Corn Uan Uladh Final
St Patrick’s, Maghera 1-11 St Killian’s, Garron Tower 0-4
Sunday 29th January
Brendan McTaggart reports from Fr McGinn Park, Ahoghill
St Pat’s were crowned queens of Ulster on Sunday morning as they saw off the spirited challenge of St Killian’s in Ahoghill. 10 points separated the sides at the end of the hour, thanks largely to a strong second half performance from the Maghera side.
In a quality game where both sides made light of the elements blowing from the lough, it was the St Pat’s girls who proved to be more economical and clinical with the wind at their back. In a first half where The Tower played the majority of the camogie, they will rue not going into the half time interval ahead. They missed a number of frees and but for some superb goalkeeping from Maria Hughes, they could and probably should have been going into the break with a healthy advantage.
As it was however, St Pat’s were a different animal in the second half. With Carla Collins accuracy from frees and Cara Donnelly outstanding on the three-quarter line, they turned the screw and opened a lead that would prove to be unassailable for St Killian’s.
In the balance of play overall, St Pat’s proved to have that little bit more about them than St Killian’s and were well worthy of their victory. Eavanne Martin, Orlaith Hull, Eimear Doherty, Ellen McCormick and Caoimhe Chambers all with eye catching performances while Carla Collins was the attacking heartbeat of the side.
St Killian’s defensively were overworked for large periods of the second half. Abi McNeill was instrumental in the first half, dictating play from the heart of her defence while Orlaith McAllister and Monique O’Boyle were always in the thick of the action for The Tower.
In a low scoring first half, St Killian’s showed their early intent with a point from Kady McNeill. Showing great ball retention despite pressure from the St Pat’s defence before McNeill found the yard she needed to fire over.
Collins responded for St Pat’s, splitting the uprights from a place ball from distance and bringing the sides level but even at that early stage St Killian’s had registered a number of wides.
Cara O’Boyle edged St Killian’s ahead despite coming in for some attention from Erin Kelly but another Collins score (free) and superb point from Orlaith Hull gave St Pat’s the lead for the first time in the game.
Neither side really played with much fluency in the half but St Killian’s were mostly on the front foot. The St Pat’s defence were being well worked but were closing space for the Tower to exploit and limiting St Killian’s time on the ball. Chances came and went for the Tower and in the last ten minutes of the half despite constant pressure, they managed just one point, that coming from captain Monique O’Boyle leaving the sides tied at 0-3 each as the referee blew the short whistle.
It was going to take something special in the second half for St Killian’s to claim their maiden ‘A’ senior camogie title and while they started with all the intensity and desire needed, St Pat’s found another gear.
Scores from Cara Donnelly and Caoimhe Kearney put the Maghera side into a two point lead for the first time but like St Killian’s in the first half, they were having their own problems with their radar in front of the posts.
Carla Collins fired over for her third point of the final, first from play, splitting the posts with an instinctive effort that rivalled any scores that came before or after in the game. Collins would follow that up with a brace of frees as St Pat’s opened a five point lead going into the final quarter.
In truth, St Pat’s could have been further ahead but struggled with the elements. St Killian’s were living off scraps in attack for large periods of the second half and only managed their first score after half time in the 51st minute, a free from Lara Haughey. They did carve open the St Pat’s defence with Ellie Jo Butler and Orlaith McAllister going close in search for a major but the St Pat’s defence were immense.
With five minutes to go and just four between the sides, St Pat’s all but sealed the victory with the only goal of the game. St Killian’s looked to clear the danger from their full back line but Cara Donnelly gathered possession. Breaking free from any tackles, she looked to split the uprights but her effort dropped into the back of the net.
The Maghera side continued to add to their score with Eavanna Martin (free), Collins (free) and substitute MT McCullagh adding gloss to the final score as St Pat’s progress to the All Ireland series.
St Killians: Louise Mulholland; Maeve McAllister, Catherine O’Boyle, Eimhear McMullan; Aisling Mulholland, Abi McNeill, Laura Black; Cara O’Boyle, Lara Haughey; Kady McNeill, Orlaith McAllister, Ellie Jo Butler; Clodagh McPeake, Monique O’Boyle, Orlaith McCurry
Subs: Niamh Graham for EJ Butler (42); Erin McCambridge for E McMullan (59)
Scorers: C O’Boyle 0-1; K McNeill 0-1; M O’Boyle 0-1; L Haughey 0-1 (f)
St Pat’s: Maria Hughes; Eimear Murray, Eimear Doherty, Abi McNeill; Ellen McCormick, Cait Conway, Erin Kelly; Orlaith Hull, Eavanne Martin; Blathnaid McLaughlin, Carla Collins, Cara Donnelly; Ellie Griffin, Caoimhe Chambers, Caoimhe Kearney
Subs: MT McCullagh for B McLaughlin (26)
Scorers: C Collins 0-6 (5f); C Donnelly 1-1; O Hull 0-1; C Kearney 0-1; E Martin 0-1 (f); MT McCullagh 0-1