Myshall (Carlow) 1-3
Four Roads (Roscommon) 0-3
Conditions ensured that it was never going to be the prettiest game at Donaghmore Ashbourne but the wholly admirable traits of doggedness, grit and determination were in monumental evidence as Myshall won the All-Ireland junior club title for the first time, writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
It was dark, cold and in the second half, very wet and the defences dominated, with hooking, blocking and adroit flicks very much to the fore.
Niamh Quirke, her mother Nuala and sweeper Marian Doyle were outstanding in the Myshall rearguard and the Carlow girls managed to produce that little bit better finishing in the end to claim the honours.
Overall, it was a success they deserved as Four Roads’ Breda Mannion was the busiest goalkeeper, making three very good saves.
Having said that, Joanne Joyce made the best stop of the day from Donna Kelly at the other end, deflecting the wing-back’s angled drive around the post in the 26th minute. Cáit Kenny converted the 45 to put her side within a point of the winners at the break, trailing 1-0 to 0-2.
Myshall had the better start but the normally reliable free-taking technique of Ciara Quirke – sister of Niamh and daughter of Nuala – left her down on a couple of occasions.
It was Four Roads that opened the scoring though with a Kenny free from their first attack.
Mannion denied Myshall on a couple of opportunities before they found the net six minutes from the interval. Kate Nolan went on a strong solo run and sent a good ball towards Ciara Quirke but once more, Mannion was able for the full-forward’s low shot.
The subsequent clearance found its way to Alison Rushitzko though and her attempt at a point dipped awkwardly for a crucial goal.
The floodlights were turned on at the break and the play remained very congested in the middle third.
We had to wait until the 46th minute for the half’s opening score, Sinéad O’Brien taking a pass from Kenny before finishing well to bring the sides level.
Instead of prompting a push towards a second title in three seasons for Four Roads, that equaliser actually inspired Myshall to move up another gear with three points in two minutes to secure the silverware.
Tara Wilson restored the Carlow side’s lead before Ciara Quirke rifled over a tremendous score on the run from a tight angle on the left.
Less than 60 seconds later, team captain, Katherine Foley grabbed the sliotar over her head, turned and fired an unerring shot over the bar to open a three-point gap and her celebration confirmed what we all felt; that in these conditions, a three-point lead would be hard to peg back in ten minutes.
As it happened, hard though they tried, Four Roads never really looked like snatching the goal they needed and it was Myshall who prevailed.
Scorers – Myshall: A Rushitzko 1-0; T Wilson, C Quirke, K Foley 0-1 each
Four Roads: C Kenny 0-2(1f, 1 45); S O’Brien 0-1
Myshall: J Joyce; F Jordan, Niamh Quirke, E Doyle; T O’Neill, Nuala Quirke, Mairéad Doyle; C Mullins, T Wilson; Marian Doyle, K Foley, O Jordan; K Nolan, C Quirke, A Rushitzko
Four Roads: B Mannion; C Rogerson, B Hughes, M Glennon-Kelly; D Kelly, P Lennon, M Hoey; G Dowd, L Dowd; E Treacy, G Egan, S O’Brien; C Kenny, L Glennon-Tully, O Gately. Subs: G Dufficy for Gately (ht); S Kelly for Treacy (52); O Hughes for Glennon-Kelly (52)
Referee: P Walsh (Monaghan)