It was an historic day for Salthill-Knocknacarra junior ladies produced an historic victory for the club, winning their first All-Ireland football final.
Only the second Galway club after Caltra Cuans to win this particular competition, Salthill-Knocknacarra's junior ladies prevailed over Cork’s Naomh Abán by 1-7 to 0-4.
It wa not easy, says manager Donal O’Connell: " We had a long day, early set-up, but the girls just kept their eye on the ball. They opened up a little, they were very good.
“We didn’t make it easy for ourselves for a period in the second half, but they were very good. We knew there was going to be a sting there somewhere, so I’m delighted."
Alyssa Manley’s goal in the final minute of normal time settled this contest to ensure Salthill-Knocknacarra were crowned currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Junior Ladies Football Champions in Fethard Town Park.
Naomh Abán, despite going down to 14 players after Roisin Corkery’s second yellow card, came within three points before Salthill-Knocknacarra’s winning goal.
A late change of venue meant a 90-minute delay, but it did not affect the Galway champions who opened through Kate Thompson’s point inside two minutes.
Corkery picked up her first sin-bin before Siobhan Divilly won a free which Laura Kelly converted for a second Salthill-Knocknacarra point.
Lauren O’Donnell converted their third on 12 minutes, and although they let some opportunities slip, Donal O’Connell’s team continued applying pressure and doubled their advantage by the break.
Thompson added the next two points, the first from play thanks to a Manley assist; the second from a free after Divilly was fouled.
Naomh Abán had three first half wides, but never seriously threatened their opponents’ goals and conceded another score before the break as Manley provided Kelly who shot just over the bar.
The Cork champions produced the perfect start to the second half with Lydia McDonagh and Corkery supplying Eimear Murphy for a point. Grace Murphy and McDonagh reduced the deficit to 0-6 to 0-3 on 48 minutes, but a couple of other chances went a begging, while Salthill-Knocknacarra added their seventh point through Kelly.
Grace Murphy responded to leave it 0-7 to 0-4, and there was no hope for the Cork outfit after Thompson and O’Donnell set up Manley for a finishing goal.
Salthill-Knocknacarra: L Carroll; A Mullen, E Madden, O De Bairead; S Donnellan, Z Rather, R Reddington; S Divilly, A Finnerty; L Kelly, L O’Donnell, K Thompson; D O’Connell, A Manley, A Nash. Subs: D Brennan for Reddington (58 ), A Kelly for Divilly (60 ), M Mulligan for Madden (60 ).
Naomh Abán: L Hughes; U Twohig, M Dineen, A Creedon; E Kelly, R Corkery, ME Kelleher; A McDonagh, G Lucey; A Hoare, E Murphy, C Phelan; G Murphy, L McDonagh, A Maher. Subs: J Kelly for Maher (35 ), C Murphy for Phelan (50 ).
Referee: S Mulvihill (Kerry ).