St Mary’s, Magherafelt take All-Ireland title after victory over Kinsale

St Mary's, Magherafelt celebrate after their win over Kinsale
St Mary's, Magherafelt celebrate after their win over Kinsale
Allianz Junior C Schools’ Camogie Championship final
St Mary’s, Magherafelt 4-13 Kinsale Community School 2-11

AFTER failing to lift the Allianz All-Ireland schools’ Junior title over the first 14 years of its existence, Ulster schools made it three titles in four seasons when St Mary’s, Magherafelt finished strongly in the Dome at the Connacht centre of Excellence yesterday afternoon.

It was a superb final in the excellent indoor arena. Aoibh Shivers picked up the Player of the Match, but it could easily have gone to either of the two main Magherafelt scorers, hat-trick heroine Caoimhe McErlean or Eva Forbes, Laura Scullion or Fay McGuckin in defence, while Kinsale’s Emma McSweeney and Caoimhe O’Donnell were a constant scoring threat.

McSweeney hit two early points to put her side 0-3 to 0-2 ahead, but Eva Forbes levelled before Caoimhe McErlean smashed home the opening goal in the 11th minute.

McSweeney and Caoimhe O’Donnell (two) responded with points to level the game before McErlean hit a quick point and then a goal to put her team back in the lead and St Mary’s went in at the break on top by 2-5 to 0-7.

McSweeney started the second half with a point from a free, but Magherafelt stretched their lead with points from Ella Rafferty, Forbes and McErlean.

Half-time sub Erin Ridgeway then scrambled home a goal for Kinsale after 40 minutes, narrowing the gap to 2-9 to 1-9.

Ten minutes later it was all level when McSweeney fired home an equalising goal and a couple of minutes later she tapped over her seventh point.

Martina Harkin presenting Player of the match to Aoibh Shivers.
Martina Harkin presenting Player of the match to Aoibh Shivers.

Magherafelt looked in trouble but a piece of individual brilliance from Eva Forbes turned the game in their favour.

She caught a puck out from her own goals and ran the length of the pitch to fire over an equaliser.

A couple of minutes later substitute Sarah Gribbin was in the clear to pick up possession and shoot low to the Kinsale net.

Magherafelt now had the momentum and Caoimhe McErlean iced the cake by completing her hat-trick three minutes from time.

St Mary’s scorers C McErlean 3-4, 0-3 frees, S Gribbin 1-0, E Forbes 0-5, E Rafferty 0-3, A Rocks 0-1.

Kinsale scorers E McSweeney 1-7, 6 frees, E Ridgeway 1-0, C O’Donnell 0-3, C Murphy 0-1

St Mary’s G Oliver, G Devlin, F McGuckin, G O’Boyle, A Shivers, L Scullion, S Scullion, A Rocks, O Devlin, L Stewart, E Forbes, E Cullen, C McErlain, E Rafferty, E Chivers.

Subs C Doherty for S Scullion (40), S Gribbin for E Chivers (50)

Kinsale K Cusack, A Dennehy, C Hurley, F O’Riordan, A Kelleher, S Lynch capt., A Halpin, C Kiely, K Harrington, C Murphy, C O’Donnell, R Farley, E McSweeney, L Crowley, H Deasy.

Subs E Ridgeway for K Harrington (h-t), S Galvin for A Dennehy (h-t),

Referee Ciarán Groome (Offaly)