Clon school in control all the way through decider
Sacred Heart Clonakilty 1-10
St Mary’s Midleton 2-0
By Noel Horgan
NEVER headed over the course of the hour, Sacred Heart Secondary School Clonakilty ran out comfortable winners over St Mary’s Midleton in the Munster colleges’ junior B camogie final at Mahon.
The result earned the West Cork students a first-ever provincial title, and their historic triumph was built upon a rock-like rearguard in which Emma O’Driscoll and team skipper Daire O’Brien excelled in the central positions.
O’Driscoll was a veritable colossus at full back in the first half, doing most to ensure that Sacred Heart’s advantage was never seriously threatened after they had made the early running.
They were three points to the good inside seven minutes, with classy corner forward Eimear O’Brien bagging all of their scores, two from frees, before adding another from a placed ball midway through the opening period.
Along with O’Brien, Maeve Kingston and Millie Condon made their presence felt up front for the winners early on, and Kingston proved her worth again when delivering a precision cross that led to O’Brien grabbing a goal in the 24th minute.
O’Brien’s strike sent Sacred Heart’s prospects soaring, even if they didn’t exactly dominate territorially in the first half when centre back Ali Smith, midfielders Aoife Healy and Rachel Looney and roaming wing forward Aimee Morgan showed up well for St Mary’s.
With Emma O’Driscoll lording matters at the edge of the square however, Sacred Heart coped admirably with the pressure until corner forward Lilly Hayes-Nally goaled for St Mary’s in the 25th minute, expertly finishing Ali Smith’s long-range free to the net.
That left the East-Cork girls 1-4 to 1-0 adrift at the interval, but Sacred Heart came up with most of the answers on the resumption, although it took a fine save by competent custodian Sinead McCarthy to prevent Grace Rooney from shooting another goal for St Mary’s in the 35th minute.
Eimear O’Brien had opened Sacred Heart’s second-half account prior to that, and they steadily stretched the gap in the third quarter.
Anna Flynn, much more involved following a move from full-forward to the left wing, Daire O’Brien, from a long-range free, and the irrepressible Eimear O’Brien were all on target before Lydia Sutton got in on the scoring act, pouncing for a point after Caoimhe Murphy had brought the best out of Midleton goalkeeper Ellen Hayes-Nally.
It was 1-10 to 1-0 after Eimear O’Brien converted another free at the three-quarter stage, and the writing was clearly on the wall for St Mary’s at that juncture.
To their credit, they refused to give up the ghost, pressing hard in the closing stages when centre-back Ali Smith was redeployed at full forward in a bid to boost their fortunes up front.
Again, however, the Sacred Heart defence stood firm, with the result that St Mary’s didn’t add to their tally until Aimee Morgan, the loser’s most accomplished performer overall, found the net virtually on the stroke of full time.
Daire O’Brien stood out at centre back for Sacred Heart in the second half when defenders Kate O’Donovan and Kellie O’Gorman, and midfielder Jessica McCarthy were others to contribute generously to what, in the final analysis, was an excellent team performance.
Sacred Heart: E O’Brien 1-7 (4f), A Flynn, D O’Brien (f), L Sutton 0-1 each.
St Mary’s: L Hayes-Nally, A Morgan 1-0 each.
Sacred Heart: S McCarthy (Ballinascarthy); A O’Brien (Clonakilty), E O’Driscoll (Enniskeane), A Condon (Ballinascarthy); K O’Donovan (Kilbree), D O’Brien (Enniskeane), K O’Gorman (Clonakilty); J McCarthy (Barryroe), M Murphy (Kilbree); L Sutton (Clonakilty), C Murphy (do.), M Condon (Ballinascarthy); M Kingston (do.), A Flynn (do.), E. O’Brien (Enniskeane).
Subs: S Patwell (Ballinascarthy) for Sutton, (47), K Nolan (Clonakilty) for M Murphy (55).
St Mary’s: E Hayes-Nally (Castlemartyr); S Dignam (Killeagh), A Harty (Castlemartyr), O Evans (Midleton); L Murphy (Dungourney), A Smith (Aghada), J Keegan-O’Connell (Midleton); A Healy (Aghada), G Rooney (Fr O’Neill’s); C Cronin (Midleton), S Kent (Killeagh), A Morgan (Castlemartyr); N O’Connor (Killeagh), E Cronin (Aghada), L Hayes-Nally (Castlemartyr).
Subs: R Leahy (Aghada) for C Cronin (3), K O’Brien for Evans (injured, ht), C Cronin for E Cronin (ht).
Referee: A Walsh (St Vincent’s).
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