rosemary Courtney rounded off the victory in injury time to secure the Ulster crown once again.

Donaghmoyne: L Martin; J Geoghegan, F Courtney, L Garland (0-1); H Kingham (0-1), S Courtney (0-1), J Courtney; N Callan, R Courtney (0-1); A Garland, L Kerley (0-1), E Traynor (1-0), C McConnell (0-9, 0-3f), C Courtney (capt) (0-1), S McConnell

Subs: A McElroy for S McConnell (50), N Lynch for Kerley (57), A Keenan for Kingham (62), R Finnegan for A Garland (63)

Glenfin: S Conaghan; D McGlynn, T Martin, M Ward, AM Logue, AM McGlynn, S McGinty; G Houston (capt), K Guthrie (0-4, 0-3f); Kathy Ward, Karen Ward, K Herron (0-1), L Martin; G Glackin, Y Bonner (1-3), K Long

Subs: C McGrath for K Long, M Martin for M Ward (h/t), D McGinley for G Glackin (48)

Referee: G Corrigan (Down)

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