Brave St Killian’s effort comes up just short

Fr Davies’ Cup final – Ulster Schools’ Camogie

St Catherine’s Armagh 3-11 St Killian’s Garron Tower 4-6

A goal from a Leanne Donnelly penalty nine minutes into the second half of this enthralling Fr Davies’ Cup final in Magherafelt last evening turned the tide in favour of St Catherine’s Armagh who went on to collect their first provincial title at this level.

Up until that point St Killian’s were the team in control, a snap goal in the opening minute of the second half from Niamh Conlon giving the north Antrim school a lead of eight points.

However St Catherine’s, with the wind on their backs for the second half gained momentum from the penalty strike and pinned St Killian’s into their own half for the next 20 minutes before a late surge from the Antrim girls almost snatched victory in injury time.

Overall however the better team won. St Catherine’s had dangerous forwards in captain Donnelly, Casey Mullan and Catherine Muldoon, while Caella Casey and Clara O’Kane excelled in the second half.

St Killian’s though left it all on the pitch with Ellen Hynds, Caoimhe McNaughton, Maria McKenna and Beth McAuley super in defence and leadership up front from Siobhan McKillop that brought the best out of the younger players around her.

After 20 minutes things looked to be going to the form-book with St Catherine’s leading by 0-3 to 0-2 despite playing into the stiff breeze.

Then McKillop chased a lost cause around midfield, won possession and off-loaded to Méabh Allen, who fired first time from 45 metres and the pace of the sliotar saw it glance off a stick into the net.

In the next attack, Niamh Conlon forced a goal from close range and although Leanne Donnelly and Catherine Muldoon came back with points each, St Killian’s finished the half strongly with two frees from Ellen Leech and two from play from Siobhan McKillop to turn over with a 2-6 to 0-6 lead.

Katie Convie started the second half promisingly with an Armagh point, but a fine cross cum shot from Louise Kane was forced home at the near post by Niamh Conlon and St Killian’s were back in the groove and they contained St Catherine’s until that 39th minute penalty opened the flood-gates.

Faye Fitzpatrick goaled soon after and then St Catherine’s went ahead with a goal from Katie Convie on the left wing.

Leeanne Donnelly pointed three times as Armagh sought to close the game out. However St Killian’s came back strongly with a goal forced home by Méabh Allen and had a couple of half chances in injury time before the clock ran out on them and St Catherine’s could celebrate a first journey into the All-Ireland senior championship.

St Catherine’s : B Hughes, C O’Kane, C Casey, C McKenna, A McCreesh, E Lavery, A McMahon, K Convie 1-1, O O’Kane, C Donnelly, A Barrett, F Fitzpatrick 1-0, C Mullan 0-2, C Muldoon 0-3, L Donnelly 1-5, 1-0 pen, 0-4 frees.

St Killian’s : O Donnelly, G Black, M McKillop, M McKenna, B McAuley, E Hynds capt., C McNaughton, E Leech 0-2 frees, N Donnelly 0-1, A McNeill, S McKillop 0-2, M Allen 1-1, N Conlon 2-0, S McDonnell, L Kane.

Subs : M O’Hara for L Kane.

Referee : Sean McGuigan (Slaughtneil)

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