Rosbercon march on
Little more than two weeks after a bruising Leinster final victory, Our Lady of Lourdes Senior team made the four-hour bus journey to Co. Down on Saturday. The task was to take on the Ulster champions in their back yard in the All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior 'D' camogie championship semi-final.
OLOL (Rosbercon) 4-4 St.Louis (Kilkeel) 2-3
St. Louis Grammar School from Kilkeel had come through their provincial championship with relative ease and were sure to provide stiff opposition. Albeit that Our Lady of Lourdes' difficult path through Leinster left the team somewhat battered with injuries, it helped to foster an admirable resilience and determination.
The game started with a goal for the home side within the first 30 seconds but Rosbercon remained cool, true to their colours and responded promptly with two outstanding goals from full-forward Annie Kirwan.
Most of the remainder of the first-half was dominated by the New Ross side, but some squandered scoring opportunities meant that their half-time lead was curtailed to an assailable five points.
The second-half started brightly for the ladies from the north-east as they applied lots of pressure to the New Ross defensive lines. As the second-half progressed, with Kilkeel still chasing the game, they pushed most of their players forward, opening up spaces in their defence.
A succession of beautifully fielded balls by half-forward Oonagh Doyle, playing through the pain barrier with an injury she carried into the game, set up Our Lady of Lourdes with the scores that turned the game back in their favour.
These scores proved decisive and finally buried the lingering hopes of the Mourne ladies. The final whistle illuminated, for Our Lady of Lourdes, an otherwise dark and cold day in the bleakly beautiful foothills of the snow-capped Mourne mountains.
This win yet again demonstrates the skill, determination and growing cohesiveness of this great group of ladies.
They dig deep and play for each other when backs are to the wall, attack with fluency and skill, and above all have immense hunger and desire to win.
Their team spirit is a joy to behold and with all of these attributes everyone at the school and surrounding communities believe that they can go all the way to All-Ireland success.
A massive thanks goes to the supporters who managed to make the long journey to the Attical club grounds in Co. Down. Your encouragement and very presence resonated deeply with the players and coaches.
Thanks also to the many generous individuals and businesses who sponsored the girls' day out. Your help is hugely appreciated. Thanks also to the Geraldine O'Hanrahans G.A.A. club for generously letting us use their grounds for training every week.
Next up is the All-Ireland final scheduled for March 5 against the Munster champions, St. Augustine's College from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
Our Lady of Lourdes panel: Elizabeth Phelan, Laura Hackett, Rachel Buckley, Lauren Dollard, Aishling Cullen, Mairéad O'Shea, Darcy Bolger, Sarah O'Sullivan, Aimee Hanrahan (0-1), Oonagh Doyle (0-1), Alison Foskin (0-2), Hannah Moran, Michelle Kinsella (1-0), Annie Kirwan (3-0), Eimear O'Shea, Jen Dollard, Rhys Hogan, Clodagh Knox, Amy Hogan, Niamh Higgins, Fiona O'Shea, Chloe Mullally, Sinéad Lanigan, Oonagh Murphy, Eimear Lyons, Siobhán Cummins, Ciara Corish.