St. Colm’s Reach All Ireland Final
St. Colm’s 1 – 11 Ballyhaunis 3 – 4
The highly charged emotions at Dean Mc Glinchey Park on Saturday afternoon were so evident at the final whistle as St. Colm’s with six minutes remaining took the lead for the first time in this thrilling All Ireland Junior Camogie semi final to finish by the narrowest of margins on a final score line, 1 – 11 to 3 – 4. The Mayo team were physically stronger in many parts of the pitch but St. Colm’s tenacity and work rate especially in the second half ensured they were heading for an All-Ireland final.
St. Colm’s came out of the blocks early with the full forward line of Sinead Mc Guigan, Elise Connolly and Anna Mc Daid working hard to gain possession but unfortunately no scores to show. By contrast Ballyhaunis, especially their middle third led by Centre half forward, Erin Murray and mid field pairing of Geri Henry and Meabh Delaney started to gain control driving at the St. Colm’s defence.
St. Colm’s conceded 2 – 2 in that first half but dogged defending by Full back Shannon Scullion, Centre half back, Cliodhna Hickson and keeper Mary Jo Mc Eldowney, ensured the score line was not more. St. Colm’s for all their efforts only managed one point from play from the stick of Caoimhe Kelly.
As the saying goes, this was a game of two halves. St. Colm’s assisted by a strong breeze came out in the second half reinvigorated and ready to take the match to Ballyhaunis. In the first 20 seconds Centre half forward, Caoimhe Kelly slotted the sliothar splendidly over the bar. This was the catalyst St. Colm’s needed. Kelly hit a further six magnificent points, five frees and one from play. Midfielder Aoife Doyle added another point and on the 46th minute was moved into full forward. With an eye for goal, Doyle rifled the ball to the Ballyhaunis net to put St. Colm’s in the lead with six minutes remaining.
St. Colm’s confidence continued to grow. Wing half forward, Cara Donnelly added a further two superb points from play and Sub Leanne Mc Cullagh in the full forward line was causing plenty of panic in the Ballyhaunis defence.
Ballyhaunis wing half forwards Lillian Keanne and Claire Flanagin added two further points to their tally but were very well marshalled by St. Colm’s Erin Murray and Rachel Mc Cullagh. St. Colm’s continued to thwart attack after attack with Shannon Scullion dominant at full back, flanked by her tenacious corner backs, Niamh Hamill and sub, Michaela O Neill who replaced Eileanoir Gray. The St. Colm’s middle third led by captain Sara Kelly, together with Sinead Mc Guigan and Sara Lagan especially in those final minutes continued to work relentlessly.
With the final whistle beckoning into injury time and St. Colm’s four points up, Ballyhaunis dug deep and struck a pulsating shot across the face of the goals to finish in the back corner of the St. Colm’s net. One point separated these two gallant teams who battled bravely for 60 minutes. On the final whistle it was St. Colm’s from the foot of the Sperrin’s who march on into an All-Ireland final on Saturday 9th March against Scoil Pól Kilfinane, Limerick.
St. Colm’s: Mary Jo Mc Eldowney, Eileanoir Gray, Shannon Scullion, Niamh Hamill, Rachel Mc Cullagh, Cliodhna Hickson, Erin Kelly, Aoife Doyle (1-1), Sara Kelly (Capt), Cara Donnelly (0-2), Caoimhe Kelly(0-8, 6 frees), Sara Lagan, Elise Connolly, Sinead Mc Guigan, Anna Mc Daid, Orla O Neill, Chloe Mc Guigan, Michaela O Neill, Leanne Mc Cullagh, Ciara Scullion, Catherine Heaney, Méabh Mc Laughlin.
Ballyhaunis: Roisin Lynskey, Émer Delaney, Dearbhla Glavey (capt), Caragh Burke, Caoimhe Delaney, Aoife Doherty, Niamh Greally, Geri Maye Henry, Meabh Delaney, Lillian Keane, Erin Murray, Claire Flanagan, Saoirse Delaney, Ellen Tener, Niamh Duffy.