Loreto College maintained their stranglehold on the O’Neills All-Ireland senior A Post Primary Schools’ championship when proving just the better of a determined St Brigid’s in the 2013 final at McDonagh Park, Nenagh by 1-11 to 1-6 writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
This win made it four-in-a-row for the Kilkenny school since they annexed their first title in 2010.
This represents a remarkable achievement, given the natural turnover of players there would have been in that period.
They were made to work hard on this occasion, with their Loughrea opponents in contention right up until Lydia Fitzpatrick’s 59th minute goal.
There was nothing between the sides in the opening gambits, when points from Loreto’s Orla Hanrick and Róisín Breen matched by similar scores from Rachel Monaghan (free) and Patricia Manning.
It was in the second quarter that the Noresiders moved through the gears though and a 0-6 to 0-2 half time lead was scant reflection of their dominance in the middle third, despite playing into the wind. That four-point advantage courtesy of Marie Doheny’s brace and two Hanrick frees was significant though.
Driven on by Maria Cooney, St Brigid’s upped their own tempo when faced with the elements in the second half. Monaghan finished powerfully to the net after rounding a Loreto defender right on the three-quarter mark, it was all to play for with the teams level on 0-8 to 1-5.
Loreto responded with the conviction of champions though. Bambrick plasted a penalty over the bar and that score was followed by a second point from considerable distance by captain and player of the match, Miriam Walsh. When Laura Green set up for Fitzpatrick for that late goal, the verdict was assured.
In the B final, also at McDonagh Park, St Mary’s of New Ross edged out Limerick’s Laurel Hill in a cracking tie. Joanne Dillon was outstanding for the winners, who prevailed by 3-9 to 2-9.
The C and D finals took place at Birr’s St Brendan’s Park. The C decider was another titanic tussle with Roscrea Community College on the right side of a 2-6 to 1-8 scoreline against Coláiste na Sionna, Banagher.
Sinéad Daly goaled for Coláiste na Sionna after seven minutes and with player of the match, Maireád Daly outstanding at midfielder, particularly in supporting her half-back line, the Offaly girls must have been happy with their lot.
They had Tara Dooley to thank for saving a rasping shot from Amy Ryan in the 11th minute, however and Roscrea kept on the pressure until the breakthrough came after 28 minutes. That gave Roscrea a 1-3 to 1-2 interval advantage.
The winners struck again eight minutes after the resumption and Ryan also had a penalty deflected over the bar. Banagher fought back to make it a one-point game and the magnificent Mairéad Daly had a chance deep in injury time to restore parity but her shot drifted agonisingly wide.
In the D final, St Joseph’s, Tulla gave an exhibition of scoring, racking up 2-16 compared to 3-6 for Scoil Mhuire, Trim. St Josephs' Kate O'Gorman was named player of the match.