Slaney Gaels triumph after hugely exciting final
Two first-half goals set up Slaney Gaels for an historic four-point victory over Buffers Alley in this hugely exciting Enniscorthy Guardian Under-16 camogie Roinn 1 championship final at Innovate Wexford Park on Wednesday.
Both sides utilised the excellent conditions to serve up an exciting game, particularly through the second 30 minutes, a period that produced some outstanding individual displays.
The play was fast and direct, with excellent catching and striking, but even despite two excellent defensive set-ups the forwards still managed to fashion and execute some top-class scores.
From the start both sides set out their stall with a series of strong attacks as Kasey Mahon opened the scoring after just one minute for the Rapparees/Marshalstown outfit with a pointed free.
With Anna Doyle becoming prominent at centre-back, the Alley response was swift. Just three minutes in their 'keeper, Rachel O'Leary, produced a great double save from Becky Walsh and a rebound effort from Sarah Doyle.
Then it was the turn of the Alley to mount a series of attacks, one which produced a sixth-minute goal from the ever-impressive Megan O'Brien, with midfielder Megan Cahill adding a pointed free. Fine midfield play from Emma Lacey began to lay a platform for Slaney Gaels, leaving Becky Walsh to reduce the deficit with a fine individual point, while an Erin Kenny point made it 1-1 to 0-3 at the end of the opening quarter.
The Alley responded as Aoife Whelan pointed, but in the six-minute lead-up to the break, Becky Walsh crashed home an excellent goal, followed by a great finish from Emma Lacey which left them leading by 2-3 to 1-3 at the interval.
The tempo of the game picked up considerably on the resumption as Eimear Byrne and Becky Walsh points increased their side's lead to 2-6 to 1-3 inside seven minutes of the re-start.
Consecutive points from Megan O'Brien and Anna Doyle frees reduced the deficit to three (2-6 to 1-6) with eight minutes remaining. However, the respective defences stood tall in the closing minutes with the Slaney Gaels outfit securing victory with a Chloe Davis point four minutes from the end.
Slaney Gaels: Niamh Finn; Gina Murphy, Kathleen Redmond, Lucy Kehoe; Lauren Finn, Siobhán Fanning, Anna Flood; Chloe Davis (0-1), Emma Lacey (1-0); Erin Kenny (0-1), Aideen Byrne, Eimear Byrne (0-1); Kasey Mahon (0-1 free), Becky Walsh (0-3), Sarah Doyle. Subs: Méadhbh Farrell for Kehoe, Bonnie Kinnaird for Doyle, Taylor Kinnaird for Redmond, Eimear Ryan for Kenny, also Anna Morris.
Buffers Alley: Rachel O'Leary; Eimear Morris, Niamh Whelan, Chloe Harney; Sinéad Furlong, Anna Doyle (0-2 frees), Niamh O'Connor; Marina Mordaunt, Megan Cahill (0-1 free); Ally Byrne, Megan O'Brien (1-2), Aoife Whelan (0-1); Eimear Byrne, Paula Lyons, Saoirse O'Connor. Subs. - Becky Kavanagh for N. Whelan, Sarah Mordaunt for E. Byrne, Amy Mitten for S. O'Connor, Ciara Doyle for Lyons, also Kathy Mordaunt, Aoife Doyle, Eleanor Hammel, Andrea Kinsella, Sophie Phillips.
Ref: Philip Murphy