Sacred Heart 1-5
Colaíste Bhríde 0-6
ANNA Flynn’s first-half goal was the crucial score as Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty booked their place in the All-Ireland colleges’ junior B camogie final.
The Clon school had only two points to spare against Coláiste Bhríde in Enniscorthy in Saturday’s semi-final played in driving rain and a gale force wind.
Sacred Heart played with the elements in the first half and even though the home side grabbed the first point, the Clon school struck for a goal to settle them down.
Following great work by Kellie O’Gorman, Annie Condon and Caoimhe Murphy, Flynn first timed a ground shot to the net, after her initial effort came back off the upright.
‘A goal was always going to be a big score in those conditions. That it came early on helped to settle us and gave the girls that bit of confidence that they needed to go on to victory,’ Sacred Heart manager Ciarán Mulcahy said, as the school’s fantastic journey in this competition keeps on going.
‘We had never won the Munster B title before this year and it was fantastic to win that, and now we are in an All-Ireland final.
‘We were put up from C a few years ago because, to be fair, we were a bit too good for the C grade. In the last two years at B level, we got to the Munster semi-final twice but lost both of those by a point so to win that title this year was excellent.
‘Then to go to Enniscorthy last weekend and beat Colaíste Bhríde, who are historically an A schools’ team, is great.’
Relief and joy was the mixture of emotions at the final whistle in Enniscorthy after getting the better of a well-fancied Colaíste Bhríde. After Flynn’s goal, Sacred Heart saw plenty of possession but found it difficult to get the scoreboard moving. Clon’s only reward were two placed balls from the ever reliable O’Brien sisters, captain Daire from a 45 after Millie Condon was denied by the goalkeeper, and Eimear with a close-in effort after a foul on the hard-working Maeve Kingston.
Colaiste Bhríde were awarded a penalty before the break and Enniscorthy wing forward Siobhan Sinnott popped it over the bar. Sacred Heart led 1-2 to 0-2 at half time.
Orla Redmond’s point for Colaiste Bhríde narrowed the gap to two after the break.Daire O’Brien, now operating at full back and on puck-out duty, marshalled her defence as wave after wave of Enniscorthy attacks mounted – but the Clon rearguard was equal to it, with Mary Murphy and Alannah O’Brien giving their direct opponents no change.
The Clon tactics of dropping full forward Anna Flynn back to sweep seemed to be working as a crowded final third made life difficult for the Leinster champions.When Sinnot converted a free to leave the minimum between the teams with 17 minutes to play, and the home side had the wind at their back, it looked ominous for Sacred Heart. But the Clon school dug deep.There was a noticeable increase in their intensity and work rate. Millie Condon, Kate O’Donovan and Lydia Sutton carried the ball deep into Enniscorthy territory on numerous occasions and following one such foray, Sacred Heart were rewarded with a free which was expertly converted by Eimear O’Brien. Sinnot narrowed the gap again, 1-3 0-5, but Enniscorthy could not get the equaliser they craved. Jessica McCarthy, Emma O’Driscoll and Annie Condon ran themselves to a standstill breaking up attacks.
Near the end, Eimear O’Brien extended Sacred Heart’s lead to two, only for Enniscorthy to reply and one point separated the teams in injury time. There was still time for sub Orlaith Deasy to win possession and pass to player-of-the-match Caoimhe Murphy who drove at the heart of the Colaiste Bhríde defence before being fouled. It left Daire O’Brien with the simple task of giving Sacred Heart a two-point cushion.
Colaiste Bhríde had one last chance but the danger was cleared, as Sacred Heart goalkeeper Sinead McCarthy won possession and carried it from the danger zone. The final whistle sounded and Sacred Heart are now just one step from All-Ireland glory.
Sacred Heart: Sinead McCarthy (Ballinascarthy); Alannah O’Brien (Clonakilty), Emma O’Driscoll (Enniskeane), Mary Murphy (Kilbree); Jessica McCarthy (Barryroe), Daire O’Brien (Enniskeane), Kellie O’Gorman (Clonakilty); Annie Condon (Ballinascarthy), Kate O’Donovan (Kilbree); Lydia Sutton (Clonakilty), Caoimhe Murphy (Kilbree), Maeve Kingston (Ballinascarthy); Millie Condon (Ballinascarthy), Anna Flynn (Ballinascarthy), Eimear O’Brien (Enniskeane).
Subs: Heather Bramble (Kilbree), Siofra Patwell (Ballinascarthy), Margaret Sexton (Kilbrittain/Timoleague), Kate Ryan (Ballinascarthy), Rachel Deasy (Kilbree), Ciara White (Clonakilty), Katie O’Driscoll (Clonakilty), Orlaith Deasy (Clonakilty), Sarah Harrington (Barryroe), Aoife Whelton (Clonakilty), Niamh McCarthy (Kilbree), Tara Fleming (Barryroe), Kate Nolan (Clonakilty), Amy McCarthy (Clonakilty), Amy Harrington (Clonakilty), Jessica O’Driscoll (Kilbree), Ella O’Donoghue (Clonakilty).