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Irresistible íosagáin into first All-Ireland final

Coláiste íosagáin 4-22; St Paul's Bessbrook 2-9

HOT on the heels of Coláiste Eoin's Leinster Senior 'A' Boys title came a first All-Ireland Senior 'A' Ladies football semi-final win for their sister school Coláiste íosagáin on Tuesday in Ardee.

Never before had a Dublin school gained provincial silverware in this competition, and while íosagáin were on totally new ground, they showed composure far belying their years.

Eight players were on target for Cathal Fleming's side in this famous win, buoyed on by a tremendous support, with 95pc of those in attendance lending their vocal support to the 'cailíní' in black and yellow.

íosagáin knew that they had a task on their hands, with Northern Ireland soccer International Aimee Mackin in the opposing XV, having scored 3-12 in their Ulster final win.

Mackin netted the first of her two goals after just three minutes to keep the Armagh school on top, and while íosagáin cut the gap to a point three minutes later, after good work by Dublin minor Eabha Ruitleis, Isolt Ní Riordáin and Aoife Ní Chatháin, a second Mackin goal ensured a 2-3 to 0-4 lead.

Mackin brought her tally to 2-5 by the full-time whistle, and while the Bessbrook side relied heavily on her input, the girls from Stillorgan were by far a well-balanced side.

LEADER

A 13th-minute goal from Ruitleis cut the gap to a point, before captain Aedin Ní Dhónaill led by example to level the tie midway through the half.

Paul's stormed back, with a brace of Mackin scores, but íosagáin fired an unanswered 1-8, including 1-7 before the break, with Ní Chatháin netting a 26th-minute goal.

íosagáin pulled the strings upfront, but the likes of Aisling De Fuitléigh and Niamh Ní Dhonaile did a lot of hard work back in defence.

Leading 2-13 to 2-5 at the interval, íosagáin gave little change on the restart, with Alanah Nic Eoin firing some impressive points from play, while Orla Nic Dhomhaill was solid between the posts.

11 minutes into the half the scoreline stood a 2-17 to 2-7, but íosagáin hit a quick brace of goals with Ní Riordáin and Ní Dhónaill on target.

Mackin and Maria Murphy hit back-to-back points for St Paul's, but íosagáin finished with an unanswered five points to book a place in a first ever All-Ireland decider.

COLáISTE íOSAGáIN: O Nic Dhomhnaill; R Ní Mhóráin, A De Fuitléigh, N Ní Dhonaile; N Ní Laocha, D Ní Mhaoleannaigh, R Ni Chiaráin; A Ní Dhónaill (1-1), J Toibín; A Ní Chatháin (1-2), E Ruitleis (1-6, 3f), A Nic Eoin; J Nic an Tuile (0-3), I Ní Riordáin (1-5), R Nic Uileagoid. Subs: H Ní Dhea for Nic Uileagoid (HT); F Nic Mhathúna (0-1) for Ní Laocha (43); L Ní Shúilleabháin for Ní Mhóráin (50); C Ní Aodha for Ní Dhonaile (59); C Ní Fhionnagain for Toibín (59).

ST PAUL'S: A Carr; E Rafferty, E King, M Boyle; S McCrink, L Kenny, K Garvey; D Wright (0-1), M Murphy (0-2); C Boyle, A Mackin (2-5, 2f), B Mackin; A Jones, N McKenna, T Byrne (0-1). Subs: C Sloan for M Boyle (28); S King for C Boyle (39); N O'Hara for McKenna (56).

REFEREE: Gavin Corrigan (Down).


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