By Kevin Egan at Páirc Tailteann
Four Roads 1-12
KILMESSAN will be plying their trade at Intermediate level in the AIB All-Ireland Club Championship from now on, having made it two-in-a-row in the Junior Championship.
They were made to sweat by Four Roads in a thriller in Navan but it was the class of Megan Thynne that eventually got them over the line, the dual star scoring 2-2 from play and a constant threat.
Her selection as Player of the Match was a straightforward affair and the speedster was unsurprisingly buoyant afterwards.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling” said Thynne. “We won it last year but to win it back-to-back is something else. This is a special group of girls and we are looking forward to getting into Intermediate next year.
“It definitely feels different to last year. Every year is different. We have tougher games every year and we know other teams are getting better so we need to step up our game and keep doing that every year.
“We have young girls coming through every year. It’s unreal. For some of the girls this is their first All-Ireland, some of them it’s their third (having won as well in 2014, when Four Roads were the vanquished side too).
“A few of us are used to the big occasion, but we never look past a game. We always focus on what the task ahead of us is and just get on with it and play.
“We never took the game for granted, we always knew it would be tough because Four Roads, we played them (four) years ago. They're a dogged team, they're physical so we knew that anyone who gets to an All-Ireland Final deserves to be there so we weren't looking past them.
“I think the hurling out there was unreal. The girls put so much effort into training I just think we deserved it. Aileen Donnelly taking the frees, she's been around for I dunno how many years, a huge inspiration. All of us younger ones look up to her and for her to keep playing at this stage and bringing us on we couldn't thank her enough.”
Four Roads were leading by a point when Thynne announced her presence with a goal but Lizzy Glennon-Tully equalised with a major of her own, only for Thynne to set up Katie Ní Choileain for another goal at the other end and make it 2-5 to 1-5 at the interval.
Kilmessan stretched the advantage to five points but Glennon-Tully was a constant threat for Four Roads and Shauna Fallon unerring from placed balls. Between them, they reduced the deficit to the minimum as the game entered the final pulsating minutes.
But Aileen Donnelly slotted a free and then Thynne pounced for her second goal to put the issue beyond doubt.
“In the Leinster Final, we played Raharney and were down by seven points with 15 minutes to go so we always knew we had a big 10-15 minutes in us at the end” remarked Thynne of the definitive move down the stretch. “We always knew we that we'd have something.”
SCORERS FOR KILMESSAN: M Thynne 2-2; A Donnelly 0-6 (4fs); K Ní Choileáin 1-2; T King, A Lynch 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR FOUR ROADS: L Glennon-Tully 1-2; S Fallon 0-5(fs); N Coyle 0-2; P Lennon, A Dempsey, S Coyle 0-1 each
KILMESSAN: A M Dennehy, A Walsh, R Kelly, M Lally, M O’Leary, A Lynch, L O’Neill, T King, S Horan, N Doyle, Aileen Donnelly, L Dennehy, M Thynne, K Ní Choileáin, C Doyle. Subs: Abby Donnelly for O’Neill (28), M Horan for Dennehy (60), C Ní Choileáin for King (60)
FOUR ROADS: C Kenny, K Carty, E Lennon, D Kelly, A Fallon, G Dowd, M Hastings, S Fallon, P Lennon; S Coyle, N Coyle, N Crean, A Dempsey, L Glennon-Tully, S O’Brien. Subs: O Kelly for Hastings (38), L Gacquin for Crean (48)
REFEREE: M Ryan (Tipperary)