St Joseph’s College in Lucan were celebrating last week when their junior camogie team secured the school’s first-ever All-Ireland title after coming from behind to beat St Joseph’s of Tulla, Co Clare, in a classic final at McDonagh Park in Nenagh.
In spite of going a goal down in the opening seconds of the match, St Joseph’s never gave up and their determination and purpose in playing for victory and for each other was a significant factor in bringing the national title back to Presentation Convent.
A goal from Nicole Fitzgibbon brought them back in touch, but the Tulla school pulled ahead again and were 2-3 to 1-1 ahead at half time.
But after the turn, the St Joseph’s girls brought their A game and powered back into contention, with points from Ciara Casey and Aoife McKearney, and a goal from Samantha Fitzgerald after an impressive driving run from Jessica McClelland.
Laura O’Mahony then delivered the score of the day, as she broke through two tackles and, having caught the ball twice already, bounced the ball past the oncoming defender with the stick, lifted and struck straight between the posts. Orlaith Murphy and Ciara Casey then added two fine points to give Joey’s the lead for the first time.
However, the Clare natives went back ahead with five minutes to play, and it seemed as though there was no way through. But they continued to throw everything at their opponents and when a long free from Jenny Ryan bounced into the square, corner-forward Katie Feeney was first to react and doubled on the volley into the net to send the Joey’s supporters into raptures.
Speaking to GazetteSport after the final, coach and teacher at the school, Dave Kirwan, was thrilled for his charges after their national success.
“The attitude of the players. I said to them after the match, for girls of that age to have that much character when it looked like they might have been out of the game, and to be able to come back and dig out a result like that was incredible.
“it is heartening to see them come through and see them achieve. It’s always enjoyable looking after the teams, but when you see them getting bigger awards like that, it’s fantastic to see when they put so much time and work into it.”
As regards the future of these players, Kirwan was certain of where they are headed: “There are a few of the players playing with Dublin teams already which shows how good they are and that brings them on as players as well. Whatever they get involved with, they will do themselves proud, and win a lot of titles.”