Mourneabbey 2-9 Kilkerrin-Clonberne 0-14
SHEER joy for Mourneabbey as they retained their All-Ireland senior ladies club championship title at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday evening.
They won it in dramatic fashion as with just 16 seconds on the clock Laura Fitzgerald kicked the winning point, with the Cork side down to 14 players at that stage.
They had to play the last seven minutes with 14 after Ciara O'Sullivan was sin-binned by referee, Maggie Farrelly, not the first time she has sent her to the line.
But they won't matter now as they are champions for the second year-in-a-row in what was without a doubt their toughest game of the year.
Both sides played outstanding football but it took the experience of the likes of Doireann O'Sullivan and Noelle Healy, along with the guile of Fitzgerald to see them over the line.
Add in solid defensive displays from the likes of Sandra Conroy and Aisling O'Sullivan and they were needed against a lively Kilkerrin-Clonberne defence who ran at them constantly for the 60 minutes.
The Galway side got off to much the better start with Claire Dunleavey opening the scoring in the second minute and they doubled their lead, when Lynsey Noone got their second.
Laura Fitzgerald got Mourneabbey off the mark in the fifth minute, but Kilkerrin-Clonberne were in control at this stage and restored their two-point advantage when Ailish Morrissey was on the end of a good move involving Chloe Miskell and Annette Clarke.
Olivia Divilly added another from a free and she was on target from play as well as Kilkerrin-Clonberne led 0-5 to 0-1 with 11 minutes gone.
Noelle Healy pulled a point back for Mourneabbey and with 13 minutes gone they were back on level terms.
Healy regained possession from the re-start and her pass found Doireann O'Sullivan to tapped home to make it 1-2 to 0-5.
Healy got her second point to put them in front for the first time, with Divilly equalising from a free at the other end.
With 20 minutes gone Mourneabbey thought they had their second goal, when Healy played Fitzgerald, but after a lengthy discussion between the umpires and judging by the ref going to her earpiece the fourth official it was disallowed for a square ball.
Doireann put them back in front, before Eva Noone had the sides level again.
Ciara O'Sullivan put Mourneabbey back in front, with Fitzgerald adding another to make it 1-6 to 0-7. On the stroke of half-time, Clarke pointed for Kilkerrin-Clonberne to put only one between them at the break and all to play for in the second half.
Doireann made it a two-point game at the start of the second-half before Kilkerrin-Clonberne came back at them again. Lynsey Noonan, Morrissey, with two, put the Galway side back in front, with 42 minutes gone.
Ciara equalised for her side, with Clarke putting Kilkerrin-Clonberne back in front. With 46 minutes gone Mourneabbey struck for the killer blow, when Fitzgerald got their second goal, to make it 2-8 to 0-12, at a time Kilkerrin-Clonberne were down to 14 with Hannan Noone in the sin-bin.
Miskell pulled a point back for Kilkerrin-Clonberne, before Ciara was sin-binned. Clarke scored to level it and it looked like it was going to extra-time, but Healy supplied the killer pass and Fitzgerald pointed and seconds later it was all over the Mourneabbey could start celebrating.
Scorers for Mourneabbey: L Fitzgerald 1-3, D O'Sullivan 1-2 (0-1 f), C O'Sullivan, N Healy 0-2.
Kilkerrin-Clonberne:O Divilly (0-1 f), A Morrissey, A Clarke 0-3 each, C Miskell 0-2, C Dunleavy, E Noone, L Noone 0-1 each.
M O’Sullivan; A O’Sullivan, E Meaney, S Conroy; K Coakley, R O’Sullivan, E Harrington; M O’Callaghan, N O’Sullivan; C O’Sullivan, B O’Sullivan, N Healy; L Fitzgerald, D O’Sullivan, S O’Callaghan.
Subs:E Jack for S O'Callaghan, A Ryan for E Harrington, (both 45m), A Cronin for N O'Sullivan (50m),
L Murphy; S Gormally, A Costello, S Fahy; C Dunleavey, N Ward, H Noone; A Clarke, L Ward; L Noone, S Divilly, C Miskell; E Noone, A Morrissey, O Divilly.
Subs: K Mee for N Ward (18m), C Boyle for L Noone (56m),
Referee: Maggie Farrelly, Cavan.