Scoil Uí Chonaill 4-14
BY NIGEL MCCARTHY
Scoil Uí Chonaill produced a stirring second half performance to claim a deserving two point win over Raheny to claim the Go-Ahead Dublin Junior A title in Clann Mhuire.
Raheny led by five at the break but they couldn’t shake off a dogged Scoil Uí Chonaill side who turned on the style after the break and showed the huge character within the team.
At the finish the scoreline could have been a wider margin for the Clontarf side who had a number of goal attempts flash just wide of the goal and a penalty attempt that cleared the crossbar for a point instead of a green flag.
Raheny headed into the final with an unblemished record, they topped Group A of the Junior A championship unbeaten including a 3-12 to 1-7 win over their opponents today Scoil Uí Chonaill and booked their place in the decider with a 1-12 to 1-06 over Kilmacud Crokes B.
Scoil Uí Chonaill finished in second place in Group A winning two and drawing one of their four group games.
Goals proved to be the deciding factor in a competitive semi final against Man O War with the Clontarf based side prevailing by 3-8 to 0-7.
Scoil Uí Chonaill started the game brightly and led by four inside the opening three minutes. A pointed free from Sorcha Mulligan was quickly followed by the games opening goal.
The ball was intercepted in midfield, Martha De Brun drove through the centre of the Raheny backline, goalkeeper Chanice Dolan rushed out to block De Brun’s shot but the ball deflected off a Raheny defender into the back of the net.
Carla Fitzsimons converted a free in the fifth minute to get the Raheny scoring up and running, Sorcha Mulligan responded with a pointed free of her own for Scoil, but two goals in a three minute spell scored by Órlaith Walsh and Aoibhín McCarthy swung the game in Raheny’s favour.
Former Dublin Senior star Siobhan Woods who was pulling the strings for Raheny from midfield with intelligent, accurate passes picked out a clever hand pass to release Walsh for a fine point.
Cliodhna MacHugh gathered a shot by Walsh along the end line in the twenty first minute and hit a pass across the square which was palmed to the net by Aoibhín McCarthy, Carla Fitzsimons and Ava Peake tagged on two further points and at this stage Raheny looked like they might run away with the game.
But four minutes from the break Raheny failed to clear the ball and Sinead De Burca intercepted and buried the ball to the net. A good move involving the impressive Caelinn Ní Bhroin and Sophie Gibney finished with a point from Martha De Brun.
A point from Raheny’s Aoibhín McCarthy extended the lead to five and leave the score at the break 3-05 to 2-03 in Raheny’s favour.
Scoil Uí Chonaill reduced the deficit with a point from Caelinn Ní Bhroin just after the restart. Raheny responded with a successful free attempt from Carla Fitzsimons.
The action was frantic and swinging from one end of the pitch to the other, Scoil Uí Chonaill were dealt a blow seven minutes into the second half when captain Ciara McComish was yellow carded and faced ten minutes in the sin-bin. Although just seconds later Raheny’s Claire Fitzgerald was also shown a yellow card for a high tackle.
A pointed free Sorcha Mulligan and one from play from Ní Bhroin reduced the deficit, but Scoil Uí Chonaill goalkeeper Izzy Dillon misjudged a point attempt from Órlaith Walsh and the ball dipped under crossbar into the top left hand corner of the net.
Scoil though didn’t let the heads drop and broke up field, Caelinn Ní Bhroin who was causing problems for the Raheny defence with her runs from deep was fouled in the square for a penalty. Sophie Gibney’s effort though cleared the crossbar for a point.
Scoil Uí Chonaill though at this stage were on top in the game and just past the third quarter the pressure paid off, a goal bound shot from Martha De Brun was deflected into the path of Gibney who made no mistake and finished to the net.
Gibney pounced again with an excellent point, Raheny were struggling now for scores, but they momentarily stopped the one way scoring with a point from Carla Fitzsimons.
As the game headed into the final ten minutes Scoil Uí Chonaill added further points from substitute Sadhbh Ní Morain and two frees from Sorcha Mulligan with a single reply from Raheny’s Órlaith Walsh.
Scoil’s Sorcha Mulligan missed an open goal with five minutes to go with her shot fizzing just past the left hand post. Cliodhna MacHugh and Mulligan swapped points as the game headed towards the final whistle.
It was a frantic finish to the end, a sweeping move involving Siobhan Woods, MacHugh and substitute Jane Murphy ended with Murphy scoring Raheny’s fifth goal of the final.
But 1-02 in a three minute spell from Scoil Uí Chonaill secured the title, the points coming from Martha De Brun from play, a free from Sorcha Mulligan and the goal from Anna Power who made a big difference to the game when she was introduced at half-time.