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REPORT: Unstoppable O’Keeffe leads Lacken to All-Ireland glory

Mon 19th Dec

Daragh Ó Conchúir

Club, Latest

Lacken (Cavan) 5-12
Delvin (Westmeath) 3-2
Róisín O’Keeffe pulled all the strings and helped herself to a hat-trick of goals as Lacken proved too strong for Delvin to win the AIB All-Ireland Camogie club junior B title for at the Donaghmore Ashbourne grounds.

The Ulster champions have been scoring at will throughout the campaign and Delvin could not hold them at bay as the two-tone Blues became the first Cavan club to claim at club camogie title at any level.

Delvin had the wind in the first half and Caoimhe Gaffney got them off to a nice start with a point after 48 seconds but Lacken’s response was telling.

Joanne Moore equalised quickly and the Cavan side had a goal in the fourth minute, when Eimear Brady’s free hit the post. O’Keeffe, who had been fouled for the placed ball, gathered the rebound and sent a bullet to the net from close range.

Delvin had a few opportunities that they didn’t avail of and they were punished when Moore’s vision set up Alannah O’Brien for a point and Brady split the posts brilliantly from a free.

Given they had the elements in their favour, Jimmy O’Grady’s troops needed something and it came with a 22nd minute goal from Niamh Horan off the sod, after Linda Kenny blocked the attempted clearance of Rosie Crowe McKeever and Denise McGrath got a fantastic flick on the sliotar to give Horan the opportunity.

O’Keeffe grabbed her second goal in reply though, hitting the roof of the Delvin net despite having defenders on each side and the Cavan crew led by 2-6 to 1-1 at the change of ends.

It was always going to be difficult for the Westmeath contingent from there and though they battled hard, they could not contain their fabulous opponents.

They got the opening score of the second half from Denise McGrath but Lucy Crowe carved them open with a run through the middle before offloading to O’Keeffe to complete her hat-trick and with 32 minutes elapsed, Marie Brady’s charges had at least one hand on the trophy.

McGrath did grab a fortuitous goal when her free from out on the left dropped under the crossbar and when half-time substitute Kate Gaffney rifled another major in the 42nd minute, the margin was down to six.

But Róisín Galligan raised a green flag at the other end, proving the wisdom of the decision to relocate her to the edge of the square to take advantage of her team playing with the wind, having excelled at midfield in the first half and Moore got a tremendous goal her magnificence deserved, to ensure the silverware was heading north.

SCORERS FOR LACKEN: R O’Keeffe 3-1; E Brady 0-6(5fs); J Moore 1-2; R Galligan 1-0; A O’Brien, R Crowe McKeever, T Hogan 0-1 each

SCORERS FOR DELVIN: D McGrath 1-1(fs); N Horan, Kate Gaffney 1-0 each; C Gaffney 0-1

LACKEN: M Ellis, Áine Crowe, N McInerney, N Murray, Aoife Crowe, R Crowe McKeever, C O’Reilly, R Galligan, L Crowe, L Murtagh, J Moore, A O’Brien, R O’Keeffe, T Hogan, E Brady. Subs: K Gilligan for O’Brien (ht), T Carr for Murtagh (58)

DELVIN: C Carroll, M McQuillan, O Kelleghan, R Fitzsimons, D Ryan, Karen Gaffney, E Farrelly, A Newman, C Higgins, C Gaffney, L Kenny, D Barry, D McGrath, N Horan, L Clune. Subs: Kate Gaffney for Barry, E Leavy for Higgins (both ht); S Smith for Clune (52), D Ryan for Horan, H Kelleghan for C Gaffney (both 54)

REFEREE: Mike Ryan (Tipperary)

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