Early second half goals pave the way to St. Killian’s victory

Fr. Davies Cup Final

St. Killian’s Garron Tower 3-5 St. Patrick’s Academy Dungannon 2-6

St Killian’s Garron Tower held off a late rally from St. Patrick’s Academy Dungannon in Toome this morning to collect the Fr. Davies Cup. In a compelling contest the Tower girls looked well on their way to a comfortable victory when they netted twice in the opening five minutes of the second half to go eight in front but they were never able to shake off a Lara Devlin inspired Academy side.

Devlin was at the heart of everything good the Tyrone side produced and was to finish as the game’s top scorer with 1-6 of her side’s 2-6 total and was inconsolable at the end of the game.

Indeed it was St. Patrick’s Academy who made the early running as Lara Devlin pointed them ahead from a free and added another from play in the opening five minutes. St. Killian’s slowly settled however and a couple of points from Niamh Graham had them back on level terms by the 8th minute and it was clear we were in for a tight game.

Flying half forward, Lara Devlin edged the Tyrone girls in front once more from an 11th minute free but Aishling Mulholland replied for the North Antrim girls to level matters for a second time as both sides battled hard for every ball.

St. Killian’s were starting to get a foothold however and full-forward, Niamh McNeill fielded a dropping ball before turning sharply and firing to the net to put them three in front after 13 minutes. The Academy replied immediately as Lara Devlin sent over her and her side’s fourth point but St. Killian’s might have had a second goal soon after.

A long delivery from mid-field deceived the Dungannon defence but keeper Clarinha Ribeiro beat McNeill in the race to the solitary and the ball was cleared to safety.

It looked like being costly as Lara Devlin pointed at the other end to close the gap to the minimum once more but the final score of the half fell to the Tower and McNeill who pointed in the closing minute of the half to leave her side two in front at the break.

                                                                       BLISTERING START

With the wind behind them St. Killian’s made a blistering start to the second half and goals from Niamh McNeill and Clodagh McPeake in the opening five minutes placed them in a strong position as they were now eight points clear.

Their opponents quite simply refused to bend the knee however with Claire Kelly, Grace Daly and the excellent Lara Devlin driving them forward but the Tower defence, marshalled by Una McAlister, Erin McCambridge and the tenacious Lara Haughey stood firm, repelling attack after attack.

Cara O’Boyle’s point at the other end with seven minutes remaining seemed to have ensured there would be no way back for the Tyrone girls but their persistence finally paid off as Lara Devlin found the net from close range with two minutes of normal time remaining.

It was backs to the wall as the game went into injury time and Oilibhia Farley’s goal for the Academy came too late to affect the final result with the Fr. Davies Cup going to a St. Killian’s side who’s greater consistency and overall team play merited the victory.

St. Killian’s: Louise Mulholland, Catherine O’Boyle, Una McAlister, Toni Kerr, Erin McCambridge, Abi McNeill, Ellie-Jo Butler, Lara Haughey, Orlaith McAlister, Monique O’Boyle, Niamh Graham, Cara O’Boyle, Clodagh McPeake, Niamh McNeill, Aishling Mulholland.

St. Patrick’s Academy: Clarinha Ribeiro, Aine Arthur, Ella Carney, Meghan Doherty, Claire Kelly, Beth Jones, Carragh Cullen, Grace Daly, Lauren Jordan, Lara Devlin, Oilibhia Farley, Caitriona Ferran, Emma Holmes, Eva Cullen, Ella Cassidy.

Referee: Sean McGlinchey (Slaughneil)

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