Eight winning players also tasted U-16 success

Published 26/11/2016 | 00:00

No fewer than eight of the St. Ibar's/Shelmalier players involved in Sunday's Minor win had also featured in two Under-16 finals earlier in the year.

Shelmalier 5-2 St.Martin's 2-8

And while defeat was their lot against St. Martin's in the camogie decider, Shelmalier retained their ladies' football championship title after a thrilling victory over the same opponents in Ballymurn.

In their previous encounter in the group stages, St. Martin's had a convincing 9-2 to 4-2 victory over the Shels girls.

Amy O'Leary opened the scoring for St. Martin's after two minutes with a point before Shels took the lead with a shot to the roof of the net by Chloe Mythen after six minutes.

The Piercestown girls were hit with another hammer blow two minutes later when captain Mikaela Lanigan finished off a well-worked move to give goalkeeper Aoife Dempsey no chance and open up a six-point lead.

Ciara O'Connor (free) and Ailis Neville with a long-range point from play exchanged scores. There was some great football played by both teams.

St. Martin's, with a strong half-back line of Anna Hennessy, Niamh Dunne and Anna Mulligan together with midfielders Clodagh Walsh and Lettie Whelan, and Orla Parle, Ciara O'Connor and Ciara Bridges involved in promising attacking moves, clawed their way back into the game with two points by Bridges after 14 and 19 minutes.

With Gemma Corrigan keeping a tight rein on Bridges and Sarah Harding-Kenny, Abbie Devereux and Molly Byrne outstanding in front of a confident goalkeeper in Finola Monahan, they found it difficult to breach the Shels defence.

Having weathered the St. Martin's storm, the Shels half-forward line of Caitlin Carroll, Lauren Murphy and Ailis Neville were posing problems for the St. Martin's defence with their ability to win possession and run at their opponents.

The Shels inside line of Chloe Mythen, Mikaela Lanigan and Hannah Hearne always looked dangerous and accounted for 4-1 of their team's total despite being faced with a tight cohesive unit of Ellie Mernagh, Ella O'Connor and Fiona Esmonde which kept scores to a minimum during their periods of dominance.

Chloe Mythen increased the Shels lead when her dipping free-kick entered the net at the angle of the crossbar and upright after 28 minutes, but Ciara O'Connor replied with a similar score in added time from a free to leave Shels leading at the interval by 3-1 to 1-4.

Ciara O'Connor opened the second-half scoring with a pointed free after 35 minutes.

St. Martin's were awarded a penalty after 41 minutes following a footblock.

Bridges saw her spot kick well saved by Finola Monahan but quickly followed up the rebound to give the Piercestown girls the lead for the first time since early in the opening half. Bridges added a point after 45 minutes to increase their lead to two points.

With Catríona Kinsella and Aine Fitzgerald having an increasing influence on the game for the Over the Water side, Mikaela Lanigan burst her way past the Martin's defence for a goal after 52 minutes to regain the lead, and this was quickly followed by a fine Mythen point. Lauren Murphy netted a move involving Neville, Hearne, Fitzgerald and Kinsella after 57 minutes to open up a five-point lead.

St. Martin's upped the tempo again in an all-out effort to save the game.

They exerted pressure on the Shels defence with some strong football from Ann Mulligan, Lettie Whelan, Clodagh Walsh, Amy O'Connor and Ciara Bridges, but with sisters Nicole and Sarah Harding-Kenny along with Alison Doyle, Gemma Corrigan, Molly Byrne and Abbie Devereux clearing their lines, they found scores hard to come by.

Ciara O'Connor pointed after 63 minutes when Finola Monahan turned her dipping shot over the bar.

They had three wides under pressure before Ciara Bridges pointed after 70 minutes for St. Martin's final score.

The Shelmalier players and supporters greeted the final whistle with great scenes of excitement having captured their eleventh title at this grade.

Shelmalier: Finola Monahan; Abbie Devereux, Nicole Harding-Kenny, Alison Doyle; Gemma Corrigan, Sarah Harding-Kenny, Molly Byrne; Catríona Kinsella, Aine Fitzgerald; Caitlin Carroll, Lauren Murphy (1-0), Ailis Neville (0-1); Chloe Mythen (2-1), Mikaela Lanigan (capt., 2-0), Hannah Hearne. Subs. - Ciara Banville, Nicole Murphy, Abby Gillen, Andrea Fielding, Aoibhe Murphy, Aoife Doyle.

St. Martin's: Aoife Dempsey; Ellie Mernagh, Ella O'Connor, Fiona Esmonde; Anna Hennessy, Niamh Dunne, Anna Mulligan; Clodagh Walsh, Lettie Whelan; Amy O'Leary (0-1), Ciara O'Connor (1-3), Claire Barrett; Orla Parle Ciara Bridges (1-4), Aisling Alouf. Subs. - Chloe Doyle, Peig Busher-O'Sullivan, Aoife O'Connor, Aoife Bridges, Sarah Hobbert, Niamh Cullen, Louiza Donnelly, Lauren McLoughlin, Eleana Sinnott, Abby Mulligan.

Referee: Niall McDonald (Crossabeg-Ballymurn).

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