Nicole Kelly and Gráinne McGoldrick awarded with camogie's Soaring Stars
Down corner-back Nicole Kelly and Derry’s veteran corner-forward Gráinne McGoldrick were the only Ulster players in the frame when the camogie All-stars and Soaring Stars were announced at Saturday evening’s awards’ ceremony at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin.
The Soaring Stars are awarded to players participating in the Intermediate and Junior competitions where all the Ulster teams play.
Despite a total of eight nominations from the province, only two made it into the team.
Nicole Kelly was consistent in the Down defence all season and actually marked Gráinne McGoldrick in the key group game that basically saw Down into the semi-finals.
McGoldrick was picking up her first award, a decade after she collected a full All-star.
Down lost their semi-final by a single point to eventual champions Westmeath and can feel aggrieved with only one award, particularly given the scoring form of Niamh Mallon all season.
Westmeath led the way with seven players including veteran full-forward Pamela Greville who picked up the Intermediate Player of the Year.
Intermediate runners-up Galway had three players, while the other semi-finalists Tipperary are represented by defenders Laura Shinners and Sabrina Larkin.
The team is completed by Patrice Diggin from All-Ireland Junior champions Kerry who also picked up Junior Player of the year.
Galway’s return to the top of the tree at senior level saw them dominate the All-star team that will fly to North America for an exhibition match next month.
The Tribeswomen received seven awards including Niamh Kilkenny who was voted Player of the Year. All-Ireland runners-up Kilkenny received four awards, with Waterford receiving two and Cork and Limerick completing the line-up with one award each.
Galway manager Cathal Murray was named as Manager of the Year after guiding both the Senior and Intermediate teams to All-Ireland Finals and returning with the Senior team as champions.
2019 All-Stars team sponsored by Liberty Insurance:
Sarah Healy, Shauna Healy and Sarah Dervan (all Galway), Edwina Keane (Kilkenny), Heather Cooney (Galway), Claire Phelan (Kilkenny), Lorraine Bray (Waterford), Aoife Donohue and Niamh Kilkenny (both Galway), Niamh Mulcahy (Limerick), Denise Gaule (Kilkenny), Amy O'Connor (Cork), Michelle Quilty (Kilkenny), Ailish O'Reilly (Galway), Beth Carton (Waterford)
2019 Soaring Stars sponsored by Liberty Insurance
Laura Glynn (Galway), Laura Doherty (Westmeath), Laura Shinners (Tipperary), Nicole Kelly (Down), Fiona Leavy (Westmeath), Sabrina Larkin (Tipperary), Dervla Higgins (Galway), Patrice Diggin (Kerry), Muireann Scally, Mairéad McCormack, Sheila McGrath, Megan Dowdall (all Westmeath), Gráinne McGoldrick (Derry), Pamela Greville (Westmeath), Tara Ruttledge (Galway)
2019 Manager of the Year sponsored by Liberty Insurance
Cathal Murray, Galway
2019 Camogie Association/WGPA Players' Player of the Year sponsored by Liberty Insurance:
Senior Players' Player of the Year: Niamh Kilkenny (Galway)
Intermediate Players' Player of the Year: Pamela Greville (Westmeath)
Junior Players' Player of the Year: Patrice Diggin (Kerry)
All-Ireland Junior quarter-final: Ballymacnab (Armagh) 1-11 Tara (London) 2-7
IT HAS been a busy but successful weekend for Armagh champions Ballymacnab.
Having won their first Ulster club title on Friday evening with a 2-4 to 2-2 win over Banagher, they edged home in Glenavy on Sunday against Tara from London.
But if anyone had said after the first quarter that this game was going to be a nail-biter, not many would have believed it for Ballymacnab looked to be coasting after dominating the play and going into a 1-6 to 0-2 lead.
Eimear Smyth and Aoibhinn O’Hare were troubling the visitors’ defence while the half-back line of Louise Toner and the Crillys pinned Tara back into their own half.
Aoife Crilly’s shot for a point from out on the wing wasn’t properly cleared in the 8th minute and Aoibhinn O’Hare fired home from 20 metres.
There then followed a run of five points in five minutes from three Eimear Smyth frees, Emma McParland and Shelly McArdle.
Claire Ryan had scored Tara’s two points, both from frees, and the only threat coming from Tara seemed to be Loughgiel’s Laura Connolly who had a superb game at midfield.
The game turned however after 20 minutes when another free from Ryan dropped around the goal area and Kerry Sommers swept it home. Connolly added an excellent point and the London side were just three points down at the break, 1-6 to 1-3.
The arrival of sub Tessa Crowley to midfield lifted Tara for the second half.
She was involved in the three scores that brought her side back into contention after Smyth had opened the half with two pointed frees for Ballymacnab.
Crowley pointed frees in the 10th and 19th minute but a third effort in between fell short and again Kerry Sommers was on hand to find the net.
Thus the teams were level 2-5 to 1-8 with 10 minutes remaining.
Smyth, from a free, and Connolly swopped points, but a Tara defender was penalised for a high tackle for an easy point for Smyth with Aoibhinn O’Hara bursting through for a second score.
Tara sub Paula Dunne scored an excellent point in reply, but time ran out for the exiles and Ballymacnab claimed their place in next month’s All-Ireland semi-final by the narrowest of margins.
Ballymacnab: C Toner, M O’Toole, T Maguire, A McParland, L Toner, A Crilly, C Crilly, D McKee, Á Maguire, M McAleavey, M McArdle (0-1), A O'Hare (1-1), E McParland (0-1), E Smyth (0-8, frees) E McKee (1-0).
Subs: L Smith for D McKee (30), M McParland for E Mckee (53), M McCone for L Toner (48), G Gray for A Crilly (62).
Tara: L Hawkes, E Kelly, C Killeen, A Flynn, J Traynor, S mcNicholl, A O’Meara, K O’Keefe, F Morrisey (capt), E Hogan, C Ryan (0-2, frees), L Connolly (0-2), K Sommers (2-0), S Glynn, H Murphy.
Subs: P Dunne (0-1) for K O’Keefe (HT), T Crowley (0-2, frees) for J Traynor (33).
Referee: P McDonnell (Cavan).