St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon claim All-Ireland camogie honours
Tesco All-Ireland Senior C final: St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon 1-10 St Dominic's, Cabra (Dublin) 0-7
THE disappointment of losing the All-Ireland D final last March disappeared in the evening twilight in Kingspan Breffni Park as St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon strode to a national title at the next level up.
It has been a remarkable year for the Academy's camogs, taking the Fr Davies Cup and Ulster title in January and then beating Coláiste Mhuire Trim over two games to make the final.
They topped it all on Saturday by leading from pillar to post against a St Dominic's, Cabra side that contained the Couch sisters who have already represented Dublin at adult level.
Indeed when Jody Couch added her fifth point in first half added time to boost her side's chances with wind advantage to come, it looked unlikely that the Academy would hold on to their dream.
In a whirlwind start to the second half the Couch sisters added a point each inside 90 seconds and the gap between the sides was down to 1-6 to 0-7.
Significantly captain Sian Fitzgerald hit back with a point inside a minute and, with the defence really digging in, they frustrated the Dublin side, who failed to score again.
Edendork's Lára Devlin added a point in the 40th minute, ten minutes later Reagan Fay pointed a free and then in the third minute of injury time the player that started the scoring an hour earlier, Francine Farley, completed it to set off wild celebrations in the Tyrone camp.
The second half was not pretty to watch unless you were in Breffni to support the Academy.
They brought an extra player back into defence, closed down the threat of the Couch sisters and added just enough scores to ward off the possibility of a late goal changing the destination of the trophy which has only once before summered in Ulster with St Colm's, Draperstown in 2010.
All the scorers really stepped up to the mark once more to relieve the pressure that the defence has soaked up so well in their last four games.
As a unit they were once more solid in front of the calming influence of Emma Donnelly in goals.
Francine Farley opened the scoring in the fifth minute and Reagan Fay added two frees before Lára Devlin fired in the only goal of the game in the 12th minute.
That provoked a response from Cabra with Jody Couch opening their scoring a minute later.
While Fay responded with two points and Rachel O'Neill another, St Dominic's seemed to be growing into the game and were well placed at 1-6 to 0-5 at the turnover.
However the Academy's defensive set up kicked in, a formation that had seen them survive huge second half pressure against the breeze in both the drawn and replayed semi-finals.
A mighty achievement for this particular team – but also a boost for Ulster Schools who don't get to celebrate too many All-Ireland titles.
St Patrick's Academy: E Donnelly, R Cunningham, B Barker, C Nelis, G Daly, A Begley, B Jones, R Fay (0-5, 0-4 frees), S McGeary, F Farley (0-2), S Fitzgerald (0-1), L Devlin (1-1), A Forker, E Gervin, R O'Neill (0-1)
Sub: A McLaughlin for A Forker.
St Dominic's: C Mulvaney, H Foley-Browne, M Turner, K Hynes, L Pidgeon, R O'Neill, B Donohue, J Couch (0-6, 0-3 frees), L Peppard, N Donlon, G Couch (0-1), E Murphy, A Keogh, S McCarthy, S McManus