St Mary's Mercy, Macroom 4-9
St Mary's Mercy, Macroom 4-9
St Joseph's S.S., Rochfortbridge, Westmeath 3-7
ST Mary's Secondary School, Macroom, made history on Saturday at Sean Treacy Park, Tipperary Town, when they completed the second part of a historic double of All-Ireland 'B' titles defeating a gallant St Joseph's, of Rochfortbridge, Westmeath, in a thrilling final.
St Mary's Sarah Beth O Mullane opened the scoring in the first minute with a pointed free which was quickly followed by another point from play by Rachel Hurley.
Rochfortbridge settled to their task the quicker and led by 0-5 to 0-2 by the ninth minute with the very strong breeze at their backs. Sinead Plunkett then kicked a great score for St Mary's in the 11th minute and this was quickly followed by a goal from the hard working Rachel Hurley following a pass from Siofra Burgoyne.
Rochfortbridge drew level again in the 16th minute with a point from Amy Cully however St Mary's received a major boost in the 23rd minute with a second goal from Rachel Hurley following a well worked move from defence which saw Claire Murphy give her the final pass to billow the net.
The St Mary's defence were now well on top with Aisling Kelleher and Niamh McCarthy excelling in the full-back line. The midfield duo of Niamh Duggan and Mairead Corkery were working tirelessly as well and Sinead Plunkett increased their lead with two further points in the 25th and 27th minutes to leave the score at 2-5 to 0-6 in the Cork side's favour.
This lead was reduced in the 28th minute when Jenny Judge goaled for Rochfortbridge however St Mary's replied two minutes into injury time with a goal of their own following a defence splitting run by Mairead Corkery which saw her score a great goal from the 21-yard line.
This left the Macroom school 3-5 to 1-6 ahead at half time and having played against the wind in the first half this left them in a very strong position facing the second half.
The second half proved to be an enthralling affair and it began brightly for St Mary's with two unanswered points in the first seven minutes from Mairead Corkery and Niamh Duggan. The play went from end-to-end in the next seven minutes until Shannon Lyons kicked the opening point of the second half for Rochfortbridge to leave the score at the three quarter stage 3-7 to 1-7 in St Mary's favour. At this stage St Mary's were starting to dominate at half back through Ali Jones, Aileen Corkery and Elaine O'Brien and with the midfield combination of Mairead Corkery and Niamh Duggan winning lots of possession the forward line got a plentiful supply of ball. The St Mary's forwards were finding scores hard to come by however against the tough tackling Westmeath girls defence and a disallowed goal from Claire Murphy was followed by three missed opportunities from frees by the 20th minute, Rochfortbridge drove forward at every opportunity and they got back into the game in the 24th minute when midfielder Dawn Hannon shot a great goal to leave three points between the sides.
The game was now being played at a frantic pace and Rachel Hurley eased the Macroom girls into a four point lead when she kicked a point from play in the 26th minute but they were rocked on their heels a minute later when Nicola Judge scored a good goal for Rochfortbridge to leave a point between the sides.
St Mary's did not panic and a goal by the hardworking Claire Murphy in first minute of injury time was greeted with great joy by the large Macroom following./ The insurance point was kicked a minute later by effective substitute Rachel Horgan with a great kick from 30 yards.
The final whistle was greeted with great scenes of joy and ladies football President Pat Quill presented the cup to a delighted Macroom captain Aileen Corkery to tremendous applause from the team supporters. St Mary's now become the first team to complete a senior/junior double in the same year an achievement that will be difficult to beat in coming years.
St Mary's full-back Aisling Kelleher was presented with player of the match at the end of the game.
Team (all players St Val's unless stated): Mairead O'Sullivan; Ann Marie Ryan, Aisling Kelleher, Niamh McCarthy, Ali Jones (Naomh Fionnbarra), Aileen Corkery, Elaine O'Brien, Mairead Corkery, Niamh Duggan (Naomh Aban), Sinead Plunkett, Sarah Beth O'Mullane, Rachel Hurley (Macroom), Sarah Byrne, Claire Murphy and Siofra Burgoyne. Subs used: Rachel Horgan (Macroom) for Sarah Byrne.
Other subs: Nicola Dennehy, Marion Coakley, Caoimhe Cotter, Sinead O'Connell, Lily Healy (Macroom), Michelle O'Callaghan and Lauren Manning (Macroom).
St Mary's team management: Joe Carroll and Seán Quill.