BY DARREN KELLY
St Jude’s manager Jeff Kane said he was in ‘heaven’ after his side won their first-ever All-Ireland Junior club championship.
Caoimhe McGrath, Aoife Keyes and Aisling Gannon scored the goals as St Jude’s joined fellow Dublin outfits Foxrock-Cabinteely, Thomas Davis and St Maurs, in the roll of honour for national glory.
It was a fantastic game in Baltinglass, and despite dominating for much of the opening quarter, Tipperary champions Mullinahone went into half-time 3-4 to 1-4 behind. And St Jude’s consolidated their advantage in the second half to seal the historic win.
“We started the club in 1978. We’ve challenged in senior championships in football and hurling and we’ve a really successful camogie set up. This is heaven, it’s absolute heaven,” said Kane.
“I’m with the guys four years now. We’ve been through ups and downs, lost a championship final to a really good Ballinteer St John’s team last year. We made a promise to ourselves that we wouldn’t leave anything out there anymore. Came together as a unit and we’re All-Ireland champions.”
Mullinahone, who contained a sprinkling of Kilkenny camogie talent including Denise Gaule, started fast and Aoibhe O’Shea scored their goal inside 30 seconds.
She brought her tally to 1-2 in the 10th minute when she gave Mullinahone a 1-3 to no scoe lead and they were in cruise control with the wind.
But crucially McGrath found the net five minutes before the first water break and that lead had been whittled down to 1-3 to 1-1 by that juncture.
On the resumption, Keyes and Gannon scored two goals in a devastating five-minute spell and that was enough for St Jude’s to push for victory.
Mullinahone battled all the way, with Lorraine O’Shea continuing to take the fight to St Jude’s but it wasn’t enough in the end.
“We’re naturally disappointed,” said Mullinahone manager Paul Kelly. “We came across a very good Jude’s side. We knew coming here that we were going to be up against it, given the population of St Jude’s GAA club in general, plus they have inter-county footballers like Caoimhe McGrath from Waterford.
“At the end of the day, we’re a small rural club. We always knew it was going to be a tough battle.”
St Jude’s captain Hannah Hegarty with her players of the match trophy after her side’s All-Ireland Ladies Junior
Club Football Championship final win over Tipperary’s Mullinahone in Baltinglass last weekend.
Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile