Coláiste an Chraoibhín 4-8
Scoil Pól Kilfinane 1-5
It was cold, it was wet, it was blustery but at the full time whistle it was oh so sweet as the Coláiste Ladies Senior Team captured the Munster Football Plate title at Mannix Charleville. Backed by a hardy band of dedicated supporters who braved the near artic conditions the girls put on an exhibition of attack play in the second half to take the spoils in a hard fought encounter. Having lost the toss we were to play into the elements in the first half and braced ourselves for the Limerick onslaught that was soon to materialise. Kilfinane launched wave after wave of attack backed by the dying embers of Hurricane Jake but were met with equally resolute defending by the Coláiste rear-guard. Marshalled by Rachel O’Flynn at full back and her two able deputies in the corners Emily Nolan and Mary Sheehan the girls in blue kept out each and every challenge that came their way hassling to great effect and forcing errors from their opponents. On the rare occasion that they were breached it was left to Sarah Murphy to mop up, a job at which she is most adept. Eventually however the levy broke and Kilfinane found their way through to notch the first score of the game after a clever move to find the back of the net. Coláiste’s response was imminent and resounding after a sweeping move saw midfielder Danielle Carroll race through to finish neatly to the net. With their tails up the girls began to spread their wings a bit and within three minutes they had pierced the Kilfinane defences again to leave Katie Culligan staring at an open goal, a second invite was not required as the Fermoy woman rattled the net to put Coláiste ahead. This was to be the end of our dominance for most of the half as Kilfinane responded in fine form to play the better football. They registered four points in a row to retake the lead. The damage could have been much worse however but Coláiste remained disciplined in their tackling to make sure that any score was well earned by the Limerick side. The highlight of this defensive effort was a sequence from Kelly Parker who performed three consecutive block downs to frustrate the efforts of Scoil Pól with a fantastic display of commitment. As half time approached the crucial score of the game came. Ciara Sheehan scythed through the heart of the Kilfinane defence before offloading to Tammy O’Regan, she played a measured pass to the onrushing Orla Shealy who made no mistake in rifling the ball to the roof of the net right on the stroke of half time. This score put us two points up, against the run of play with a strong gale at our backs in the second half.
On the resumption of the second half it was a different Coláiste who came out all guns blazing. The intent was there from the start with the inspirational Cáit McCarthy soaring to claim the throw in to start the first attack. Five unanswered scores in a blitz of pressure sealed the title for the Coláiste as our opponents struggled to get out of their half such was the appetite of the girls in sky blue. Danielle got us up and running with a point followed by similar scores from Tammy and Ciara. It was Anna Greaney who put the nail in the Kilfinane coffin however as she latched onto a loose ball in the square to poke home to put Coláiste into what would turn out to be an unassailable lead. Orla added another point to confirm the Fermoy side’s dominance. Kilfinane to their immense credit refused to throw in the towel and continued to launch attacks at our defence coming away with a pointed free from close range. This was to be their only score of the half as Coláiste fittingly battened down the hatches and played on the counter. Most Kilfinane attacks were quelled by our magnificent outside defensive unit of Player of the Match Aisling Healy, Aisling Nolan and Bláithín O’Keeffe who were carefully screened by Cáit in midfield. Coláiste were happy to soak up the pressure and catch their opponents on the counter resulting in a point by substitute Maeve Sheehan. As the final whistle went there was jubilation from the girls who narrowly lost County Final last year in heart-breaking fashion. Captain Tammy O’Regan accepted the brand new trophy and Aisling Healy accepted her player of the match award to wild cheers from their teammates.
Team: Sarah Murphy (Bride Rovers) Emily Nolan (Castlelyons) Rachael O’Flynn (Bride Rovers) Mary Sheehan (Watergrasshill) Bláithín O’Keeffe (St Catherines) Aisling Nolan (Castlelyons) Aisling Healy (Fermoy) Danielle Carroll (Fermoy) Cáit McCarthy (Castlelyons) Anna Greaney (Castlelyons) Ciara Sheehan (Watergrasshill) Kelly Parker (Fermoy) Katie Culligan (Fermoy) Tamara O’Regan (Glanworth) Orla Shealy (Kildorrery) Sinead O’Callaghan (St Catherines) Wiktoria Biedron (Fermoy) Maeve Sheehan (Watergrasshill) Sinead Fenton (Fermoy) Emily Thomson (Castlelyons) Paige Gibberd (Glanworth) Hannah Healy (Watergrasshill) Niamh Sheehan (Watergrasshill) Cliodhna Carroll (Fermoy) Caitlin Gallagher (Glanworth) Leanne Loftus (Watergrasshill)