By Séamas McAleenan
St Louis Ballymena 3-8
Gorey Community School 1-10
St Louis Ballymena won their first ever Allianz All-Ireland camogie title by coming from behind to beat Gorey Community School to win the senior B final and collect the Mary Moran Cup in Dublin on Saturday.
Katie Molloy was a dominant presence for the Ulster side as a defensive midfielder who burst through the centre to put her team on the attack. She was ably supported by a strong defence and goalie Eimear McGivern who brought off several excellent saves, the best of them from Katie Bulger at the start of the second half.
Bulger was the main threat to Ballymena’s ambitions and she led from the front over the first 27 minutes to establish a lead of 0-6 to 0-2, splitting the posts on four occasions.
Gorey were the better team during that period. They were playing with the aid of the breeze and putting the Ballymena defence under severe pressure with their running game.
However, two goals from Ballymena full-forward Ciara O’Boyle over the final few minutes of the half changed the tone of the game and put the Ulster team in prime position to collect the title.
Her first came in the 27th minute when Sarah Fyfe fired a shot through that Keeva Steadmond did well to get her stick to. However O’Boyle was following through and batted the sliotar to the net.
Two minutes later Maria Gately got in behind the Gorey defence unmarked and was pulled down by Steadman. However she managed to off-load a pass for O’Boyle to hit an empty net.
Over the opening 15 minutes of the second half each team had added just two points to their interval total, but then Ballymena made their burst for home. Anna McKillop and Ciara O’Boyle each pointed before a great run and delivery from Erin Coulter fell invitingly for captain Sarah Fyfe to lift the net
Despite a late goal from Siún Murdiff, Gorey couldn’t close the gap.
SCORERS FOR ST LOUIS: C O’Boyle 2-1; S Fyfe 1-1; A McKillop 0-3(fs); E Kohnston 0-2; K Molloy 0-1
SCORERS FOR GOREY CS: K Bulger 0-7 (6fs);S Murdiff 1-0; M Davy 0-2; R McGonigle 0-1
ST LOUIS: E McGivern, S Shannon, A McKillen, L McGarry, D Dobbin, A O’Donnell, E Coulter, C Griffin, K Molloy, C Crawford, S Fyfe capt, A McKillop, M Gately, C O’Boyle, E Johnstone. Sub: A Cosgrove for C O’Boyle (52).
GOREY CS: K Steadmond; M Doran, E Casey, M Bairéad; A Hughes, B McDonald, T O’Connor capt.; R Kinsella, S Murdiff; K Bolger, M Davy, R McGonigle; R Hughes, U Daly-O’Toole, C Browne.
REFEREE: John Dermody (Westmeath)
Allianz All-Ireland Senior C camogie final
Coláiste Abhann Rí, Callan 2-9
Gort Community School 2-7
Two goals direct from Ciara O’Shea frees during the last quarter turned this Allianz All-Ireland senior C final on its head and sent the Cup to Kilkenny for the second time in its 17 year history.
O’Shea picked up player of the match for her almost single-handed rescue job for Colaiste Abhann Rí Callan who now follow 2011 winners Castlecomer Community school into the history books.
Gort Community School looked destined to keep the Cup west of the Shannon after St Killian’s, New Inn had brought it there for the first time last season. They led by 2-6 to 0-5 at half-time and were still holding on to a lead of two points with two minutes left on the clock.
It was then that O’Shea’s free from 40 metres dipped at the last second to end up in the net, a carbon copy almost of her first goal 13 minutes earlier that had left just four points between the sides.
Gort were the better side in the opening half. Midfielder Abbie Massey took a pass from Helena Tarpey in the 13th minute to open up a lead of 1-3 to 0-3 and they quickly added to that lead with points from Aisling Dolphin (free) and Tarpey.
Then in the 21st minute Katie Flaherty found Alisha Quinn with a sweet pass and she flashed the sliotar to the Callan net. When Dolpin added a free in the 29th minute, Gort were nine points up and coasting.
Two points from O’Shea frees before half-time gave Callan a lifeline, but they only managed to add a single point during the third quarter.
Then came O’Shea’s first goal in the 45th minute and Ava Brett quickly added a point. Dolphin seemed to break the momentum with Gort’s only score of the second half. But a point and then a goal, both from O’Shea frees, turned the game in a different direction and left Gort heart-broken.
SCORERS FOR COLÁISTE ABHANN RÍ: C O’Shea 2-6fs; C O’Donovan, A O’Sullivan and A Brett 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR GORT CS: A Dolphin 0-4(2fs); A Massey, A Quinn 1-0 each; H Tarpey 0-2; K Flaherty 0-1
COLÁISTE ABHANN RÍ: J Saunders, A Power, J Cuddy, R O’Meara, O O’Shea, N Jackson capt., C Power, E Smith, C O’Shea, M Conroy, A Brett, A O’Sullivan, C O’Donovan, E Holland, A O’Shea.
GORT CS: C Higgins, S Dolphin, E Niland, H Keogh, R Linnane, R Gardiner, A Connolly, K Flaherty, A Massey, H Tarpey, C Moloney, A Quinn, A Mirren, A Dolphin, S Mullins. Sub: L Lehane for C Moloney (38)
REFEREE: TP O’Sullivan (Tipperary)