Hurling & Camogie

Ciara O'Boyle goals help push St Louis' on to first All-Ireland title

St Louis Ballymena celebrate after their win over Gorey Community School in the Allianz All-Ireland B Camogie final
St Louis Ballymena celebrate after their win over Gorey Community School in the Allianz All-Ireland B Camogie final

Allianz All-Ireland Senior B Camogie final: St Louis, Ballymena 3-8 Gorey Community School 1-10

TWO goals from Ciara O’Boyle in the three minutes before half-time put St Louis Ballymena in charge of this All-Ireland senior B camogie final in Blanchardstown on Saturday and the mid-Antrim school pushed on during the second half to collect their first ever national title.

It took them a while to get to grips with a Gorey side that had won the Leinster football title a week earlier. Gorey brought physicality and athleticism to the game and it wasn’t until the second half that St Louis fully matched them. The Leinster champions only scored once from play during that second half, Siún Murdiff’s strong pull to the net in injury time coming too late to save her team.

Katie Molloy was a towering presence at midfield or central defence for Ballymena, deservedly picking up the Player of the Match accolade, while her Dunloy club-mate Eimear Johnston injected pace up front. The defence as a unit played well, but Eimear McGivern also needed to pull off several key stops, including a brilliant save from Katie Bulger in the opening minutes of the second half. A goal then might well have seen Gorey build a head of steam.

Gorey made the better start and fully deserved to take a lead of 0-6 to 0-2 in the 25th minute when Katie Bulger split the posts for the fourth time.

The first quarter was even enough, Molloy’s superb long range point in the 15th minute making it 0-2 each. However Bulger hit three scores in a row and Mia Davy added another point before Johnston got St Louis’ third score.

The goals from Ciara O'Boyle changed the game. The first in the 27th minute saw the Rasharkin girl on hand to bat to the net when the Gorey goalie could only parry a shot from Sarah Fyfe.

Two minutes later the sliotar was played through to an unmarked Maria Gately, who was dragged to the ground but still managed to get the hand-pass off-loaded for O’Boyle to finish to an empty net. St Louis led by 2-3 to 0-7 at half time and, with the breeze behind them, were in a good place.

Both teams had goal chances in the third quarter, Bulger’s early blast saved by McGivern, while Molloy’s free from half-way went all the way to the net, but was ruled out for square-ball.

The teams twice traded points during the third quarter but then a gap began to open. Anna McKillop and Ciara O'Boyle each pointed before a great run and delivery from Erin Coulter fell invitingly for captain Sarah Fyfe to lift the net. Suddenly St Louis were seven points up with seven minutes left.

Bulger hit back with a point from a free, but McKillop responded with one from a 45 as the game edged into four minutes of added time. A minute passed and Siún Murdiff pulled first time from 10 metres out and hit the net. However there wasn’t enough time left for Gorey to further close the gap.

St Louis: E McGivern; S Shannon, A McKillen, L McGarry; D Dobbin, A O’Donnell, E Coulter; C Griffin, K Molloy (0-1); C Crawford, S Fyfe (1-1), A McKillop (0-3 frees); M Gately, C O’Boyle (2-1), E Johnstone (0-2).

Subs: A Cosgrove for C O’Boyle (52).

Gorey: K Steadmond; M Doran, E Casey, M Bairéad; A Hughes, B McDonald, T O’Connor capt.; R Kinsella, S Murdiff (1-0); K Bolger (0-7, 0-6 frees), M Davy (0-2), R McGonigle (0-1); R Hughes, U Daly-O’Toole, C Browne.

Referee: J Dermody (Westmeath)