Glenravel battle their way to All-Ireland junior title with win over Knockananna in final
AIB All-Ireland Junior Club Camogie Championship final: Brídíní Óga, Glenravel (Antrim) 2-7 Knockananna (Wicklow) 1-5
Glenravel they didn’t get to play the expansive camogie on Saturday, with the spectacular scores of their semi-final win over Adare largely absent.
Instead Brídíní Óga ground out a result in Kinnegad to take the Phil McBride Cup to Antrim for the first time, just the second club behind Rossa to bring an All-Ireland club camogie title to the county.
The game was a very physical one, producing three yellow cards and several other cautions for robust play; every ball seemed to be contested in rucks. Knockananna enjoyed spells of dominance during the first half, but only led by 0-3 to 0-2 at the break. Once the north Antrim girls got their noses in front early in the second half you felt they had the work-rate and staying power to reach the finish line.
The Brídíní Óga defence was superb throughout, particularly before the break when midfielders Shannagh Goetelen and Aimee Maher created space to run at them. Orla Donnelly followed up her semi-final performance with several key saves and clearances while the full-back line of Aisling Mulholland, Maria McKenna and Jaime Woulahan got in some great blocks in a solid display.
Erin Coulter would have been the choice of many for Player of the Match with her defensive skills and forays into attack. Instead the accolade went to workaholic Laoise McKenna in the midfield engine room alongside captain Kirsty Laverty.
Knockananna were also strong at the back and that meant that the Glenravel attackers didn’t get much space to cause problems. However all six, as well as sub Clodagh McPeake, succeeded in making contributions to what in the end was essentially a solid team victory.
Goetelen placed Maher for the opening score after 90 seconds and Emily Haddon landed a free from 55 metres after six minutes. It took all of 11 minutes for Brídíní Óga to open their account, Eimhear McAleenan’s free fed out by Molly Woulahan to Victoria Edgar to convert.
Although Sarah Byrne made it 0-3 to 0-1 soon after, Knockananna didn’t score for the rest of the half and accumulated six wides with Donnelly to Glenravel’s rescue on a couple of occasions.
A point late in the half from Woulahan rewarded their persistence into the breeze and they turned around just one down. That became two within 90 seconds of the re-start with a point from Ciara Byrne before the winners found their groove with defender Erin Coulter bursting forward to change the game.
Her delivery from the wing in the 35th minute picked out Ashling Millar who found the net at the second attempt. 90 seconds later Coulter placed Aimee Traynor for a point and the norther Antrim side never looked back despite Ciara Byrne's second point soon after.
Molly Woulahan at full forward created the next two scores, winning a free for Eimhear McAleenan to convert and then goaling within 30 seconds when Player of Match Laoise McKenna broke the cover.
With McAleenan adding a free, there was now a two-goal gap entering the last quarter.
Knockananna halved the deficit with a 55th minute goal from Rachel Byrne, who rocketed a free to the net. But shortly after it, teenage substitute Clodagh McPeake, making a return from injury, and McAleenan clipped over points to secure the Phil McBride Cup and a third club camogie title for Ulster this season.
Brídíní Óga: O Donnelly, A Mulholland, M McKenna, J Woulahan, E Coulter, M Mulholland, B Laverty, L McKenna, K Laverty, E McAleenan (0-3, frees), S Fyfe, V Edgar (0-1), A Millar (1-0), M Woulahan (1-1), A Traynor (0-1).
Subs: C McPeake (0-1) for Millar (36); S McDonnell for Traynor (55), N McKay for Edgar (60+2)
Knockananna: K Byrne, E Breslin, Á Byrne, E O’Sullivan, Róisín Byrne, E Hadden (0-1, free), S Goetelen, A Maher (0-1), C Byrne (0-1), R Byrne (1-0 free), L McGrath, E Mulhall, Sinéad Byrne, Sarah Byrne (0-1)
Subs: N Byrne for Sinéad Byrne (57), D Byrne for L McGrath (60 +2), A Mulhall for E Breslin (60 +2)
Referee: Brian Kearney (Kildare)