LORETO Kilkenny completed an incredible season of camogie for the secondary school when annexing the O’Neills All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools Junior A title, just a week after claiming the Senior A crown.
The successive marks the completion of a three-in-a-row at this level for the college and an incredible eighth success in nine seasons.
Cross and Passion were victors in 2008, the season before Loreto embarked on their remarkable run, and at half time, looked like they might be on the way to repeating that win when leading by 2-8 to 2-2.
They only managed a point in the second half though, while Loreto found another level, pulling away to win by 3-11 to 2-9.
They were able to call on Hannah Kelly, player of the match in the Senior A final after scoring 3-5, and her twin sister Rachel, who shot a point last week. This time around, it was Rachel who took the scoring honours, slotting seven points, while Hannah provided two.
As important as the James Stephen duo were though, goals win games and Rebecca Cuddihy, who like the Kelly siblings was a member of the senior panel not just this year, but last year too when they were defeated in the All-Ireland final, pounced for a pair of them. Maddy Lawson, who also raised a green flag in the semi-final, repeated the trick on the biggest stage to help extend Loreto’s sensational winning run.
Charley McCarry and Carla McGarry’s goal helped Cross and Passion establish that six-point interval advantage, while Róisín McCormick and player of the match Maeve Kelly slotted three points apiece but they just couldn’t hold Loreto off in the second half.
In the Junior B final, St Angela’s Ursulines steamrollered Banagher College 3-16 to 1-4. The Offaly outfit were highly competitive in the opening period, at which stage they trailed by only two points, 1-3 to 0-4. They had no answer however to the firepower of their Waterford rivals, who pulled away inexorably as the game wore on.
Borrisokane Community College and Abbey Community College will have to do it all over again after finishing on 3-9 apiece in the Junior C final.
The game ended in a welter of excitement as Abbey skipper Caroline Kennedy goaled three minutes from the end of normal time to put the Ferrybank unit in front. Before the cheers of their supporters died out however, Laura Shinnors ended a blistering run with an equalising goal, bringing her tally for the game to 3-5 and ensuring a replay.
It needed something special to beat Abbey goalie Aoife Slattery, who had made three brilliant saves in the second half. And while Shinnors was the game’s top scorer, Abbey’s Afton Grace wasn’t far off, registering 1-8.
Shinnors’ heroics ensured that Borrisokane led by 2-7 to 1-5 at the change of ends, Emma Hewetson, gaoling for Abbey and the Suirsiders turned it around brilliantly after the change of ends. Grace displayed her accuracy time and again and also had a goal as they drew level, before Kennedy’s strike put them ahead.
There was still time for Shinnors to have the final say though and the teams will resume rivalries next Saturday.