St Thomas' claim senior B title after goalfest against lacklustre Clarinbridge

St Thomas' Aine Keane under pressure from Ciara Murphy of Clarinbridge during the second halfAine Keane taking on Ciara Murphy. Photo: Don Soules.

St Thomas' Aine Keane under pressure from Ciara Murphy of Clarinbridge during the second halfAine Keane taking on Ciara Murphy. Photo: Don Soules.

St Thomas 5-9

Clarinbridge 2-3

At the second time of asking, St Thomas were crowned the Windows and Rooflights LTD Senior B Champions for 2023 after they overcame Clarinbridge in a sun drenched Duggan Park on Sunday. St Thomas were the outstanding side of the contest, netting five goals on their way to the victory while it was a below par performance from Clarinbridge who only managed one score from play throughout the contest.

It took seven minutes for the first score of the game to be registered. Both sides missed scoring opportunities in the opening few minutes but it was Carrie Dolan who went on a run through the heart of the St Thomas defence on the 7th minute, Dolan laid the ball off to Niamh Niland and Niland from a tight angle stuck the ball in the back of the St Thomas net. This goal seemed to spark St Thomas into life as they went on to score 2-3 in an 11 minute period.

A long ball in found Áine Keane on the 10th minute. Keane took on the Clarinbridge defence. Advantage was being played for Keane as she was fouled on her way in but she managed to get the ball off to the support runner Lorraine Coen and Coen stuck the ball in the back of the net to bring the sides level. Keane replied with point a point from play and a point from a free. Then on the 18th minute a long ball in by Amy Caulfield was lobbed in over the head of the oncoming Abbey Massey and Massey picked the ball first time and stuck it in the back of the net for their second major of the day.

Caulfield followed up with a point from the sidelines on the 21st minute to extend her sides lead even further. Dolan registered Clarinbridges first score in over 20 minutes when she slotted over a point. But it was St Thomas who finished the half the strongest scoring 1-2 without reply. Clarinbridge defended three shots on goal straight from the restart but Keane’s experience was to the fore as she robbed Éabha Niland of the sliother and netted her second goal of the game. Abbie Massey and Orla Mullins followed up with points for St Thomas to leave ten points between the sides on a scoreline of 3-5 to 1-1 heading into the half time break.

Clarinbridge needed to come out of the blocks firing in the second half if they were to narrow the gap. Like the first half, it was a slow start to the second half. Dolan registered the first score of the half on the 11th minute through a placed ball. Player of the match Keane was to the fore again as she slotted 1-3 without reply. She slotted over a point from play and one through a placed ball on the 43rd and 44nd minutes.

Then on the 46th minute, substitute Sandra Tannian was pushed in the square and St Thomas were awarded a penalty. Keane made no mistake in blasting the ball past Anna Kilduff in the Clarinbridge goal to extend their lead even further. A long ball in was deflected out for a 45 by Kilduff and Keane stepped up again and slotted over the resulting 45 with ten minutes remaining on the clock. Dolan was fouled in the square on the 51st minute and Clarinbridge were awarded a penalty.

Niland struck the ball past Sinead Skehill in the St Thomas net to register her second major of the day. Dolan followed up with a free for Clarinbridge but it was the champions St Thomas who finished out the game the strongest. Joint captain Coen dispossessed Kilduff on the 56th minute to get her second goal of the day while Keane struck over a fantastic long range free on the 59th to seal the victory for St Thomas as they ran out 5-9 to 2-3 on the day.

The disappointment of losing last year's final and relinquishing their lead late on in the drawn final three weeks previous really spurred on St Thomas on their way to the victory. They played with grit and determination throughout the whole game. The extra bit of experience with the likes of Keane, Coen and Heather Cooney were too the fore of the victory. Clarinbridge are a youthful side who will bounce back from the loss and push on to try and claim the title in 2024. The win means that St Thomas will be promoted to the Senior A ranks in 2024.

 

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