Cluiche Ceannais Corn Eimhear
St Patrick’s, Maghera 2-11 St Louis, Ballymena 3-7
Monday October 25
Brendan McTaggart reports from Pairc Ui Chathain, Portglenone
With three minutes to go at a sun kissed Pairc Ui Chathain, it looked like St Louis long wait for a maiden Corn Eimhear victory was finally over. Ciara Boyle had just converted a ’45 to edge the Ballymena girls into a four point lead and were looking comfortable.
St Pat’s and Carla Collins had other ideas.
As the clock ticked into the last minute of the hour, Collins smashed a ’45 into the back of the St Louis net and sparked a revival. Fittingly, it was Collins who scored the winning score in the second minute of injury time to seal the Maghera schools 12th title and first in 12 years.
It was a heart breaking end for St Louis who looked to have cooked up the perfect storm in the second half. Until Collins’ heroics at the death, they held St Pat’s to just one point after the half time interval with Eimear McGivern outstanding between the posts. A double save before the second half water break looking like the moment they had broken the St Pat’s challenge.
St Patrick’s started the final well and after nine minutes raced into a three point lead. Collins with three points (one free) and Sinead Mellon getting on the score sheet with Anna McKillop the solitary point for St Louis.
The St Louis girls were just finding their feet in the final however and had taken the lead by the 12th minute. McKillop’s second point of the game preceded a goal from Cara Burns. Ciara O’Boyle’s initial effort blocked and Burns controlled superbly before firing to the back of the net.
A brace of frees from Collins was the response from St Pats as they steadied the ship once more but St Louis rocked them once more with their second goal of the game with five minutes of the first half remaining. Boyle once again involved but it was a wonderful piece of ingenuity from Enya Neeson to finish at the back post.
It was the last score of the half for the St Louis girls though as St Pats finished on top. Another pointed free from Collins reduced the deficit to one point before they scored their first goal of the final. Collins with a free from distance dropped short but took a deflection to wrong foot the St Louis defence and land into the back of the net.
Orlaith Hull pointed a free in the third minute of injury time to leave the half time score 1-8 to 2-2 in favour of St Pats.
St Louis moved Ciara O’Boyle further out the field in the second half and it paid dividends as they began to control the middle third. The St Pats challenge was hurt with a couple of early wides after the restart and St Louis had reduced the St Pats lead to the minimum eight minutes into the second half.
A Carla Collins free in the 41st minute got the score board ticking once again but it was their last score for 19 minutes as St Louis took charge and gained momentum.
A brilliant score from an acute angle by McKillop was followed by brilliance from McGivern at the other end of the pitch. First of all denying Sinead Mellon before recovering and getting her hurl to a goal bound effort from Collins moments later.
After the water-break, St Louis took the lead with their third goal of the game. O’Boyle with the pick and drive before unleashing an unstoppable drive towards Rosheen Doherty’s goal. McKillop’s fifth point of the match followed before St Louis had another chance for goal. Enya Neeson with the chance but Rosheen Doherty saved superbly. O’Boyle converted the resulting ’45 as St Louis opened a four point lead.
St Pat’s found another level in the time that remained however with Collins outstanding drive from a ’45 sparking the revival. With the clock ticking into injury time, Bryson levelled the scores before Collins took her tally to 2-8 with the winning score in the second minute of injury time.
The Maghera side now progress to an All-Ireland semi-final.
St Louis: Eimear McGivern; Meabh McVeigh, Orla Kane, Carragh Boyle; Erin Coulterm Dearbhail Dobbin, Casey Crawford; Emily Sharpe, Alicia Boyd; Enya Neeson, Anna McKillop, Maria Gately; Aoife McKenna, Ciara O’Boyle, Cara Burns
Scorers: Anna McKillop 0-5 (1f); Ciara O’Boyle 1-2 (1 ’45); Cara Burns 1-00; Enya Neeson 1-00
St Pat’s: Rosheen Doherty; Mary McNally, Aine McCullagh, Eimer Skelly; Roisin Bryson, Eimear Doherty, Ellen McCormick; Orlaith Hull, Cait Conway; Eimear Murray, Carla Collins, Caoimhe Chambers; Katie Marie Griffin, Cara McCloskey, Sinead Mellon
Scorers: Carla Collins 2-8 (1-5f, 1-00 ’45); Roisin Bryson 0-1; Sinead Mellon 0-1; Orlaith Hull 0-1 (1f)
Referee: Sean McGuigan (Slaughtneil)