Fr Davies’ Cup final
St Killian’s Garron Tower 4-4 St Patrick’s Keady 2-9
A GOOD start to each half was the key factor in St Killian’s Garron Tower edging out St Patrick’s Keady in a thrilling Fr Davies Cup final in the Dub on Saturday.
The Antrim side scored a point and then a goal right at the start of each half and withstood tremendous pressure from the south Armagh girls to come out winners by a single point.
This was a tough physical encounter played on a heavy pitch in blustery conditions and both teams gave everything with St Killian’s just getting the breaks to always look the more likely winners.
Leah McGoldrick, Orla Young, Ciara Hill and free-taker Aimee Brennan were impressive for Keady, but despite that they created few goal chances and relied heavily on frees from Brennan.
St Killian’s were well set up defensively to deal with the threat that Keady had carried through the competition and, although they conceded a number of frees, when on the attack they were able to get inside the cover and threaten goal.
The middle third did the hard work to contain Keady with Clodagh McCann, Dervla Cosgrove and Laoise McKenna shining and full-forward Siobhan McKillop very dangerous in possession.
It was McKillop who opened the scoring with a point from a narrow angle in the second minute and a few minutes later she picked up a long delivery from Clodagh McCann to release Dara Martin for a goal.
St Killian’s could have added to their total despite playing into the breeze, such was their work-rate, but eventually at the start of the second quarter Keady opened their account with points from Aimee Brennan and Ciara Hill before full-forward Eimear Grimley fired in a 17th minute goal to lift her team.
Although Sinead Convery pounced for a Garron Tower goal shortly after, the rest of the half belonged to Keady with Orla Vallely robbing the ‘keeper in the 21st minute to find the net.
With Aimee Brennan adding four frees, the Armagh side turned around to face the breeze 2-6 to 2-3 ahead.
St Killian’s needed a quick response and they got it. Although Siobhan McKillop missed the pick up when sent through on goal, she recovered to fire over a point inside 30 seconds of the re-start.
That was followed in the 32nd minute by a goal from Aimee McDonnell.
Keady upped their game in response, shutting St Killian’s out around their half-back line. The whole team worked hard to get them back in front with points from Brennan and Hill.
But then glorious length of the field score in the 42nd minute sealed the game for St Killian’s. It started with sub Gemma Black battling for possession in the corner-back position before finding Clodagh McCann, whose clearance was picked up by Siobhan McKillop and the Cushendall player fed Laoise McKenna to break the tackle and put Aimee McDonnell in one-on-one for a goal.
The Tower didn’t score after that, although they threatened and also missed two easy frees. However the defence really stood up to the test from Keady conceding just one more score, a free from Brennan, and the Cup was on its way back to north Antrim.
There is a break now until the All-Ireland semi-final, which is a home venue for St Killian’s against the Leinster champions on February 13th, but if the Tower show the same application as they did on Saturday, they could well be in for a first national title.
St Killian’s : Aine Duffin, Sian McNeill, Ellen Hynds, Cliodhna McManus, Megan McKillop, Annie Leech joint captain, Clodagh McCann, Dervla Cosgrove joint captain, Laoise McKenna, Ellen Leech, Sinead Convery 1-1, Hannah McCann, Aimee McDonnell 2-0, Siobhan McKillop 0-3 frees, Dara Martin 1-0.
Subs : Gemma Black for M McKillop, Caoilfhionn Hayden, Orlaith McAlister, Louise Kane, Caitriona Speers, Shannon O’Boyle, Niamh Conlon, Anna McQuillan, Maeve Gillan, Mary Kane.
St Patrick’s: Ciara Hawes, Gabrielle Fox, Emma Mone, Maeve Lappin, Catherine Beagan, Leah McGoldrick, Sinead McCooey, Emer Smyth, Orla Young, Ciara Hill 0-2, Aimee Brennan 0-7 frees, Hannah Hughes, Orla Vallely 1-0, Eimear Grimley 1-0, Rose-Ellen Carville.
Subs : Aisling Harvey for G Fox, Aaisling Taylor for S McCooey, Jordan Carr for R-E Carville.
Referee : Joe Baldwin (Down).
Fr Davies’ Cup final