Gorey taste glory
First national title comes home
A deadly double by Hayley Murphy ensured that Gorey Community School made history with a stunning first-ever All-Ireland Schools Senior 'B' camogie title in Ballykelly, Co. Kildare on Thursday.
Gorey CS 2-6 Mountbellew 1-3 All_Ireland schools Snr B Final
Talented full-forward Murphy goaled in both halves to put Holy Rosary College to the sword, but maybe the biggest impression was made by her side's defenders who allowed just one point after the eleventh minute.
The victory for the north county school was the third by a Wexford side in the last four seasons after Coláiste Bríde (2012) and St. Mary's, New Ross (2013) won in the same grade in recent years.
It also comes two years after much of the same team was beaten in the All-Ireland Junior 'C' final. Eleven of the players that started that game for Gorey in 2013 were in the first 15 last week but the result was different.
The victory is also a testament to the work of the management team of Muireann McCarthy, Mary Leacy and Fionán Casey who turned a team that lost a 'C' grade final two years earlier into a 'B' champion.
Their side didn't start like a team that would end the game as All-Ireland winners. Mountbellew opened the scoring with a breeze-aided 60-metre free from Kate Screene and doubled their lead when Catherine Finnerty registered from Aoife Thompson's pass in the eighth minute.
Things took a turn for the worse three minutes later when Screene's long ball in dropped into the lap of Ciara Mannion and she pulled past Marie Kennedy into the back of the Wexford school's net (1-2 to nil).
The sticky start from the defence might well be put down to nerves because from that moment on the back six, and goalkeeper Kennedy, were absolutely excellent.
They swarmed, flicked and swatted everything away and rarely looked like conceding.
Gorey were also helped by the fact that they scored their opening goal just a minute after they let one in at the other end. It was Donna Morrissey who did all the leg work for her side but it was Murphy who applied the bullet finish to the roof of Aileen Warde's net.
When Murphy was fouled on the left wing, Ellen Roche popped over her first free to narrow the deficit to one point and Gorey almost took the lead a minute before the interval when the full-forward was denied by Warde.
Gorey did score a late point when Catríona O'Brien, Orla Molloy and Sarah Lifely all combined to release Murphy to flash over (1-2 each), and with the breeze to follow at their backs in the second-half their confidence level would have been high at the interval.
Roche gave her side their first lead of the day in the 34th minute and Murphy went close to her second goal when she hit the side-netting just a minute later. Another Roche free following a foul on Morrissey made it 1-4 to 1-2 after eight second-half minutes.
The Roche/Murphy double team was at it again just before the end of the third quarter when the former dropped an inviting ball into the large rectangle, and Murphy was on hand to pull a shot low to the net to make it double scores (2-4 to 1-2).
Screene pointed when Muirne Kilcommins was fouled to end a 40-minute spell without a score for Holy Rosary College, but Orla Crowe responded in kind for Gorey after a good pass by Morrissey.
Screene and her side were in a desperate situation with two minutes to go and started to take every opportunity to go low for goal.
The midfielder whizzed one wide from just inside the '45, had a free blocked on a crowded goal-line, and then saw a late penalty for a foul on Kilcommins saved by Kennedy.
It was Gorey's day and they weren't going to be denied. Sarah Lifely scored a lovely point from the right wing in the last minute and the full-time whistle soon followed with wild celebrations only interrupted by Catríona O'Brien collecting the trophy on behalf of her side.
Gorey Community School: Marie Kennedy; Aoife Hughes, Róisín Egan, Aoibheann Doyle; Lorna Cushe, Doireann Kavanagh, Ciara Goland; Orla Crowe (0-1), Catríona O'Brien (capt.); Róisín Wheatley, Ellen Roche (0-3, 2 frees), Orla Molloy; Donna Morrissey, Hayley Murphy (2-1), Caoimhe Roche. Subs. - Sarah Lifely (0-1) for Wheatley (23), Lorna Whitty for C. Roche (59), also Muireann O'Connor, Niamh Donnelly.
Holy Rosary College: Aileen Warde; Julie Lyons, Nadine Connolly, Claire Kemple; Molly Mannion, Sarah Keaveney, Aine Ryan (capt.); Chloe McHugh, Kate Screene (0-2 frees); Catherine Finnerty (0-1), Karen Walsh, Aoife Thompson; Muirne Kilcommins, Ciara Mannion (1-0), Sinéad Mannion. Sub. - Claire Dunleavy for S. Mannion (40)..
Referee: Alan Lagrue (Kildare).