They may have been the dominant team for large spells but Clooney-Quin were made sweat it out as they were crowned Junior A Champions.
Alan Copley reports from Fr Murphy Memorial Park.
Venue: Fr Murphy Memorial Park, Newmarket-on-Fergus
Clooney-Quin arrived with a game plan and within thirty seconds had executed the first task on the list with a Marie Begley goal delivered to her by midfielder Orlaith Duggan. The massive opening barrage continued and despite missing a scorable free, Clooney-Quin clocked up their second goal on eight minutes, courtesy of Jessica O’Neill and she also took a point soon after.
Doora Barefield were finding it hard to penetrate into the opposing defence and this was mainly due to solid performance from the half back line of Ciara Grogan, Kelly McLean and Deirdre Murphy plus the Duggan sisters at midfield Orlaith and player of the game Aoibheann.
Two points for the Parish (Caoimhe Hoey and Niamh Willis) sandwiched a Kate McCarthy point for the Abbey-siders (2-2 to 0-1) at the turn of the first quarter. Mary Clune increased their lead with two points only for Aisling Reidy to reply at the other end.
When everyone seemed content to go in for the half-time break, a fiercely combative Clooney took to points in the last minutes via Marie Begley and Jessica O’Neill and at the half-time break they were 2-06 0-03 ahead.
Clooney Quin resumed with a quick point inside the first minute from Orlaith Duggan and it seemed the trend was set to continue. The Parish side retorted with a quick strike which yielded a free kick that the reliable Aisling McMahon converted. A torrid fifteen minutes of retaliatory battle then took place in the middle third, no-man’s land where each side were held scoreless.
DB’s Ciara Cahill, Aine Moloney, Aisling Moloney, Emer Hanrahan and Amanda Mulcaire were outstanding as they foiled the best efforts of CQ’s tenacious Aoibheann Duggan, Orlaith Duggan, Emma Deegan, Mary Clune and Laura Costello.
When the stylish Amanda Mulcaire goaled on forty seven minutes to reduce the deficit to six points, the glimmer was extinguished as attacking midfielder Aoibheann Duggan rocketed into the top of the net to restore the status quo to 3-7 to 1-4, a discrepancy that surely wouldn’t be bridged in the remaining ten minutes.
It didn’t stop the Parish as Anna Courtney started a run from her won half back line, she involved Aisling Reidy who delivered to Fiona Touhy who goaled confidently with five minutes to go and still a mountain to climb 2-4 to 3-7.
They continued to turn the screws and when they were bearing down on goal once more, referee Flan O’Reilly awarded a penalty which Aisling McMahon goaled to reduce the deficit to three points. Clooney-Quin who were now on the ropes with an empty tank. Well into stoppage time and with the whistle imminent, DB bore down one last time and when the dynamic Anna Courtney pointed, it left a two point difference, a kick of a ball. When Caoimhe Hoey collected the CQ kickout, she was about to launch the last DB offensive if it wasn’t for a timely intervention by Deirdre Murphy which prompted Flan O’Reilly to call time and Clooney-Quin took the Junior A title on a score-line of 3-7 to 3-5
A game that seemed over at the interval, found life all of a sudden with a large attendance on their feet for the last fifteen minutes. After dominating the opening half Clooney-Quin were held to 1-1 in the second half compared to Doora Barefield’s 3-5. What seemed like two evenly matched teams were divided by the additional experience of the winners who came with a plan to dominate early and batten the hatches if they had to weather the storm. A plan that worked.
Clooney-Quin: Sheelagh Daffy (Capt), Aisling Corbett, Aisling Hannon, Alice O’Donnell, Ciara Grogan, Deirdre Murphy, Kelly Mclean, Aoibheann Duggan (1-0), Orlaith Duggan (0-1), Orla Kilkenny, Emma Deegan, Mary Clune (0-2), Marie Begley (1-1), Kate McCarthy (0-1), Jessica O’Neill (1-2). Subs: Laura Costelloe, Kate Taylor, Rebecca Kennedy, Meaghan Kitson, Edwina O’Brien, Jane Taylor, Siobhan McCarthy, Michelle Meere, Orlaith Nash, Roisin Corbett, Nicole O’Riordan, Clara De Sousa, Mary Conneally, Rachel Beg, Jennifer O’Neill, Eveleen Glynn, Siobhan Lee.
Doora Barefield: Amy Lenihan, Laura Hayes, Megan O’Brien, Kate Dillon, Ciara Cahill, Aine Moloney, Aisling McMahon (1-1, 1p, 1f), Emer Hanrahan, Amanda Mulcaire (1-0), Anna Courtney (0-1), Aisling Reidy (0-1), Vanessa Meaney, Fiona Tuohy (1-0), Niamh Willis (0-1), Erinn Hennessy, Caoimhe Hoey (0-1). Subs: Hannah Meaney, Ciara Guilfoyle, Niamh McDonagh, Eimear Casey, Sarah O’Brien, Kiera McGrath, Shona Power, Mia Hanrahan, Ellen Meaney, CAtrionaDavenport, Ciara Duggan, Aoise Meaney, Orla Hoey, Chlow Towey, Mhuireann Collins, Katie Laws, Aine Meehan, Ciara Mangan, Mary O’Connor, Gail Norton.
Referee: Flan O’Reilly (Cratloe)