St. Eunan’s Minor ladies secured their second Minor title in as many years when they beat Naomh Muire in the Minor B Championship in a sunny Magheragallon on Sunday morning.
St. Eunan’s 3-07
Naomh Muire 1-06
Having exited the A championship as reigning champions earlier in the season, the Letterkenny side were determined to take the B title back to the Cathedral Town. However it was the Annagry girls who started the brighter with Caroline Sharkey pointing after just two minutes.
Lauren Harper evened the score with a fine point on eight minutes and added another on eleven minutes. Eunan’s began to settle and take control when on the seventeenth minute, triple Ulster Schools All Star and Senior County panellist Rose Boyle, sent over a fine point from just outside the D.
A period of sustained pressure from the Eunan’s ladies yielded two goals and three points in ten minutes. Aisling Breen stuck over two points in quick succession and the Annagry net bulged for the first time when Under 14 County star Roisin Mc Monagle was picked out by Boyle in a fantastic position behind the Naomh Muire defence, and made no mistake with a right foot bullet.
Three minutes later Mc Monagle was denied a second goal when she was hauled down just outside the small square, and referee Siobhan Coyle had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Nadine Crawford stepped up to take the penalty and her low hard shot was brilliantly saved by the Naomh Muire ‘keeper Orla Mc Dowell, with Lauren Harper pointing from the rebound.
Naomh Muire responded with a well worked move involving Erica Hanna and Aideen Meehan, which resulted in midfielder Jade O’ Donnell slotting over Naomh Muire’s second point. With half time looming Mc Monagle again found the net after being put through on goal by the ever busy Harper who beat two defenders and fisted a perfect pass into her path, leaving Mc Dowell with no chance.
Another point from Sharkey at the other end left the half time score St. Eunan’s 2-06 Naomh Muire 0-03.
Whatever Naomh Muire manager Robbie O’Donnell said to his players at half time certainly sank in, as they again started the half much the brighter and for long periods had the Eunan’s defence under fierce pressure.
Eunan’s will thank their stars that goalkeeper Laura Crawford, just returning from an ankle injury, was on fantastic form as she continuously thwarted attack after Naomh Muire attack, keeping the Letterkenny ladies in it.
Naomh Muire hearts were finally broke when Eunan’s substitute Sadhbha Medlar scored a great goal which started from a move in the Eunan’s defence involving Senior County player Kaneshia Mc Kinney, who found fellow defender Aine Mc Gettigan. Mc Gettigan pulled off a fine one-two with midfielder Lauren O’ Connell and threaded a great ball through to Clodagh Brennan. Brennan found Medlar out on the right and she made no mistake in finding the top corner.
Two Naomh Muire points followed and Harper brought her personal points tally to four on forty eight minutes. Naomh Muire found the back of the Eunan’s net on the fifty eight minute, but by then it was too late to mount a recovery and St. Eunan’s ran out winners on a scoreline of 3-07 to 1-06.
St. Eunan’s manager Alan O’Connell paid tribute to his charges at the end, revealing that Roisin Mc Monagle only got the nod to start when the team arrived in Gaoth Dobhair. “We knew Sinead Hession wasn’t going to be able to start, and given that Roisin is only 14, we opted to wait as long as we could before letting her know she was starting. It worked for Shane O’ Donnell in the All Ireland Hurling replay, and it certainly worked for Roisin!
“The whole panel showed tremendous character out there today though. Naomh Muire are a fantastic young, quick, well-drilled side and we knew we had to try and contain their runners. Thankfully, for the most part we did, and that combined with Laura (Crawford) having a fantastic day in nets, we got over the line”.