Tight encounter predicted in Fr Davies' Cup final as St Killian's and St Patrick's Academy clash
Fr Davies' Cup final: Saturday January 11 at 1pm in Ahoghill: St Killian's, Garron Tower v St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon
ST PATRICK'S Academy, Dungannon's senior camogie team is on a roll at the moment.
This time last year they upset the odds to clinch the Senior Medallion Shield at the expense of Sacred Heart, Newry, 4-5 to 2-6, helped by two goals and a point from substitute Lára Devlin. The Academy went on contest the All-Ireland final where they lost narrowly to Coláiste Mhuire Ennis.
Moving up a grade for this season they surprised competition favourites Our Lady's and St Patrick's, Knock in the first game and have reached the final with just the one blemish – a two points' loss in early December to today's opponents St Killian's, Garron Tower in their last league game.
However later the same week they bounced back to defeat St Patrick's, Keady in the semi-final by 7-16 to 4-7 after leading by an impressive 5-9 to 0-2 at the break.
Lára Devlin was in superb form that afternoon landing 2-7 from play while Eglish midfielder Reagan Fay dominated the middle third.
In total the Academy will start this Fr Davies' Cup final with eleven of the team that started the All-Ireland final against Ennis in April, including Fay and goalie Emma Donnelly who were both selected on the Ulster Schools' All-stars' team in October; in Emma's case it is a second award.
St Killian's also have two All-stars on their team with Caoimhe McNaughton picking up her second award and midfielder Shauna McDonnell her first, last term.
This pair have been key figures as St Killian's reached the final for the fourth time in six seasons.
The Tower won the first two of that sequence in 2014 and 2016, but lost the 2018 final to St Catherine's, Armagh whom they defeated 5-14 to 0-10 in this year's semi-final on the same day Dungannon saw off Keady.
Both McNaughton and McDonnell played in the final two years ago as did Beth McAuley, Orla Donnelly, Maria McKenna and Anna McNeill, while Donnelly captained the school's Junior team to a narrow defeat in the Liatroim Fontenoys' Cup final back in November.
The seniors are unbeaten through the competition, although the semi-final against St Catherine's was their only clear-cut victory.
Indeed there was little in the league meeting against the Academy with the Tyrone girls putting in a strong second half to leave the Antrim side hanging on at the end.
Both teams are very competitive and a number of players from have represented their county in football with Niamh McKay, Shauna McDonnell and Orla Donnelly winning Antrim Intermediate football medals with their club Glenravel while Sian Fitzgerald, Riona Cunningham and Aisling McLaughlin won All-Ireland football medals with the Academy last year.
Interestingly the schools met in the Fr Davies' Junior Cup final (under 14s) last May and St Killian's won by 3-5 to 2-6.
This senior final could be just as tight.
St Killian's: M Mooney, O Donnelly, J Woulahan, Á Quinn, C O'Hara, C McNaughton, B McAuley, S McDonnell, A McNeill, N McKay, M McKenna, S Woodhouse, A McPeake, A Delargy, E Quinn.
Subs: M O'Boyle, E McKinley, N Graham, L Haughey, H McCann, C O'Boyle, R Black.
Academy: E Donnelly, R Cunningham, B Barker, C Nelis, G Daly, A Begley, B Jones, R Fay, S Mcgeary, F Farley, S Fitzgerald, L Devlin, A Forker, E Gervin, R O'Neill.
Subs: A Mc Laughlin, E McLaughlin, Á Ferran, Á Fitzgerald, E Carney, C Ferran, E Conway, A McAteer, C McErlean, C Kelly, B Moohan
Rosina McManus Shield final: Gleann na Ró 7-1 Dean Maguirc, Carrickmore 1-5
THE difference between the two teams in yesterday's Rosina McManus Shield final in Ballinascreen was that Gleann na Ró converted their periods of supremacy into goals while Dean Maguirc College, Carrickmore struggled for scores and ended up with just points in reply.
Nevertheless this was a good final with the novel pairing showing that they will both make an impression on Ulster Schools' camogie in the years to come.
Gleann na Ró, the north Derry combination team that draws players from Gaelcholáiste Dhoire in Dungiven and nearby St Mary's, Limavady, had strong performances from joint captains Clíodhna Ní Mhianáin and Caitlin Cassidy as well as Seana McLaughlin, while Keely Ní Bhrolcháin's four goals had a big say in the destination of the Shield.
Carrickmore, fielding at senior level for the first time, had Blathnait Kerr and Shona McKenna strong in the half-back line. Both midfielders got through a mountain of work and contributed all their scores while up front, despite the best efforts of Aoibhinn Daly, the Gleann na Ró defence dominated.
Keely Ní Bhrolcháin struck for the opening goal after 12 minutes, but Leah McGuigan responded with a point and Carrickmore were going pretty well until goals in the 24th and 26th minutes left them a hill to climb.
Caitlin Cassidy struck the first, a bullet from 35 metres, and when Seana McLaughlin's shot was saved by Rachel Devine, Saoirse Nic Íomhaire followed through for the goal.
Although Meaghan Clarke responded with two points before the break, Carrickmore still trailed by 3-1 to 0-3 at the turnover.
Dean Maguirc College dominated the third quarter, but didn't score.
Then Seana McLaughlin broke the siege with a goal at the other end and her side regained their control of the game with Keely Ní Bhrolcháin grabbing a late hat-trick of goals to close the door on the Tyrone side who had a late goal from Meaghan Clarke direct from a free.
Gleann na Ró: R Nic Ainmhire, C Smith, C Ferris, C Ní Chearnaigh, Á Ní Mhuirí, C Ní Mhianáin, S Ní Chearnaigh, C Cassidy (1-1), C Ní Chaollaí, C Ní Dhiolún, S McLaughlin (1-0), C McGuckin, L Ní Chonaire, K Ní Bhrolcháin (4-0), S Nic Iomhaire (1-0).
Subs: R Nic Fealoin for S Nic Íomhaire (57), A Kealey for L Ní Chonaire (60).
Dean Maguirc : R Devine, E Munroe, R Kerr, M Clarke, B Kerr, M O'Hanlon, S McKenna, M Clarke (1-4, 1-0 free), L McGuigan (0-1), A Kerr, A Daly, C Donnelly, N Tracey, M Daly, N Clarke.
Subs: C Clarke for E Munroe (22), M Kerr for M Clarke (28), N Donnelly for C Kerr (HT), M Clarke for M O'Hanlon (38), A Gumley for N Tracey (53)
Referee : Sean McGuigan (Derry)