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Epic contest between Ballinteer and Cuala


Grace O'Shea was in flying form for Ballinteer St John's

Grace O'Shea was in flying form for Ballinteer St John's

Grace O'Shea was in flying form for Ballinteer St John's

BALLINTEER St John’s 2-17; Cuala 3-14. A draw in the Go-Ahead Dublin Senior 2 Camogie Championship final at the Iveagh Grounds on Sunday afternoon. The second helping can’t come quickly enough.

A game that nobody deserved to lose. It had everything. Pace, skill, courage, crunching tackles, broken hurleys, breath-taking scores, and admirable sportswomanship.

It did more than justice to one of Dublin’s old sporting theatres. Once the playground of the Guinness workers. Where Ronnie Delany ran.

But, maybe, not as fast as the yellow sliotar in this engrossing spectacle that attracted a big crowd to Crumlin Road. The venue bouncing with colour and flags. And mini-games at the break. 

There was a neat programme. The coffee kiosk was busy. The County Board passed around plates of sandwiches.

The climate was perfect. A little dull, but no rain. A wind whispered across the lush turf. Which saw the tussle being level nine times, six times before the break.

On the back wall, somebody, a long-time ago, had painted Happy Xmas. And what a gift these two teams gave.

Ballinteer so swift of movement. The pure striking of Amy Burke, the speed of Grace O’Shea and Eleanor Aherne.

The Hyde Road side displayed such heart. Especially when it looked like St John’s were gaining control. Maria Buckley made a couple of valuable saves, while centre half-back Hannah O’Dea was outstanding and Sinéad Wylde inspirational.

The Marlay club led by 1-10 to 1-7 at the interval. Jennifer Dunne’s dipping effort produced the first goal in the 16th minute at the pavilion end.

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On the half-hour Louise O’Shea struck a sweet goal for St John’s. Aoife Kelly quickly added a point to give them their half-time advantage.

The opening two points of the restart came from the impressive Louise O’Shea. Ballinteer ahead by five points. Back came Cuala. A Dunne point and three successive frees from Loren Fenlon.

The excitement grew. The action resembling a see-saw. They were level on 1-14 each before Juliette O’Flynn scored Cuala’s second goal in the 46th minute.

The excellent Aherne then ticked over two frees before Sarah Meagher rattled the cobwebs – Ballinteer ahead by two points as the clock struck the hour.

Immediately, Cuala’s Sinéad Murphy raced up the field, and stole past the cover, like Eoin Murchan, to steer in Cuala’s third goal. Cuala leading by a point.

Before the artful Aherne, from play, ensured another day out. And everybody was grateful to her for that.

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