Shannon Ní Chuinnegáin, player of the match for Coláiste Ailigh team, being presented with the award
Shannon Ní Chuinnegáin produced a performance for the ages on Wednesday, scoring six goals as Coláiste Ailigh powered past St. Killian’s of Camlough to claim their maiden Ulster title at Owenbeg, Derry.
Coláiste Ailigh . . . . . . . . . . 8-7
St Killian’s Camlough . . . 1-5
Ailigh dominated the first half with the wind at their backs, controlling the middle third while supplying the talismanic Ní Chuinneagáin with quality direct ball at every opportunity.
Midfieler Seanann Nic Lochlainn opened the scoring in the 3rd minute. However, St Killian’s soon replied with the hard working Maeve Gillan pointing a minute later. Coláiste Ailigh’s superiority was soon to show however with Sinéad Nic a tSaoir and the midfield pairing of Anna Ní Fhlanagáin and Nic Lochlainn controlling the midfield exchanges.
This was exemplified in the 8th minute when the dilligent Nic a tSaoir overturned and provided Ní Chuinneagáin the ammunition to fire to the net for their first goal.
St. Killian’s struggled to cope with the inside presence of Ní Chuinneagáin and the lively Laoise Ní Riain who pointed after Ní Chuinneagáín laid off in the 10th minute.
Coláiste Ailigh continued to apply this pressure and Aoife Ní Chearáin came close to rattling the net before Shannon Nic Lochlainn tapped over.
Gillan continued to pose problems for Coláiste Ailigh with probing runs and goaled in the 21st minute.
Coláiste Ailigh finished the half in style with Ní Chuinneagáin and Ní Chearáin providing the killer blows within the space of a minute while they also added two points to the scoreboard before the half time whistle sounded.
St Killian’s opened the second half on the front foot. However, they could not capitalize on their dominance of possession while Coláiste Áiligh proved clinical on the counter and defended brilliantly while Charlie Ní Shibhleáin was their saviour on numerous occasions.
Ní Chuinneagáin goaled after the break but St. Killian’s replied with three impressive scores.
Ailigh’s work ethic was exemplified in the 47th minute when Nic a tSaoir and Grace Ní hEarcáín performed two textbook blocks, only seconds apart.
Coláiste Ailigh continued to move the ball well through the hands when they got their hands on the ball, with Nic Lochlainn and Shauna Ní hUiginn carrying well while Ní Chuinneagáin continued to run rampant, completing her hat-trick in the 42nd minute.
Coláiste Ailigh held out with relative ease and Shannon NíChuinneagáín proved her brilliance with three more brilliant individual efforts on a day where she stole the show.
The Coláiste Ailigh team are managed by Blaine Mulligan, brother of Leitrim star, Emyln Mulligan.