Hurling & Camogie

Fyfe savours 'unreal' moment as St Louis, Ballymena secure All-Ireland title

St Louis captain Sarah Fyfe accepts the All-Ireland senior Cup from Sr Máirèad Ní Fhearáin, All-Ireland Schools� Camogie President
St Louis captain Sarah Fyfe accepts the All-Ireland senior Cup from Sr Máirèad Ní Fhearáin, All-Ireland Schools� Camogie President

ST LOUIS Ballymena captain Sarah Fyfe is turning into a serial All-Ireland winner.

The Glenravel centre-forward, along with defender Erin Coulter, wore the same jersey numbers when their club Brídíní Óga won the All-Ireland Junior club title on the first weekend of January and now seven weeks later the pair are celebrating again after helping their school win the Mary Moran Cup in Blanchardstown on Saturday.

Fyfe was also part of the Antrim squad that lifted the All-Ireland minor title in 2021 after a replay with Offaly.

“It just feels so unreal at the moment,” she said moments after lifting the cup for her school.

“Sometimes things just seem to work out well. Last year we were beaten in the first round of the club championship by Cargin when we were expecting to do well. This year there was no expectation and we just kept winning the next match and suddenly we were in an All-Ireland final.

“Today with SLG (St Louis Grammar) seems a long way from getting beaten six weeks ago by St Pat’s (Maghera) in the snow in Ahoghill. We had won the U14s four years ago, but didn’t get a chance at junior because of Covid. So when we lost to Maghera, we thought that was it with school camogie.”

That defeat was in Ulster’s Corn Uan Uladh back in mid-January. St Louis only discovered later in the week that they were into a play-off to go through as Ulster representatives in the Mary Moran Cup.

“It just snowballed from there and we had a great build up to the final over mid-term and you can see from the support that we had down here today that it has caught the interest of everyone around the school.”

Gorey were also having a great season and had taken Leinster titles in both camogie and football over the past few weeks.

“I play football too, and so do a few others on our team. So we were expecting a really tough, physical match. It was that and more. There just was no room to get a strike on the ball; they were in on top of you so quickly and closing you down.

“It took us a while to get to grips with that. The goals near half time helped. We really needed something at that time.”

Gorey had pushed on in the second quarter to establish a 0-7 to 0-3 lead, when Fyfe got a stinging shot in on goal. The goalie got her stick to it, but the ball came back into the path of Ciara O’Boyle who batted it home.

Two minutes later the same player was on hand to hit the net for a second time and St Louis led by 2-3 to 0-7 at the break.

The third quarter was fairly evenly contested before Fyfe moved them seven points clear with a goal in the 52nd minute.

“There wasn’t a scoreboard and I didn’t know how far we were in front, whether it was five or six or seven. But I never thought that we had it won and over the last ten minutes there was a lot of defending to do before we could be sure.”

Her coach, Antrim defender Chloe McShane, concurred.

“I knew we were seven up, but there was always a threat on our goal and our defence was under a lot of pressure throughout. We held out until injury time before we conceded a goal. Thankfully that goal was too late to impact on the result.

“I played in an All-Ireland final when I was a student in St Louis. I know what it feels like to lose a final. Luckily I am back teaching in the school and we got this group together to finish the job my year group couldn’t.”

St Louis could well be heading for a second All-Ireland final. On Sunday the school’s hurlers, winners of the Danske Bank Mageean Cup, take on Leinster champions Coláiste Naomh Cormac from Offaly at Darver in their All-Ireland semi-final.