Clonee edge classic
Ladies' Football, U16 County Championship Finals: Clonee 5-8 HWH-Bunclody 6-3
Clonee edged past HWH-Bunclody in an epic encounter to take the Roban Financial ladies' football Under-16 Division 1 crown in the Halo Tiles Ferns Centre of Excellence.
The clash of two fairly evenly-matched sides, both intent on showing attacking intent, both being allowed to play by the match official, made this contest, quite simply, one of the games of the season to date.
It was incredibly fast-paced, and neither side could claim to have had a spell of dominance. It was attack against defence, end-to-end stuff, in the purest form of the game. It was a contest these two groups should be proud of producing.
The winners were Clonee and they just about shaded it overall. While Bunclody's scores mostly came from Maeve Sinnott, the victors spread theirs around.
All the starting forwards, except early injury victim Ana Kinsella, got on the scoresheet and that says a lot about the balance of this team.
It was one of those difficult games for defences. Most battles ended up being one-on-one, since the game was so stretched, and there wasn't a comfort blanket to protect anyone.
In the end 11-11 in scores were shared between the teams. It sounds a lot but defenders won plenty of battles too.
Bunclody made the fast start with Sinnott netting the first of an incredible five majors.
Sarah Doyle and Áine Byrne replied for Clonee but a second goal for Sinnott gave her side a 2-1 to 0-2 lead after 21 minutes.
Clonee had seen their own chances come and go. Amy Tobin-Cosgrave and Nadine Fortune had gone close to netting, while Doyle saw a shot rattle the crossbar, but slowly their luck started to change.
Fortune found the net to get her side within one and, after the powerful Aoife Mahon registered a point at the other end, Áine Byrne dipped one past Alena Moore.
Points from Tobin-Cosgrave, the speedy Emma Tomkins, and Byrne gave Clonee a 2-6 to 2-2 interval lead.
Amie Dreelan goaled to move her team into an eight-point lead early in the second-half.
Twice Bunclody pulled within five with goals from Mahon and Sinnott, only for Clonee to immediately go up the other end and net through Tobin-Cosgrave and the increasingly influential Emma Tomkins.
Down by 5-7 to 4-2, Bunclody rallied. Sinnott scored her fourth goal and Aoife Farrell flashed over the crossbar before Mahon was fouled for a penalty in the 60th minute. Sinnott tucked it away to put one between the sides.
Farrell forced a save from Aoife Kinsella as the pressure mounted, but Clonee re-grouped and Sarah Doyle's injury-time point was enough to give her team a buffer as they held on to take the Division 1 crown.
Clonee: Aoife Kinsella; Karen Tomkins, Edana Mimnagh, Eimear Fitzgerald; Róisín Scallan, Lorna Fortune (capt.), Rachel Kavanagh; Eilish O'Rourke, Amie Dreelan (1-0); Áine Byrne (1-4, 0-4 frees), Emma Tomkins (1-1), Ana Kinsella; Amy Tobin-Cosgrave (1-1), Sarah Doyle (0-2), Nadine Fortune (1-0). Subs. - Aoibhe MacSweeney for Ana Kinsella, inj. (15), Orla Byrne for Fortune (34), Niamh O'Rourke for Dreelan (54), Amy Doyle for Scallan, inj. (60+3), also Shauna McGovern, Mary Claire McCrea, Cáit Byrne, Zoe Tobin-Cosgrave, Ellie Murphy, Melissa Doyle, Laura O'Sullivan, Lisa Crawte, Isabelle McGrath, Aoibheann Hayden, Rebecca Kavanagh, Katie Butler.
HWH-Bunclody: Alena Moore; Paulina Farynik, Yvonne Kelly, Naomi Kavanagh; Rachel Kehoe, Rachel Murphy (joint capt.), Jackie Kehoe; Karla Nolan, Maeve Sinnott (joint capt., 5-1, 1-0 pen., 0-1 free); Aisling Cowman, Aoife Mahon (1-1, 0-1 free), Rebecca Murphy; Deirbhile Ní Cheallaigh, Muireann Doyle, Lisa Kelly. Subs. - Aoife Farrell (0-1) for Rebecca Murphy (31), Róisín O'Sullivan for Cowman (43), also Rachel Rothwell, Rebecca O'Neill, Leah Morris, Aoife Murphy, Tracey Furlong, Laoise Kearney.
Referee: Gearóid McGrath (St. James').