“There was no doubt in my mind we were going to do it.” Naomh Jude assistant manager Marion O’Donnell did not read anything into pre-match predictions pitching St Vincent’s as red-hot favourites to land the Dublin senior camogie championship title.
In a titanic tussle, the Tymon Park club prevailed to win just their second senior crown of any code – the 2018 camogie title being their first – as dramatic late goals from Faye McCarthy and Leah Butler earned them a 3-13 to 0-15 success in Abbotstown.
Vincent’s have been the standard bearers with four titles in the past five attempts, notably winning the final against Jude’s in 2019 by a heavy final scoreline.
But O’Donnell said this caused little psychological damage for her charges this time around.
“Coming into this final, even losing last year by 12 points and facing a team like Vincent’s, there was no doubt in my mind we were going to do it. We had been building every game, starting off with a three-point win over Na Fianna in the group stages, and getting better and better each game. I had never seen the girls so switched on.”
They went tit-for-tat in the first half, going in at the break 1-6 to 0-8 with Aisling Gannon’s goal the key separator.
It advanced to 1-10 to 0-13 before the Marino side seemed to eke out a vital two point lead with the nerveless Ali Maguire landing a couple of scores.
But the game turned the southside club’s way when the rampaging Carragh Dawson was stopped in her tracks illegally. Jude’s goalkeeper McCarthy ran the length of the pitch to take the ensuing penalty and she made sure it was not a wasted trip with a rasping strike to the right corner.
Butler – fresh from the subs bench – then made the title safe with a fabulous goal from a narrow angle, putting them out of range.
It paved the way for the Jude’s bench to spill out in celebration but they were not to be joined by the nearest and dearest who usually share their journey.
With Covid restrictions in place, there were no supporters to join the party, making for a surreal trophy presentation.
“For a final, you expect to get a big crowd and when we won it in Peregrine’s, there were so many there. The club did so much for us to get the vibe going with our [PRO] Michael Moran getting videos from the juvenile teams wishing us luck.
“We do have a 32-player panel who were all roaring on from the sidelines for every score and every tackle; they knew that was their job in the day. The girls said it was a huge factor.
“We only had 40 tickets so you did have some ‘can I be a water girl?’ messages! We have five on the management panel so there was very little room for anyone else and you really didn’t want to have to pick and choose!”
What happens next is a little bit up in the air with no formal dates for the Leinster campaign but the hope is it can go ahead before the end of the year once the county competitions are done and lead into an All-Ireland series in the new year.
But, for the moment, the club can bask in yet another glorious moment in their recent history.