The Senior camogie team at St. Louis Grammar School, Ballymena were honoured at special Scool Assembly to recognise their recent All Ireland success with a packed assembly hall showing their appreciation for the girl’s success last weekend.
Afterwards the girls posed for photographs in the school’s sportshall and sampled a special commemorative cake which was baked to honour the occassion.
A goal from corner forward, Donncha Laverty in the 30th minute finally decided this Year 10 Gaelfast hurling final in difficult conditions under the lights at Dunsilly on Wednesday night. In conditions that were not conducive to good hurling both sides gave it everything with the result still in the balance with time almost up.
St. Killian’s were awarded a side-line cut and Dylan McNaughton’s strike found its way to Shane McQuillan who combined with Charlie Black to put Laverty clear to the left of goal and the number 15 sent his shot out of reach of Patrick Campbell in the Cross & Passion goal to seal victory.
On a surface where it was difficult to get the ball up the passages of open play were few and far between but both side fought tooth and nail with a lot of rucks throughout and both defences making it extremely difficult for the opposition to score.
Charlie McAuley gave Cross & Passion the lead with a point in the 3d minute before Cahir McMambridge and Shane McQuillan replied for the Tower to edge them one in front with 7 minutes played.
Cross & Passion began to edge the exchanges at this stage with Darra Kinney hitting a couple of points and Joe Deery adding another to leave them 4-2 ahead by the 12th minute before McQuillan replied with his second of the game to close the gap to the minimum once more.
Dylan McNaughton, who got through a mountain of work on the night, tied the contest once more before Cahir McCambridge edged the Tower ahead again and further exchanges from Dylan McNaughton and Damian McCaughan saw St. Killian’s hold a slender lead as Kevin Parke blew the half time whistle.
Throughout the first half both defences excelled with Eunan Johnston and Liam Smith to the fore for the Ballycastle boys and Paddy Morgan and Cadhan Graham dominant for St. Killian’s and the strong defending from both sides continued in the second half with clear cut opportunities hard to come by.
Matthew Donnelly tied the contest yet again when he pointed a free, four minutes into the second half but points from Dylan and Connlaith McNaughton edged St. Killian’s three in front after 36 minutes and they looked to be gaining the upper hand.
Back came the Ballycastle side however with a couple of pointed frees from the impressive Donnelly leaving it finely balanced once more and it still looked anyone’s game but Laverty’s sweet finish with time almost up sealed it for the Tower.
Both sides deserve massive credit for their efforts over the night and in a game where neither side gave an inch, a goal was always going to seal it and Laverty’s major, following an excellent build up proved a worthy winner.
St’ Killian’s: Ben Duncan, Jake Laffan, Paddy Morgan, Aidan McCormick, Charlie McGarrell, Caodan Graham, Brian McNeill, Dylan McNaughton, Ronan Magee, Charlie Black, Shane McQuillan, Christopher Leech, Connlaoth McNaughton, Cahir McCambridge, Donnach Laverty.
Cross & Passion: Patrick Campbell, Caolan Christie, Eunan Johnston, Connlaoth Woodhouse, Oisin Donnelly, Liam Smith, Odhran Baudant, Darragh Kinney, Eoin Bailey, Joe Deery, Damian McMahon, Logan McConville, Charlie McAuley, Matthew Donnelly, Cahir McCaughan.
St Joseph’s Donaghmore 1-12 St Louis Ballymena 0-05
Report by Niall Kelly
St Louis Ballymena’s MacLarnon Cup adventure came to an end in Slaughtneil on Saturday at the hands of an exceptionally talented Donaghmore side. The men from Tyrone did the majority of the damage in the opening half with the talismanic Noah Grimes at the forefront. St Joseph’s diminutive number eleven grabbed the all-important goal on the 13th minute and from there St Louis faced an uphill battle. Despite battling tirelessly, the Kintullagh side struggled to deal with the fluidity and precision of their opponents. Patient and calculated approach play from the Tyrone side combined with tidy finishing from their talented weaponry up front proved to be the blueprint for their success.
St Louis started brightly and moved the ball around smartly but it was St Joseph’s who notched the first score of the day after five minutes with Noah Grimes putting the finishing touches on a fine move. The Ballymena side responded quickly though Shea O’Broin who despatched a free off the carpet from fifty odd metres out. However, this would prove to be their only score of the half as Donaghmore took a stranglehold off the game and dominated possession.
A Ronan Molloy pointed free on the tenth minute was followed up quickly with a superb goal from Grimes. The Donaghmore centre forward weaved this way and that before caressing a pinpoint effort into the top left of the St Louis net.
The Tyrone side’s major had a galvanising effect on them and their assurance and confidence in possession never waned as they continued to find penetrative avenues of attack despite the St Louis rear-guard’s best efforts. Darragh Donaghy’s marauding runs were a constant threat for the Antrim side and he split the posts twice from range before another effort from Grimes found its mark.
St Louis, to their credit, continued to battle for the remainder of the half and looked to have launched a few promising counter attacks but were frustrated in their attempts with the final pass often alluding them.
Another Donaghmore danger-man, Ronan Molloy, had the final say of the first thirty right on the stroke of the half-time whistle as he converted from the placed ball to leave the score at the interval 1-06 to 0-01 in favour of the Tyrone side.
Facing an uphill battle, St Louis emerged a rejuvenated side in the second period and sought to reduce arrears. Aodhan McGarry and Conor McKenna tried to drive their team forward with storming runs from deep but again the final pass was to be the Achille’s heal of the Ballymena side’s offense.
Donaghmore found their rhythm again and once more dominated the size five for large periods as Molloy popped up with another two fine scores from play. The Ballymena side responded well though through the cultured left foot of corner forward Shea O’Broin. The aforementioned two corner forwards exchanged points once more before Leo Hughes increased the margin for St Joseph’s with a beautifully angled effort from the left flank.
With proceedings entering the final quarter, Donaghmore looked to squeeze the life out of any St Louis’ revival with their pragmatism on the ball. However, the men in blue and yellow began throwing caution to the wind as more bodies flooded forward in search of some sort of lifeline. Cal O’Brien, who had worked tirelessly all game, made the pressure count as he split the posts from range with a ferocious effort on the fiftieth minute.
With the game more stretched, Donaghmore took full advantage and the ever-dangerous Molloy was on hand to put the gloss on a sweeping counter-attack with five minutes on the clock. Moments later, his partner in crime, Noah Grimes, then finished off yet another flowing attack to increase the gap to eleven points and effectively seal Donaghmore’s final berth.
Despite the knowledge that their fate was sealed, St Louis refused to lie down and continued to attack in their droves. It was perhaps fitting that they had the final say when O’Brien raised the white flag in added time with yet another superb effort.
Paddy McAleer and Sean Cassidy will still take a lot of heart from today. Their charges battled admirably throughout and despite Donaghmore progressing with a bit to spare, St Louis were resilient throughout. It has been a long, long time since they reached this stage of the competition and their heroics against St Paul’s will live long in the memory. Their exploits this year can be a foundation to build upon for next year’s MacLarnon journey.
St Joseph’s were just too strong on the day and have an enviable array of talent in their ranks. Portglenone Gael, Niall Kelly, is at the helm for Donaghmore and we wish him and his team all the best in the final.
Although the hopes of an all-Antrim final are now extinguished. The Saffron County will still have representation in the form of Rathmore who will look to stop the Donaghmore juggernaut from getting their hands on the silverware. The Belfast side’s emphatic victory against Milford will surely have them full of belief in the decider. Good luck to both sides in what should be an engrossing encounter.
St Joseph’s Donaghmore
L Quinn; J McNally, B Hughes, J Rafferty; D Donaghy (0-02,) J Clarke, C O’Neill; S Scullion, J McKenna; L Hughes (0-01,) N Grimes (1-03,) MJ Mansell; C Drayne (0-01,) M McNally, R Molloy (0-05)
St Louis Ballymena
J McLaughlin; C Kennedy, C Higgins, D Martin; J McCormick, A McGarry, T McFerran; C McKenna, C McMullan; K McCann, C McAuley, C O’Brien (0-02;) S Ó’Broin (0-03,) B McCloskey, H O’Donnell
There’s a strong Antrim presence on the St. Mary’s Magherafelt side who make their bid for Ulster glory in Cookstown on Thursday. Moneyglass’ Kate Higgins captains the Convent side and is joined by Leah Stewart, Aoife Kelly, Sarah O’Neill, Sally Scullion, Cara McKeefry, and Cara McCann.
This will be St. Mary’s third Ulster Final in two weeks. This time it is the turn of the Ladies Under-20 football team who will face Loreto College Omagh at the MUSA, Cookstown.
Captained by Kate Higgins, the girls are determined to go one step further this year after suffering defeat to Coláiste Oirial in last year’s final. Captain Higgins stated, “I think our defeat last year will drive us to success in 2023. Miss Hughes and Mr McCauley have worked hard with us at training and the team spirit is excellent. The Under 16 girls have really pushed the older girls on at training and everyone in school is looking forward to the final on Thursday.
The St. Mary’s girls got off to a flying start in their under 20 Ulster campaign with three wins from three in the group stages against St Pius X College Magherafelt, Holy Trinity College, Cookstown and St. Ciaran’s, Ballygawley. Throughout the group stage there was a common theme, teams found it difficult to deal with the ferocity of the SMG attack. With Aoife Kelly and Caoileann Quinn’s attacking runs were constantly rewarded by the excellent movement of Eva Small in the full forward line who proved a thorn in opposing teams’ defensive sides.
The St Mary’s girls accumulated substantial scores with sharp shooters, Sarah Devlin, Amy-Rose Mulligan and Niamh O’Donnell on target. With the help of Leah Stewart and Cara Mckeefery the girls racked up impressive score lines to cement their place in the quarter final.
Loreto Letterkenny were waiting in the quarter- final and on a cold, wet day in Owenbeg the SMG girls picked up where they left off from the group stages. Again, Small and O’Donnell caused problems in the full forward line and strong defensive performances from Sarah O’Neill and Seannagh McLarnon ensured that St Mary’s came out on top.
In the Semi-Final the SMG girls travelled to MUSA to face a determined Sacred Heart Newry team from Down who posed the girls biggest challenge to date. Little separated the girls in the first half and an early goal from Newry made it clear that the Magherafelt girls would not get everything their own way. Against a strong breeze in Cookstown, the girls managed to gain a two-point lead at half time. St Mary’s came out determined at the start of the second half, however, it wasn’t until that last 10 minutes where a fantastic team move ended with a Sarah O’Neill’s goal that cemented a place in the final for the second year in a row.
The journey for SMG to the Ulster Final has been down to a real team drive, a strong bench and the great work of the management team plus the passion to lift the Ulster title in 2023.
L to R Leah Stewart Moneyglass , Sally Scullion Cargin, Aoife Kelly Moneyglass , Sarah O’Neill Moneyglass , Cara McKeefry Moneyglass and Cara McCann Creggan
ST PATRICK’S Maghera are back in Ulster schools’ Corn Uan Uladh camogie final after avenging defeat by St Louis Ballymena in last year’s semi-final on Monday evening in Ahoghill.
Overall Maghera were probably the better balanced team with players capable of striking scores when under pressure. During the second half, after St Louis scored their goal to bring the game down to three points, they closed down the Ballymena midfield area not allowing them to run at their defence.
They also worked the ball better into an inside forward line that carried a little more threat than their Ballymena counter-parts.
However no-one could fault the effort from either team in very trying conditions in Ahoghill. A coating of snow lay on the pitch and with the temperature around or just under zero it very much resembled the conditions that Loughgiel excelled in for their All-Ireland club semi-final before Christmas. Both sets of players rose above those conditions to produce a rip-roaring performance.
Maghera’s two first half goals were crucial to the final result. Those were the difference between the teams at the break, 2-4 to 0-4, and meant that St Louis were always chasing a result.
Ballymena started brightest and camped out in their opponents half for the first six minutes. But they couldn’t register a score for all the pressure. Then Maghera captain, Eavanne Martin, drove a free from just inside her own half down to the left corner where Caoimhe Chambers took possession, rounded her marker and buried the sliotar in the net.
With the help of two fine points from Katie Molloy and another from Maria Gately, St Louis fought their way back to 1-1 to 0-3 after 12 minutes. However their failure to score over the next 15 minutes, left them with a mountain to climb.
Lavey’s Carla Collins pointed a long range free and Caoimhe Kearney added a third Maghera point before the second Maghera goal arrived in the 18th minute. Caoimhe Kearney’s cross from close to the corner flag was fed through by Ellie Griffin for Cara Donnelly to force into the net from close range.
The teams exchanged points before the break but the Derry school were now in charge and on their way to a final meeting with first time finalists St Killian’s.
Ballymena though gave themselves a lift at the start of the second half. They could have had a goal within 40 seconds when Aisling O’Donnell’s shot was deflected for a 45. Anna McKillop sent that 45 into the Maghera goal area where it broke and Eimear Johnstone found the net.
However the leaders showed composure to close the game down and Ballymena failed to score for the rest of the half while Maghera tagged on enough scores to pull themselves clear.
Sub Mary Therese McCullagh made it a four points’ gap in the 38th minute and four minutes later the sliotar was fed out for Carla Collins to post her side’s sixth point.
Collins added the final nails in Ballymena’s coffin with points in the 55th and 56th minutes to keep St Patrick’s, already the record title holders, on track for an 18th crown.
St Louis: E McGivern, S Shannon, A McKillen, L McGarry, E Coulter, D Dobbin, C Crawford, K Molloy 0-2, A O’Donnell, C Griffin, S Fyfe 0-1 capt, A McKillop, M Gately 0-1, C O’Boyle, E Johnstone 1-0
Subs: C Henderson for C O’Boyle (40)
St Patrick’s: M Hughes, E Murray, E Doherty, A McNeill, E McCormack, C Conway, E Kelly, O Hull, E Martin capt 0-1 pen, B McLaughlin, C Collins 0-5, 4 frees, C Donnelly 1-0, E Griffin, C Chambers 1-0, C Kearney 0-1
Subs: MT McCullagh 0-1 for B McLaughlin (30), B Brolly for E Kelly (55)