All-Ireland Schools’ Senior A semi-final
St Brigid’s Loughrea 1-9 Cross and Passion Ballycastle 2-10
BALLYCASTLE’S Cross and Passion Senior camogs are back in the All-Ireland final after holding off a determined second half fight back from St Brigid’s Loughrea in Kilnadeema, Co Galway on Saturday.
The three-in-a-row Ulster champions played into the elements during the first half and emerged at the break with a 2-5 to 0-5 lead. But Loughrea, All-Ireland winners three seasons ago, came back strongly to narrow the gap to three points early in the second half and then down to just two points with ten minutes on the clock.
But CPC were able to survive by drawing on their experience from last season when they came within a couple of points of a national title. Maeve Kelly and Roisin McCormick led with their work-rate and Roisin’s score-taking under pressure, while Ruairí Óg’s Aoife McClafferty was brilliant at the back and Áine Magill and Anna Connolly repeatedly took the pressure off defence with their strong running.
Roisin McCormick opened the scoring with a free in the 4th minute, but then had to step into goals for a penalty. Between them Shauna McKillop and McCormick stopped Sarah Healy’s effort but Katie Gilchrist followed up to grab a point.
Healy then shot three frees in succession before a 10th minute goal from Roisin McCormick tied the teams on 1-1 to 0-4. Áine Magill popped over two excellent points before Aoife Toner snapped up a half-chance with a ground pull to the Loughrea net in the 22nd minute.
Points from Anna Connolly and Ciara Laverty left the Ulster champions with a healthy two goals’ lead at the break.
That was cut on the re-start with two frees from Healy and a point from Niamh McInerney on the wing as CPC failed to raise a flag during the third quarter. Eventually Riana McBride got them going again after good interplay from Áine Magill and Ciara Laverty and within a minute Roisin McCormick tapped over another.
With ten minutes to go a goal from Katie Gilchrist left just two points between the sides but Ballycastle recovered with McCormick delivering an inspirational score on the run from 45 metres and then a second from a free.
Again Healy closed the gap with a free, but McCormick replied with another free, an insurance point that seemed to frustrate their opponents with full back Joanne Daly picking up a straight red card for an off the ball incident with sub Charley McCarry.
There will now be a new name on the All-Ireland trophy with St Angela’s of Waterford surprising Loreto Wexford 3-9 to 2-8 in the other semi-final in Waterford. That final is scheduled to take place on March 2nd.
Cross and Passion : S McKillop, A McClafferty, M McGarry, E McShane, A O’Mullan, M O’Neill, K Laverty, M Kelly, A Lynn, A Magill (0-2), C Laverty (0-1), R McCormick capt (1-5, 0-4 frees), A Connolly (0-1), A Toner (1-0), C Laverty (0-1), R McBride (0-1)
Subs : C McCarry for A Toner
St Brigid’s : E Kelly, C Gilligan, J Daly, R Starr, S Broderick, K Manning, C Starr, A Brennan, A Earls, S Healy (0-7 frees), T Canning, C Farragher, N McInerney (0-1), K Gilchrist (1-1), C Blake
Pics by Eddie McCormick