The Southern Ireland CCAO Freshers competition for 2011/2012 season was played on Tuesday in a top class facility which was Inniscarra Community Centre, Co Cork.
With close to 70 first year college students in action and a total of 7 teams competing this resulted in 13 games being played in all –a busy series of matches over the course of the day. Teams entered were: CIT, NUIG1, NUIG2, WIT1, WIT2, UL & MICL.
After the battle of the group stages the semi final teams were decided; NUIG1 v MICL and WIT1 v NUIG2. MICL and WIT1 won their semi finals which made for an exciting final and extra time was required in the cup final to separate WIT and a very spirited MICL side.
WIT were the first team to settle. Marie Dargan got a goal in the first minute to settle her side and continued her scoring spree with a superb first half scoring a total of four goals ably assisted by the impressive Ruth Jones. Mary I were slow to recover from their tough semi final against CIT and Naomi Campbell got their first score midway through the first half. Mary I continued to battle with Sarah Harrington and Brid Hannon working tirelessly in midfield. WIT points from Shelly Farrell and Emma Comerford concluded the first half and left Mary I trailing by nine points.
The second half was a completely different affair and an exceptional fightback from Mary I saw them score five goals. Goals from Katie Campbell and Brid Hannon brought Mary I back into the game and the Limerick college were unlucky not to go ahead when Anne Marie Lennon made a point blank save in the WIT goal. Mary I were trailing by a point with only seconds remaining when they were awarded a free. Star player Naomi Carroll put the free over the bar and the match went into extra time. Tired legs and a limited number of subs took it’s toll on Mary I and some excellent defensive play from WIT defenders Emma Comerford, Aoife Sheil and Louise Sinnott kept the Mary I attack at bay and with four points to spare WIT secured the freshers trophy.
Both teams can be commended for the level of skill and commitment they gave. Even though Mary I left trophy less they can be proud of their comeback in the second half. Ruth Jones, captain of WIT was presented with the freshers cup by CCAO Chair Shane Darcy.