Eoghan Rua roll back the years to claim All-Ireland junior title

The Eoghan Rua team celebrate after their win over Clanmaurice in the AIB All-Ireland Junior Club Championship final at O'Raghallaighs GAC in Drogheda Picture: Cathal McOscar/Inpho

AIB All-Ireland Junior Camogie Club Championship final: Eoghan Rua (Derry) 1-11 Clanmaurice (Kerry) 1-10

EOGHAN RUA Coleraine wound back the years to collect the AIB All-Ireland Junior camogie title in Drogheda on Saturday. It is just over a decade since many of the same players claimed the second of their back-to-back intermediate titles and that experience and the team’s determination saw them close that gap.

As they had done against Loughgiel in the Ulster club final a month ago, Eoghan Rua turned the screw in the last quarter of an exciting and intense game against 2019 champions Clanmaurice from Kerry.

The dangerous Jackie Horgan put Clanmaurice ahead by 0-9 to 1-5 at the midway point of the second half. But from then until injury-time Eoghan Rua put them under pressure and Gráinne Holmes chipped away with points to build up a five points’ lead with five minutes of playing time left.

Horgan won and pointed a free after 57 minutes. But there was no threat to Coleraine until the second of two added minutes when Horgan burst through for a shot on goal. Grace McMullan got her stick to it, but the back-spin on the ball took it over the line.

Coleraine won McMullan’s puck out and claimed a free. Even though Holmes didn’t find the range from the dead ball, it was fitting that play ended with the Player of the Match the last to strike the sliotar.

Horgan and Patrice Diggins caused Coleraine plenty of bother early in the game, but the Coleraine defence closed tight with Maria Mooney having a huge battle with Horgan.

Their half-back line was steady throughout and Megan Kerr gradually got on top of Diggins at midfield. Up front Katie Mullan’s driving runs and pressure on defenders created panic and resulted in frees that Holmes made count.

Horgan and Diggins opened the scoring for Clanmaurice and Horgan, with two more frees, moved it to 0-4 to 0-2 after 18 minutes, despite points in reply from Shauna Doherty and Roseanna McAleese.

Irish hockey captain Mullan drove through for a fine solo goal in the 23rd minute, taking on the defence and then firing left-handed across the goalie into the net. Although Katie Lynch responded to level from the right wing, two scores from Holmes moved the Ulster champions into a 1-4 to 0-6 interval lead.

Diggins pointed twice in quick succession in the opening minute of the second half, but they only added one more score until the late cameo from Horgan.

Coleraine levelled through Shauna Doherty in the 40th minute, but made their drive for the line with five scores inside five minutes starting with a free from Grainne Holmes after Doherty looked to have won a penalty in the 45th minute.

Mullan quickly tagged on a point and Holmes added three more for a 1-10 to 0-9 lead by the 50th minute. Holmes scored again in the 55th minute before that little bit of late drama.

Eoghan Rua: G McMullan; K Doherty, M Mooney, A Morrison; S Duggan, M Duffy, E McNamee; C McLaughlin, M Kerr; R McAleese (0-1), K Mullan (1-1), C Holly, G Holmes (0-7, 0-2 frees), C McLaughlin, S Doherty (0-2)

Subs: L McIntyre for C McLaughlin (35)

Clanmaurice: A Fitzgerald; E Ryall, N Leen, M Costello; R McCarthy, S Murphy, Á O’Connor; P Diggins (0-3), E Slattery; AM Leen, A Behan, K Lynch (0-1); J Fitzell, J Horgan (1-6, 0-3 frees), B Horan.

Subs: JA O’Keefe for E Slattery (50)

Referee: J McDonagh (Galway)

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