Rosina McManus Shield final
St Dominic’s Belfast 8-13 Gleann na Ró 0-1
EXACTLY 60 years ago St Dominic’s Belfast picked up the last of their five Ulster senior Camogie titles. The school last appeared in a final in 1969. Since then no school from the city has reached a top level Ulster final.
Thirteen years ago, St Dominic’s and Coláiste Feirste combined to win the Rosina McManus Shield. Hopes for further success quickly faded and there hasn’t been a foot-print from city schools on Ulster camogie competitions since.
That changed last night under the Watty Graham’s Glen floodlights when a new team from St Dominic’s raced to collected the Rosina McManus senior Shield with an emphatic win over Gleann na Ró, the north Derry amalgamation of Gaelcholáiste Dhoire and St Mary’s Limavady, who had won the title three years ago.
At the start there seemed to be a nervousness about both teams and there were no scores for the first ten minutes. Then joint captain and centre half-back Rachel Mulholland from Gort na Móna took matters into her own hands and raced through the centre to point.
That kick-started St Dominic’s and they went on to dominate the rest of the game. Their middle diamond of Mulholland, Niamh Ritchie, Maeve Devlin and Dervla McAulfield controlled everything despite the best efforts of the north Derry side. The forwards stretched the Gleann na Ró defence, taking some excellent scores and sub Aisling Hyndman came off the bench to shoot 1-2 from her first three possessions.
That opening score from Mulholland was quickly followed by a goal from Niamh Ritchie and within 60 seconds Dervla McAulfield had bagged a second goal. Another goal came via Saorlaith Brennan and St Dominic’s had racked up 3-5 before a good run from Niamh Nig Uiginn was halted on the 20 metres line and Rioghnach Nic Ainmhire popped over the resultant free. It turned out to be Gleann na Ró’s only score of the game.
Just before half-time Mulholland’s effort for a point fell short and Aoideann Boyle forced it over the line to make it 4-6 to 0-1 at the change of ends.
On the re-start there was a goal-rush with Boyle, Mulholland, Rebecca McConville and sub Aisling Hyndman all finding the net inside the opening ten minutes.
In fairness to the losing side, they dropped a few of their stronger players back into defence and that stopped the goals, but there was a series of points during the last 20 minutes as St Dominic’s pulled further away.
The north Derry side did their best to battle against the tide that was driving towards their goals and Rioghnach Nic Ainmhire, Saoirse Ní Chearnaigh, Cáitlín Ní Chearnaigh and Cara Ní Chaollaí all came out of the game with credit.
However St Dominic’s had just far too much in attack with strong players to dominate at the back. With just two players over-age next season, there is every chance that they could make a real fist of the Senior Medallion Shield, the next grade up.
St Dominic’s Una McGowan, Rhianna McKenna, Amy Murray, Grace Holbrook, Ciara Maguire, Raicheal Mulholland (1-3, 0-1 free), Cara Lynch, Maeve Devlin (0-1), Niamh Ritchie (1-0), Sophie Gill-Bradly, Dervla McAufield (1-2), Isla Annett (1-1), Aoideann Boyle (2-0), Rebecca McConville (1-3, 0-1 free) Saorlaith Brennan (1-1)
Subs: Aisling Hyndman (1-2), Sian McManus, Sophia Brown, Aoife Rice, Fionnuala Baker, Cara Lynch, Deirbhile Killyleagh, Demi McGreevy, Aimee McGreevy
Gleann na Ró: Bláithín Ní Ghribín, Brogan Roddy, Saoirse Ní Chearnaigh, Jessica Pursell, Lauren Nic Giolla Domhnaigh, Cáitlín Ní Chearnaigh, Cara Ní Chaollaí capt, Ríoghnach Nic Ainmhire (0-1 free), Saoirse Nic Íomhair, Leah Ní Chonaire, Caoimhe Ní Dhiolún, Ceallagh Mailey, Niamh Nig Uiginn, Caitlin Nig Eochain, Ellen Ní Mhaolain
Subs: Lasairfhíona Nic Ruairí for B Ní Ghribín, B Ní Ghribín for B Roddy
Referee: Sean McGuigan (Slaughtneil)