THE wait is finally over. After losing the last three county junior B football finals, Dohenys’ ladies made it fourth time lucky as they finally reached the Promised Land last Saturday week.
One week after helping Dohenys win the West Cork minor B football final, Mairead Crowley tasted glory again as she kicked a late winning point that got the Dunmanway team over the line in this year’s county junior B football final.
In her acceptance speech afterwards, Dohenys captain Martina Collins remarked that they ‘were always the bridesmaids and never the bride’ but last Saturday in rain-soaked Kilmichael, they were the stars of the show and all eyes were on them.
Manager Tony White was thrilled that Dohenys ended their losing sequence in county junior B finals as they put to bed the ghosts of the past three finals.
‘When the final whistle went it was disbelief that we had finally pulled it off. After four years, we just couldn’t believe it,’ he said.
‘The Doheny ladies’ club had never won a county title so that made it extra special for the girls themselves and the founders as well.
‘To win it by one point with a late score only added to the excitement, and this group deserves this success. There has been a lot of heartbreak over the years but they kept coming back and now they have their reward – they are county junior B champions and will be up in junior A next season.’
This was far from an easy victory for Dohenys, who were slow to settle. They opened the scoring but didn’t lead again until right at the end when Crowley kicked the winner.
While Catriona Moloney got Dohenys off the mark first, Midleton responded by scoring the next four points in a row to move into a strong lead – Lucy Kenneally, Ciara McGrath, Abby Quirke and Claire O’Brien all on target for them.
For Dohenys Ruth Collins worked extremely hard in midfield, sending through some great passes to Mairead Crowley, Michelle Love and Moloney in attack, but the Doheny forwards lacked the finishing touch. Donna Hayes, captain of the winning Dohenys minor team, performed well in the backs when needed.
Cork players Orlagh Farmer for Midleton and Dohenys’ Melissa Duggan battled around midfield and Duggan was unlucky when her shot on goal hit the crossbar.
Dohenys’ second score came in the 19th minute from Moloney, however Midleton responded with two of their own to move four clear. Before the break Mairead Crowley scored a point to reduce the lead to three, 0-6 to 0-3, and manager Tony White wasn’t worried.
‘The other selectors were saying that I was very calm at half time. I know these girls with four years and every time this season that they have fallen behind they came back to win, no matter if it was a friendly or in the league or championship. In other years when we went behind we struggled, but not this year, they stayed composed and never panicked,’ White explained, and he was proved right.
The heavy downpours again dogged most of the second half and with Cork star Melissa Duggan thundering into the game, and Aileen Murphy also very prominent, points from Mairead Crowley, Fiona Crowley and Catriona Moloney levelled the game, 0-6 apiece, after 44 minutes.
Midleton’s response was to kick two points to move clear again, but they were their only scores of the second half. Frees from Moloney in the 53rd and 56th minutes levelled the contest before Doheny minor Mairead Crowley became the hero when she scored in injury-time to edge her side in clear – and that’s where they stayed.
Dohenys survived the remaining injury-time and the shrill of the final whistle saw scenes of jubilation and tears as the Doheny girls, and some of those playing with their club for the past 28 years, finally claimed their first county title.
Bonfires welcomed the victorious heroes home to Dunmanway, and the local fire brigade escorted them through town with the cup that eluded them for the past four years. The wait is over.
Dohenys: Catriona Moloney 0-5 (3f); Mairead Crowley 0-3; Fiona Crowley 0-1.
Dohenys: Nora McCarthy; Aine Crowley, Claire Hurley, Donna Hayes; Caroline O’Mahony, Melissa Duggan, Aileen Murphy; Shauna Healy, Ruth Collins; Noelle O’Mahony, Mairead Crowley, Fiona Crowley; Catriona Moloney, Michelle Love, Martina Collins (captain).
Subs used: Michelle Murphy for Martina Collins, Michelle Duggan for Shauna Healy.
Subs: Kelly O’Sullivan, Annie Blewitt, Trish Murray, Niamh O’Donovan, Abbey Kearney, Molly Kearney, Libby Blewitt, Aprille Duggan, Catriona Farrell, Deirdre Crowley.