ATHLONE IT claimed their third Purcell Cup in six years, following a terrific final that wasn’t decided until extra time, in the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick yesterday. In the end, they recorded a six-point win over Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, 3-13 to 2-10, Kate Kennedy securing the victory with her goal in the second period of extra time.
The Limerick College’s brave bid came unstuck in added time, and according to Athlone IT joint manager Camillus King, their superior fitness was a major factor.
“”The girls put in the work, they trained three nights over the past few months and they were still flying even after 80 minutes.””
The victory was all the more significant as the midland’s side started without regular wingback Irene Leech from Kinvara, who was missing due to a family bereavement. On Saturday, before playing their semi-final against IT Tralee, her team-mates attended her mother’s funeral in Galway.
Athlone IT led 1-7 to 1-3 after 30 minutes, the goal from Offaly’s Arlene Watkins, who incidentally top-scored with 2-3. However, after a titanic struggle, Mary I leveled 2-9 to 1-12 at full time, through the outstanding contribution of Clare county player Carina Roseingrave (totalled 2-8). However, Athone pulled away in added time, hitting 2-1 to the Limerick team’s solitary point.
In Saturday’s other semi-final, Mary Immaculate defeated St Patrick’s Drumcondra.
Meanwhile, the Shield final, produced another epic encounter, with Queen’s University Belfast emerging narrow winners over NUI Maynooth, 0-11 to 2-3. Managed by Down boss Joe Baldwin, their defence was sublime. Armagh star Colette McSorley was in tremendous form, notching 0-7, while Sinead McHugh and Catherine Walsh, despite coming up short, bagged two fine Maynooth goals.