St Pat’s edge St Louis in extra time thriller

Ulster Colleges Camogie – Corn Uan Uladh Final

St Pat’s, Maghera 3-6 St Louis, Ballymena 1-7

Friday January 17

Brendan McTaggart reports from Páirc Naomh Pádraig, An Lub

It took extra time under the floodlights in south Derry on a bitterly cold Friday evening but the large crowd in attendance at The Loup were treated to a match of top class camogie.  It took extra time to separate the sides and goals from Clare Gunning and Blathnaid McLaughlin put St Pat’s Maghera in control in the first period of extra time and they proved to be decisive. 

There wasn’t much between the two sides and indeed after 20 minutes, it looked like St Louis would finally end their long wait for another senior camogie title.  They had the upperhand in those opening exchanges with Eimear McMullan, Brigid Delargy and Caoimhe Molloy all prominent but for all their pressure, they didn’t transfer that into points on the board.

St Pat’s maghera celebrate their victory over St Louis in Friday night’s final at the Loop.

St Pat’s dominated the closing stages of the first half and were denied a goal by the width of the crossbar and the brilliance of Orlagh Convery in nets.  McCullagh’s effort coming back off the woodwork before Convery denied Gunning from close range.

Both defences were immense in the first half with Brigid Delargy for St Louis a rock in the full back line while Laura Scullion and Aimee Lennon excelled for a St Pat’s defence who performed heroically in the face of a constant barrage of pressure from St Louis in those opening 20 minutes.

St Pat’s fought back and trailed by just two points at half time with the score reading 0-4 to 0-2 at the short whistle.  It may have been a low scoring encounter but the large crowd in attendance were kept intrigued in what was a titanic tussle between two evenly matched sides. 

The second half began with more of the same high intensity camogie that had graced the opening half but St Pat’s struck first when they scored the first major of the final.   Captain Céat McEldowney giving them the lead for the first time in the match and set up a grand stand ending to a gripping encounter. 

St Louis responded with a quite brilliant goal of their own with eight minutes of normal time remaining.  Caoimhe Molloy rifling the sliotar from 30 yards to the back of the St Pat’s net to give St Louis the lead once again.  With bodies going down all over the field with cramp, the play became broken and there was nine minutes added at the end of the hour.

St Louis Bronagh Laverty in action during Friday night’s final defeat by St Pat’s

A late equalising point from Clare Gunning took the final to extra time where St Pat’s had that wee bit extra when it counted.  Goals at the start of either period of extra time was the difference in the end with Gunning’s goal a touch of class.  A brilliant touch and deft finish under pressure while McLaughlin’s goal was a predator’s instinct.

Overall St Pat’s just shaded a close contest.  In joined captains Céat McEldowney and Laura Scullion they had two exceptional talents while Clare Gunning and player of the match Bronagh McCullagh were brilliant throughout.  St Louis battled superbly to the very end and looked out on their feet at the final whistle in what was an energy sapping 80 plus minutes of schools camogie.

St Louis Mary McKillen

TEAMS

St Louis: Orlagh Convery; Maeve Mulholland, Brigid Delargy, Laura McAleese; Brónagh Laverty, Eimear McMullan, Sarah McIlhatton; Caoimhe Molloy, Maura Downey; Mary McKillen, Emma McAreavey, Caitlin Crawford; Katie Molloy, Aimee Traynor, Kyra Doherty

Subs: Aoibhin McCloskey for K Molloy (HT); Aimee Traynor for L McAleese (60)

Scorers: Caoimhe Molloy 103 (1 f); Maura Downey 0-2; Caitlin Crawford 0-1; Kyra Doherty 0-1

St Pat’s: Eimear McEldowney; Heather O’Hagan, Aisling Porter, Abi McNeill; Doireann Donnelly, Laura Scullion, Carla McEldowney; Bronagh McCullagh, Céat McEldowney; Leah Lennon, Clare Gunning, Evanne Martin; Cara McElwee, Aimee Lennon, Blathnaid McLaughlin

Subs: Niamh McCullagh for C McElwee (41); Emma Collins for D Donnelly (ET 1)

Scorers: Clare Gunning 1-2; Blathnaid McLaughlin 1-1; Céat McEldowney 1-00; Bronagh McCullagh 0-2; Evanne Martin 0-1

Referee: Mark O’Neill (Glen Rovers, Armoy)

Cumann na mBunscoil Indoor Camogie

The annual South West Cumann Na mBunscol indoor 5 a-side camogie competition took place on Thursday 16th January in Antrim Forum.  An amazing 11 schools participated, forming 15 teams and thus plenty of camogie to be enjoyed.

Schools involved included Mary Queen of Peace Glenravel, St. Mary’s Portglenone, St. Paul’s Ahoghill, Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach, Mount St. Michael’s Randalstown, Creggan, Millquarter, St. Oliver Plunkett Toome, St. Brigid’s Ballymena, St. Patrick’s Rasharkin and St. Colmcille’s Ballymena.

The 15 teams were split into two groups and played each team in their group once to decide semi-final spots.

In group one Mary Queen of Peace Glenravel, Millquarter and St. Patrick’s Rasharkin all secured opening wins and continued this fine form throughout their group games, only losing points to each other.  After all teams in this group had played their 7 games, it was Millquarter who topped the group only having lost one game.  On equal points and thus joint for second in the group was St. Patrick’s Rasharkin and Mary Queen of Peace.  To decide who would progress to the semi-final required reflecting on the result of the two school’s earlier meeting which had been won (2-0) by Mary Queen of Peace and so it would be the Glenravel side who would progress further in the competition.  Last year’s title holders St. Oliver Plunkett also provided noteworthy competition and determination in this group.

In group two Mount Saint Michael’s Randalstown dominated with a strong, skilful team, winning all games in the group stages and securing top points to make the semi-final with ease.  Taking second place was an energetic St. Mary’s Portglenone team, only losing one game to the group leaders.  Narrowly missing out on a semi-final spot was Millquarter’s second team and Creggan who both produced some promising performances.

The first of the semi-finals saw Mount Saint Michael’s take on Mary Queen of Peace Glenravel.  This fight for a final spot was hotly contested in an exciting game with team mates vocally getting behind their school friends.  Mary Queen of Peace were first to score and only in the final seconds did Mount Saint Michael’s come very close to drawing level only to hit the side of the net.  At the final whistle a goal separated the teams with Mary Queen of Peace victorious on a score line of 1–0. 

St. Mary’s Portglenone and Millquarter played in the second semi which required extra time to decide a winner.  The first to score a golden score was Millquarter who secured their spot in final.

With the finalists having already played each other in a close encounter early on in the group stages, which saw Millquarter win 2-1, it was time to see which team would win the title for 2020.  Both teams battled hard throughout the game with many significant saves made by the Millquarter goal keeper who denied Mary Queen of Peace any scores.  At the other end Millquarter managed three goals and thus the Millquarter girls excitedly received the winning shield.

Congratulations to all schools who participated in the 2020 South West Cumann Na mBunscol indoor camogie.

Antrim Gaels do well at the Gaelic Life All Stars Awards

The Antrim Clubs received high praise as they were recognised at the 
Gaelic Life All-Stars last Friday, as 13 players collected awards.
The event, which is in its ninth year, seeks to celebrate the best 
club players across the four codes.
Three St Paul’s Ladies footballers were named on the Ladies All-Star 
team; Maria Hanna, Kirsty McGuinness, Lara Dahunsi. Naomh Eanna’s 
Niall O’Connor won the young hurler of the year award while, 
Cushendall’s Terence McNaughton missed out on the manager of the year 
award. That went to Ballycastle’s Michael McShane, who led Sleacht 
Néill to the Ulster title.
Naomh Eanna’s Ruairi Diamond and John McGoldrick received their 
Hurling team of the year All-stars along with Dunloy’s Ryan Elliott 
and Paul Shiels.
Dunloy’s Keelan Molloy missed out on the overall award.
The All-star Camogie team included Loughgiel’s Megan Coyle, Maeve 
Connolly, Caitrin Dobbin, and Ahoghill’s Noreen Graham.
The event was a poignant one though, as it was the first without the 
presence of long-time columnist John Morrison who died in February of 
last year.
The Gaelic Life team celebrated the Armagh coach with a video piece in 
which journalist Niall McCoy interviewed the Morrison family about John.
The paper have decided to rename their Hall of fame award in his memory.
The first recipient of the John Morrison Hall of Fame award was 
Trillick’s John Donnelly, who won Five Tyrone Senior Championships as 
player manager.
See Thursday’s Gaelic Life for the 24-page supplement which will mark 
the awards night. It includes pics and reaction from all the awards.

Tower lose out to excellent Dungannon side

Ulster Colleges Camogie – Fr Davies’ Cup final

St Patrick’s Academy 3-10 St Killian’s Garron Tower 0-3

Dungannon Academy clinched the Fr Davies Cup at Ahoghill on Saturday with a comprehensive win over St Killian’s College Garron Tower, the Tyrone college not flattered by their 16 point winning margin. Had someone suggested after the first quarter of this Fr Davies’ Cup final that the Tyrone girls were going to win as easily as they eventually did, they would have been dismissed as mad. However, there were signs even during the opening quarter that the Academy’s defence was not going to be easily breached. Emma Donnelly brought off a number of saves to deny St Killian’s in that early period of the game and the north Antrim side’s wides’ total rose as forwards in possession were put under pressure.

Yet St Killian’s were playing against the breeze and were dominating general play, albeit that they led by just a point from Niamh McKay. Then Reagan Fay delivered long from deep in her defence and Lára Devlin ran through to score a goal. This pair went on to torture the Garron Tower side, Reagan delivering a Player of the Match performance in the middle of the park and Lára hitting five super points from open play during the second half. That 15th minute goal from Devlin changed the dynamic of the game and two minutes later she set Rachel O’Neill up for a point. Fay scored an excellent solo point after 20 minutes and, while St Killian’s spurned chances to get back into the game, Fay’s mishit shot fell for her captain Sian Fitzgerald to race through for a second goal and an interval lead of 2-3 to 0-1.

The Tower were expected to up their game with the wind behind them, but instead the Academy camped in their half and got a fortunate goal after 37 minutes when Elisha Gervin’s kicked effort came off a defender to beat Mary Mooney in the St Killian’s nets. That lifted the Academy and Lára Devlin picked off two points before the three quarter mark. Francine Farley added another as did Elishia Gervin before Devlin finished off with three super scores, and only a point from sub Hannah McCann in reply. There was some resistance from St Killian’s with Sine Woodhouse making runs up the wing, but the Tyrone side’s defence was always in control with Emma Donnelly so composed in goals and from shortly after half time there was little doubt that St Patrick’s Academy had managed to climb two grades in the space of just 12 months with an All-Ireland semi-final ahead of them in February and Senior A camogie next season.

St Patrick’s Academy : E Donnelly, R Cunningham, B Barker, C Nelis, G Daly, A Begley, B Jones, R Fay (0-2, 0-1 free), S McGeary, F Farley (0-1), S Fitzgerald (1-0), L Devlin (1-5), A Forker, E Gervin (1-1), R O’Neill (0-1).

Subs : A Mc Laughlin for A Forker (38), Á Ferran for R O’Neill (45), A McAteer for C Nelis (56), E McLaughlin for E Gerwin (58).

St Killian’s : M Mooney, O Donnelly, J Woulahan, Á Quinn, C O’Hara (0-1 free), C McNaughton, B McAuley, S McDonnell, A McNeill, N McKay (0-1), M McKenna, S Woodhouse, A McPeake, A Delargy, E Quinn.Subs : M O’Boyle for A Delargy (28), H McCann (0-1) for M McKenna (HT), C O’Boyle for J Woulahan (56).

Referee : Malachy McToal (Derry)

Lamh Dhearg Senior Awards Night

Pics from the Lamh Dhearg GAC senior awards night in their Hannahstown clubrooms