Monday 21 October 2019

Lettie on scoring spree

The all-conquering St. Martin's squad
The all-conquering St. Martin's squad
The runners-up from St. Ibar's/Shelmalier

Dean Goodison

Sometimes a team is just too good for their grade, but unfortunately there's nowhere else this St. Martin's side can go after they stormed past St. Ibar's/Shelmalier to the Under-16 Premier camogie championship title in Páirc Charman.

St. Martin's 4-22 St. Ibar's/Shelmalier 0-1

The scoreline pretty much says it all. All over field the victors were superb but their spine was completely dominant. From Niamh Dunne, peerless at full-back, through the sensational Anna Hennessy into midfield, St. Martin's were relentless.

Ciara O'Connor played the playmaker role to perfection, proving to be a superb foil to the irrepressible Lettie Whelan in full-forward. The St. Martin's scorer-in-chief actually missed a couple of tricky frees early on but such is her mental strength, she made several harder ones as the game wore on.

Most teams would play someone of Whelan's skills deeper but, such is the wealth of talent in this St. Martin's side, they can easily afford to have her finishing the moves that the players behind her work tirelessly to create.

It took the champs a little while to warm up to the task. The Hollymount girls gave it their all from the start and trailed by just 0-3 to nil after the opening quarter on the back of Whelan, Amy O'Leary and Ciara Bridges scores.

However, things slowly started to open up for the Piercestown-based club.

Aisling Alouf and Ella O'Connor registered, Ciara O'Connor scored a super point, and Whelan added seven second quarter minors to increase the half-time advantage to 0-13 to nil.

Aisling Alouf saw a shot saved from tight on the right of goal in the 32nd minute, but when St. Ibar's/Shelmalier couldn't clear their lines, Whelan was fouled and she dispatched the penalty past Sarah Whelan's three-girl goal-line.

It was 1-16 to nil when the team in black and amber got their only score from an Ailis Neville free, after she was fouled.

Almost angered by conceding, St. Martin's marched up the other end and Whelan flashed her second major to the top corner after Siobhán Alouf found her alone on the left of goal.

Alouf was provider again four minutes later when Anna Mulligan clipped a nice strike past the St. Ibar's/Shelmalier stopper to make it 3-17 to 0-1.

Their opponents went closest to a goal when Neville pulled wide after Caitlin Carroll's long free fell at her feet with eleven minutes remaining.

St. Martin's were able to introduce substitutes with the quality of Ellie Mernagh - she scored a lovely point from an acute angle on the right to make it 3-19 to 0-1.

Deep in added time Lettie Whelan completed a sensational individual performance with her hat-trick goal, her tally of 3-13 one that will live in the memory for quite some time for those who witnessed it.

St. Martin's: Hannah Quirke; Aine Coleman, Niamh Dunne, Fiona Esmonde; Alannah Davis, Anna Hennessy, Clodagh Walsh; Ella O'Connor (capt., 0-2), Ciara Bridges (0-1); Amy O'Leary (0-1), Ciara O'Connor (0-3), Anna Mulligan (1-0); Aisling Alouf (0-1), Lettie Whelan (3-13, 0-6 frees, 0-3 '45s, 1-0 pen.), Siobhán Alouf. Subs. - Ellie Mernagh (0-1) for A. Alouf (38), Clare Barrett for Esmonde (40), Niamh Coleman for S. Alouf (44), Aoife Dempsey for Walsh (50), Chloe Doyle for C. O'Connor (57), also Gemma Ryan, April Moran.

St. Ibar's/Shelmalier: Sarah Whelan; Abbie Devereux, Caitlin Carroll, Molly Byrne; Aine Fitzgerald, Mikaela Lanigan, Chloe Mythen; Catríona Kinsella, Ailis Neville (0-1 free); Aoife Fielding, Sarah Harding-Kenny, Hannah Hearne; Alison Doyle, Lauren Murphy, Andrea Fielding. Subs. - Nicole Harding-Kenny for Doyle (31), Amy O'Connor for Lanigan, inj. (38), Ciara Banville for Hearne (53), also Katie Feeney, Becky Halligan.

Referee: Aiden O'Brien (Cloughbawn).

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