Kelly points way to glory

Marshalstown pip St. Anne’s

Dean Goodison

Published 12/11/2016 | 00:00

Catherine Kelly receives the cup from Melanie Ní Dhuinn
Catherine Kelly receives the cup from Melanie Ní Dhuinn
Marshalstown celebrate their Junior 'B' championship success

Ellen Kelly's four second-half points propelled Marshalstown past St. Anne's to Junior 'B' camogie championship glory in Bunclody.

Marshalstown 1-9 St. Anne's 1-7

It was a hard-earned success for the champions, who were made fight all the way to the last puck of the game by their resilient Rathangan opponents.

The winning of the contest for Marshalstown was their greater skill level. Right through their team the champions boast quality on the ball, they didn't waste opportunities and were teak tough in the tackle.

St. Anne's, on the other hand, have bundles of potential. They have such a young, promising team, a side that was on the verge of bursting out but maybe needed this experience to help their growth. Of course, there will be a pull towards football but with a little more work on their small ball game this title will be theirs to lose next season.

Becky Walsh and Ellen Kelly had the Farmleigh side two points ahead before the excellent Fiona Rochford got her side on the scoreboard.

Undoubtedly the most refreshing talent for St. Anne's was teenager Rachel Bennett. Her pace and direct running terrorised the Marshalstown defence, and she was inches away from netting when firing across goal and wide in the sixth minute.

Rochford had worked her side 0-4 to 0-3 ahead by the 20th minute, only for Catherine Kelly to get on the end of a Becky Walsh long ball and pull past Dee Cunningham.

However, St. Anne's hit back two minutes later when Rochford's shot from distance beat Mairéad Doyle.

Despite scores from Caoimhe Denton and Kelly, St. Anne's were able to go in at the interval level-pegging after Rochford pointed a late free after yet another foul on the almost unmarkable Rachel Bennett (1-5 each).

The first eight minutes of the second-half proved to be vital. Marshalstown scored three times with Kelly notching them all. The first two were assisted by Becky Walsh and the third came from a free after a foul on Aoife Hennessy.

A stop-start half didn't suit St. Anne's but they slowly got their mojo back. After Alannah Finnegan was felled, Rochford pointed.

Bursting away on goal, Rachel Bennett flashed narrowly over the crossbar with eight minutes remaining.

Kelly made it 1-9 to 1-7 a minute later with another classy point. St. Anne's bombarded the Marshalstown goal in the final few minutes, and Rochford floated two efforts wide from long range as the game ticked towards added-time.

The Wexford District club chose to start dropping frees in as the game ticked into the 60th minute. The strategy was bold but didn't pay off.

St. Anne's had three dead-balls in scoring positions but got nothing out of them as Marshalstown defended superbly to cling on and claim the Junior 'B' crown.

Marshalstown: Mairéad Doyle; Lauren Finn, Theresa Davis, Caitríona Kehoe; Mairéad Whelan, Emma Leacy, Donna Byrne; Caoimhe Denton (0-1), Chloe Davis; Ellen Kelly (0-6, 2 frees, 1 pen.), Catherine Kelly (1-0), Aoife Doyle; Aoife Hennessy, Becky Walsh (0-2), Laura Creane. Subs. - Alma Morris for Creane (43), Lucy Kehoe for Hennessy (50), also Elaine Ryan, Ailish O'Connor, Claire Roche, Brenda Byrne, Evelyn Morris, Anna Walsh.

St. Anne's: Dee Cunningham; Annie Breen, Nicola Cullen, Mairéad White; Martha Rochford, Marica Cullen, Trina Gaul; Fiona Rochford (capt., 1-6, 0-4 frees), Niamh Crosbie; Lorraine Breen, Ann Marie Bennett, Fiona Bennett; Deirdre Sheil, Rachel Bennett (0-1), Alannah Finnegan. Subs. - Triona Kelly for Sheil (39), also Joanne Jordan, Grace Heffernan, Sabhdh Dearle, Clodagh Redmond, Michelle Furlong, Louise Walsh.

Referee: Nicholas Kehoe (Cloughbawn).

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