Joy for Our Lady of Lourdes
An Oonagh Doyle-inspired Our Lady of Lourdes side battled their way past St. Augustine's College (Dungarvan) to claim an historic first All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior 'D' camogie championship title in the W.I.T. complex, Carriganore, on Sunday.
Our Lady of Lourdes 2-7 St. Augustine's 1-3
The relatively small Rosbercon school, which caters for 380 students, had a fairytale run to the final but were pushed to their limit by a determined Dungarvan outfit. Indeed, they trailed early in the second-half, following Kaiesha Tobin's point, but never looked back thereafter.
There were heroines all over the pitch for OLOL. Elizabeth Phelan in goal made several vital stops, while the full-back line was tactically astute and resolute, knowing when to squeeze in and when to get the hurls in and win dirty ball.
The half-back line, marshalled by captain Mairéad O'Shea, assisted by Aisling Cullen and the classy Darcy Bolger, was probably their side's strongest segment on the field while the midfield duo of Sarah O'Sullivan and Aimee Hanrahan worked tirelessly to feed the front six.
In attack Doyle was tremendous, the best player on the park, but when vital goals were needed those around her were willing and able to pop up with crucial involvements that proved the difference between winning and losing.
The Rosbercon girls got the perfect start when Bolger's long ball into the Dungarvan goalmouth was pulled towards goal by Annie Kirwan, and her stroke picked out Sinéad Lanigan who forced the ball over the line with a determined swish of her hurl.
That opening minute goal was cancelled out by St. Augustine's seven minutes later when Molly Curran dropped a tantalising 40-metre free right under the crossbar and into the goal to tie the contest.
Another Curran free gave her side the lead but Oonagh Doyle ensured the teams finished the opening quarter level after she picked up a loose clearance 35 metres from goal and slotted between the uprights (1-1 apiece).
Dungarvan took their second lead when Curran converted her third score from a dead-ball. Hannah Moran fired across the face of the posts when looking for the equaliser but it did arrive in the 22nd minute when Doyle popped over a free after she was fouled.
While St. Augustine's had the better of it territorially up to then, Our Lady of Lourdes turned the tables towards the end of the period and were unlucky not to go in at the interval ahead.
Both Alison Foskin and Aimee Hanrahan went close to putting their school in the lead as time ticked away but in the end the Ross girls had to settle for a 1-2 each tie at half-time.
The break came at the wrong time for OLOL and Dungarvan took advantage. The dangerous Tobin gave her side the lead but they failed to muster another score as their opponents locked down their attacking options.
Doyle and Foskin attacked but were ushered out from goal in the 36th minute, but soon Doyle nabbed her second point after a long, searching pass from Bolger. Dungarvan's best move of the game ended with Phelan saving from Siobhán Morrissey, meaning the sides were still level after 45 minutes.
However, there was only one team in it in the final quarter as Our Lady of Lourdes' superior fitness and technique eventually told. Doyle nailed a '45 to give her side their first lead since the eighth minute and doubled their advantage with a lovely score in the 51st.
Another picture-perfect Doyle score, this time from a Hanrahan pass, made it 1-6 to 1-3 with eight minutes remaining.
The killer score followed a short time later when Foskin's pass was pulled on by Moran, and the sliothar stopped on the line but Annie Kirwan was on hand to force it to the net.
County Minor Doyle added the cherry in the final minute with her seventh point of the afternoon before jubilant scenes greeted the final whistle as the Our Lady of Lourdes squad and mentors, Séamus Hearne and Marian Ryan, celebrated a memorable success for their school.
Our Lady Of Lourdes: Elizabeth Phelan; Laura Hackett, Rachel Buckley, Niamh Higgins; Asiling Cullen, Mairéad O'Shea (capt.), Darcy Bolger; Sarah O'Sullivan, Aimee Hanrahan; Oonagh Doyle (0-7, 1 free, 1 '45), Alison Foskin, Hannah Moran; Sinéad Lanigan (1-0), Annie Kirwan (1-0), Eimear O'Shea. Subs. - Chloe Mullally for Higgins (47), Rhys Hogan for O'Shea (49), also Jennifer Dollard, Lauren Dollard, Amy Hogan, Michelle Kinsella, Oonagh Murphy, Eimear Lyons, Siobhán Cummins, Clodagh Knox, Fiona O'Shea, Ciara Corish.
St. Augustine's College: Shauna McGrath; Kristen O'Connor, Sarah Morrissey, Sibeal Duggan; Megan Phelan, Megan Dunford, Rachel Donnelly; Dáiríní Ní Sheanlaoich, Caoimhe Dwyer; Catherine Hahessy, Molly Curran (capt., 1-2, 1-1 frees, 0-1 '45), Aisling O'Connor; Siobhán Morrissey, Kaiesha Tobin (0-1), Aoife O'Neill. Sub. - Róise Ní Mhuirí for O'Neill (41).
Referee: Gerry McGough (Dublin).