Sacred Heart SS 3-8
St Mary’s HS 1-7
NOEL HORGAN REPORTS
A SEASON of unprecedented success was completed by Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty when they accounted for St Mary’s Midleton in the All-Ireland colleges’ junior camogie final at Mahon.
Having already lifted the Munster title at St Mary’s expense, and beaten them in the group stage of the provincial competition as well, Sacred Heart went into the game as warm favourites but they were obviously under a lot of pressure not to slip up in the big one.
There was never any danger Sacred Heart would enter the fray suffering from complacency revealed elated team skipper Daire O’Brien in the wake of their historic triumph.
‘We took nothing for granted, we knew we had to work hard and try to play as well as we can, so we were fully focused on the task,’ she said.
O’Brien also expected St Mary’s to make a bold bid to upset the odds, admitting she was worried the way the game was developing for much of the first half.
‘We were under a lot of pressure, but we coped and the two goals scored by Millie (Condon) helped us to settle before half time. Millie has wicked pace and her scores were crucial today,’ stressed O’Brien, who said it was a great honour to be captain of a team that had achieved so much over the past 12 months.
While they finished the match well in control, Sacred Heart were a tad flattered by their eventual winning margin, as St Mary’s showed from the outset they weren’t going to succumb easily.
With centre forward Ali Smith and midfielder Aimee Morgan to the fore, the Midleton girls led by 0-3 to 0-2 after Morgan posted the game’s first score from play in the 13th minute.
One minute later, however, Sacred Heart made a major breakthrough when a speculative shot from distance by Millie Condon went all the way to the net.
It was a fortuitous score but Condon struck again in the 19th minute with a goal that was unquestionably out of the top drawer after Anna Flynn and Eimear O’Brien were involved in the build-up.
That gave Sacred Heart a five-point cushion but St Mary’s finished the first half with three unanswered points, courtesy of Ami Smith from frees, to make it 2-3 to 0-7 at the break
Sacred Heart gradually stretched the gap on the resumption, primarily due to Eimear O’Brien free-taking expertise, which contrasted sharply with erratic shooting from placed balls on the part of Smith for Midleton.
O’Brien, fed by Millie Condon, added a sublime point from play shortly before Caoimhe Murphy knocked in Sacred Heart’s third goal to push them 3-8 to 0-7 ahead in the 50th minute.
The deal was done and dusted after that and Sacred Heart finally began to perform with the sort of swagger that had been a feature of their performances earlier in the campaign, although the late goal scored by St Marys’ Lily Hayes-Nally was no more than the losers deserved.
It was a workmanlike rather than spectacular performance from the Clonakilty students, with particularly significant contributions coming from Allanah O’Brien, Emma O’Driscoll and Mary Murphy in a rock-solid full-back line, midfielder Annie Condon, and Eimear O’Brien and two-goal hero Millie Condon up front.
Sacred Heart: E O’Brien 0-8 (7f); M Condon 2-0; C Murphy 1-0.
St Mary’s: A Smith 0-6f; L Hayes-Nally 1-0; J Morgan 0-1.
Sacred Heart: S McCarthy (Ballinascarthy); A O’Brien (Clonakilty), E O’Driscoll (Enniskeane), M Murphy (Kilbree); J McCarthy (Barryroe), D O’Brien (Enniskeane), K O’Gorman (Kilbree); A Condon (Ballinascarthy), K O’Donovan (Kilbree); M Kingston (Ballinascarthy), C Murphy (Kilbree), L Sutton (Clonakilty); M Condon (Ballinascarthy), A Flynn (do.), E O’Brien (Enniskeane).
Subs: O Deasy (Kilbree) for O’Donovan (ht), O’Donovan for M Murphy (55), K O’Driscoll (Clonakilty) for C Murphy (57), S Patwell (Ballinascarthy) for Sutton (57).
St Mary’s: E Hayes-Nally; O Evans, A Harty, S Dignam; K O’Brien, L Murphy, K O’Connell; A Healy, A Morgan; S Kent, A Smith, C Cronin; G Rooney, N O’Connor, L Hayes-Nally.