St Joseph’s jumping for joy

St Joseph’s, Castlebar 5-13

Coláiste Dun Íascaigh,

Cahir 0-8

The crescendo of noise that engulfed Pairc Clann na Gael in Johnstown, Roscommon, let everyone know that this was definitely an All Ireland football final day. St Joseph’s Castlebar travelled in their droves to the east Roscommon outpost to see their side charge to the school’s second All Ireland senior title in the space of three years under the guidance of Fr Mike Murphy and Cora Staunton. The icing was put on the cake four minutes into injury time when Orla Conlon swept a cross field ball-cum shot into the top corner of the net to hit her side’s fifth goal of the evening. This was quickly followed up by two points from Olivia Tolster and Kathryn Sullivan to round off a wonderful evening for the girls from St Joseph’s.

Before the ball was even thrown in both sets of supporters were battling in the stand with their various chants and songs. The Castlebar school came out on top as they did for the rest of the evening on the field. After a couple of early nervous wides from the Castlebar girls, they found themselves a point behind after three minutes when Eimear Myles landed a point for the Tipperary school, but from the fifth minute on St Joseph’s took control. Oliva Tolster landed a point followed by two more quick minors from Rebecca Conway and another from player of the game Kathryn Sullivan before Tolster hit the first goal of the game. Sullivan won a kick out, charged forward, and dropped a shot which Nicola Armitage couldn’t control and Tolster nipped in to finish to the back of the net.

Early scores set up the win

The Cahir school came back into the contest after 10 ten minute mark, but their inability to convert scoring chances into scores on the board cost them all evening and led to the vast difference on the scoreboard come full time. The next score of the game was St Joseph’s second goal of the evening. Niamh Cunningham and Kathryn Sullivan combined well out on the left to create the chance for Rebecca Conway to finish off the deck to put her side 2-4 to 0-1 up after 21 minutes. Caroline Ormsby clipped over another point shortly after to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Coláiste Dun Íascaigh managed to get a couple of scores on the board through a brace of Edith Carroll points and another from Ann Marie O’Gorman which their overall play in the first half deserved. But any real chance of a comeback was but to bed right on half time. First Olivia Tolster scored a point from a very tight angle out the right, then right on the whistle she grabbed her second goal of the game when she pounced on a loose ball inside the penalty area to leave her side 3-6 to 0-4 up at the turn around.

Supreme second half from St Joseph’s

The half time break saw more singing and chanting from the Castlebar school’s supporters and they were rewarded for their encouragement right from the throw in to the terminal period. Kathryn Sullivan, who won the ball from the throw in, charged down field and hit a superb point on the run, Edith Carroll hit back for their opponents but it was all in vain as two minutes in Sullivan kept her head to land a free from distance to ensure that her side kept their large advantage on the board. Two more quick fire points from Sullivan and Orla Conlon extended the lead even more, five minutes into the half, before the Cahir girls could find their groove after the break. Ann Marie O’Gorman landed a point for her side, but with 20 minutes left in the half Niamh Cunningham hit goal number four for St Joseph’s. Orla Conlon cut a dash towards goal and when her options were closed down she chose the smart option of playing in the free to Cunningham who smashed the ball to the back of the net, it was really game over at this stage. Cahir, to their credit, never gave up but St Joseph’s were just too strong in key areas all over the park with Aisling Grealis commanding her full back line well all evening. Aisling Towey and Mary Naughton were solid in the half back line, while Sullivan and Aisling Lydon marshalled the middle third very well throughout. Up front five of the starting six forwards managed to get their name on the scoresheet to demonstrate that they weren’t over reliant on any one player. When the final whistle was blown the supporters of St Joseph’s took over the pitch to start the celebrations that carried on long into the night in Castlebar.

St Joseph’s: Laura Walsh; Aoife Healy, Aisling Grealis, Colette Ryan; Mary Naughton, Aisling Towey, Shona Conway; Aisling Lydon, Kathryn Sullivan (0-5, 2f ); Rebecca Conway (1-2 ), Caroline Ormsby (0-1 ), Orla Conlon (1-1 ); Niamh Cunningham (1-1 ), Niamh Moylette, Olivia Tolster (2-3 ). Subs: Maria Walsh for Niamh Cunningham (57 mins ), Regina Durcan for Aoife Healy (60 mins ), Regina Durcan for Shona Conway (60 mins ), Ita Heneghan for Mary Naughton (63 mins ), Aisling Walsh for Rebecca Conway (63 mins ).

Coláiste Dun Íascaigh: Nicola Armitage; Bronagh Higgins, Emma Sweeney, Aisling Condon; Jane O’Donnell, Samantha Lambert, Dawn Doolan; Olivia McCarthy, Eimear Myles (0-1 ); Niamh Myles, Ann Marie O’Gorman (0-3,2f ), Edith Carroll (0-2,2f ); Aisling O’Connor, Michelle Walsh, Kelly Maher. Subs: Emma Buckley for Eimear Myles (13 mins, blood sub ), Eimear Myles for Dawn Doolan (22 mins ), Ruth Cummins for Aisling Condon (41 mins ), Sarah Fahy for Nicola Armitage (49 mins ), Siobhan Heffernan for Ann Marie O’Gorman (60 mins ).

Ref: Des McEnery (Westmeath ).


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