Donaghmoyne fall well short of sixth Ladies Football All-Ireland title

Devastation for Donaghmoyne after they were well beaten by All-Ireland SFC champs Kilkerrin-Clonberne of Galway.
Devastation for Donaghmoyne after they were well beaten by All-Ireland SFC champs Kilkerrin-Clonberne of Galway. All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Final: Kilkerrin-Clonberne (Galway) 0-13 Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) 0-7

IT was not to be for Donaghmoyne, a sixth All-Ireland senior club championship remains elusive, as defending champions Kilkerrin-Clonberne made it back-to-back titles with a convincing win in Croke Park on Saturday evening.

The Galway and Connacht champions created history as winners of the first ladies senior club final to be played at GAA Headquarters and from the off on a bitter cold December evening it was clear they were determined to retain their title.

They were five points up within the first half minutes as Donaghmoyne struggled to retain possession and get the ball outside their own half.

Eva Noone (free) opened the scoring in the third minute and in quick succession, Chloe Miskelly, the very impressive Olivia Divilly and captain Louise Ward put Kilkerrin-Clonberne 0-5 to no score ahead. It was a ferocious start and in truth one that Donaghmoyne did not recover from and they could have been further behind early on only for some timely defensive interventions and last gasp defending.

Amy Garland did get Donaghmoyne on the scoreboard in the 12th minute with a point but immediately up the other end, a combination of Donaghmoyne captain Niamh Callan and stalwart Sharon Courtney kept Lynsey Noone from grabbing the game's first goal. Donaghmoyne went close to getting it themselves when Cathriona McConnell's effort came back off the upright and although it fell into Donaghmoyne hands they were unable to get the shot away and Kilkerrin-Clonberne cleared the damaged. Ward got the champions' first score in 12 minutes, raising the white flag, to put four between them again.

Donaghmoyne hit back-to-back points through Cora Courtney to reduce the deficit to two with five minutes of the half remaining but that was to be as close as they would get and three unanswered points through Lynsey Noone and a brace from Divilly gave Kilkerrin-Clonberne a 0-8 to 0-3 half-time lead.

Donaghmoyne's uphill struggle became a battle as a five point deficit turned into a seven points one with Divilly (free) and Miskell on target for the Galway side. They did lose Hannah Noone to the sin bin in the 40th minute but Donaghmoyne could not capitalise on the numerical advantage. McConnell got the Ulster side's fourth point in the 41st minute but Miskell cancelled that out four minutes later. She added another point in the 50th minute before player-of-the-match Divilly got her fifth of the day as the champions looked to be on their way for a second All-Ireland title. Donaghmoyne battled right to the end with points from Courtney sisters, Rosemary (2) and Cora to bring them to within six but ultimately they came up short and will certainly not begrudge worthy winners Kilkerrin-Clonberne.

Kilkerrin-Clonberne: L Murphy; C Costello, S Gormally, C Dunleavy; K Mee, N Ward, H Noone; S Divilly, L Finnegan; O Divilly (0-5, 0-3f), L Ward (0-2), L No one (0-1); E No one (0-1f), A Morrissey, C Miskell (0-4).

Subs: N Divilly for Finnegan (47), S Fahy for Mee (52), M Flanagan for L Noone (53), Caitlin Boyle for Morrissey (58), Caoimhe Boyle for Miskell (59).

Donaghmoyne: L Martin; J Geoghegan, N Callan, A Callan; F Courtney, S Courtney, E Traynor; C Courtney (0-3), E McElroy; A Garland (0-1), R Courtney (0-2), S McConnell; C McConnell (0-1), L Garland, A Burns.

Subs: G Comiskey for A Burns, A McElroy for S McConnell (both 53), D Collier for A Callan, J Courtney for Geoghegan, S Burns for A Garland (all 59).

Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow)

THE All-Ireland Intermediate Championship title went to Longford Slashers who had a 4-11 to 2-8 win over Tipperary side Mullinahone in the curtain-raiser at Croke Park on Saturday.

It's back-to-back All-Ireland final defeats for Mullinahone, who lost the junior final to St Jude's of Dublin, at the start of the year but over the course of the 60 minutes they were second best to an impressive Longford side.

Player-of-the-Match Grace Shannon grabbed two goals but it was captain Aisling Cosgrove who got them off to the best start with a well-finished fourth minute goal and Shannon's speculative effort in the 23rd minute found its way to the back of the net to help her side to a 2-4 to 0-4 half-time lead.

Slashers did not look like losing this, although their wides tally would have been concerning had Mullinahone been closer, and Shannon's second goal was definitive as they opened up a double figures lead. Orla Nevin scored an unstoppable fourth goal for the eventual winners but that was cancelled out in the 52nd minute by Lorraine O'Shea, who finished with 2-4 for Mullinahone, and she added a second four minutes later, but it was too little too late.

The junior final between Naomh Aban (Cork) and Salthill-Knockncarra (Galway) was scheduled for yesterday but was postponed because of the weather.