By Séamas McAleenan
St Declan’s Kilmacthomas 1-10
Ardscoil Mhuire Ballinasloe 2-4
St Declan’s Kilmacthomas were the first ever winners when the Allianz All-Ireland senior D competition was introduced to the post-primary schools structure 12 years ago. Yesterday, in Johnstown, they became the first school to collect the trophy on two occasions as Waterford senior star Niamh Rockett, who remarkably played in that inaugural success, guided them as coach to a 1-10 to 2-4 victory over Ardscoil Mhuire Ballinasloe the day after starring for the Déise in their opening League defeat of Offaly.
The damage was really done in the opening minute when Kaci Brazil hit the net for St Declan’s in their first attack. Team captain, Bevin Bowden (45) and Hannah McGrath quickly added points before Ballinasloe could get a foothold in the game.
The Connacht champions defended well for the next 12 minutes and eventually Leah Campbell got the score-board moving with a point from a free.
However, Bowden added three more points (two frees) before Sophie Flynn raised Ardscoil Mhuire’s hopes with a goal a minute from the break, leaving the Waterford side 1-5 to 1-1 ahead.
When Flynn’s high ball went all the way to the Kilmacthomas net four minutes into the second half, it was very much game on at 2-2 to 1-6.
However, sub Aisling Bonnar hit back with a point and over the next 15 minutes Ava Fitzpatrick (two) and Brazil stretched their side’s lead to four.
Although Leah Campbell’s free in the 51st minute left just one score between them, St Declan’s defence held out to lift the title.
SCORERS FOR ST DECLAN’S: K Brazil 1-1, B Bowden 0-4 (3fS), A Fitzpatrick 0-2, H McGrath, O Kirwan, A Bonnar 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR ARDSCOIL M: S Flynn 2-0, L Campbell 0-4(3fs)