ST Mary’s High School Midleton’s Lidl All Ireland LGFA PPS Senior A championship campaign ended in triumph last Saturday.
Coached by Tomás Mac a t’Saoir and Emma Famer, St Mary’s proved too strong for Moate Community School in an entertaining final.
Bruff’s GAA grounds was the venue for the Est Cork side’s 1-12 to 0-7 victory with Áine Hallihan kicking 0-5 and Rachel Leahy adding 0-3. St Mary’s Aoife Healy deservedly took home the Player of the Match award.
A dominant St Mary’s campaign was capped off by a terrific team performance to seal the All-Ireland PPS A title. Tomás Mac a t’Saoir could not have been prouder of his young panel’s efforts not just this year but over the past number of years before All-Ireland glory was attained.
“It was a great day and things went somewhat according to plan,” Tomás Mac a t’Saoir told the Echo.
“Everyone was happy coming home on the bus anyway. This group of players bought into what we were trying to do a number of years ago and been pushing hard ever since then.
“I remember training during Christmas and all 35 girls out there on pitches covered in snow and the whole lot. They are a very committed bunch and you couldn’t ask for more from them.”
At the end of a hectic campaign, Tomás’ three-month old daughter Riona made a special guest appearance at Midleton’s All-Ireland after-match celebrations.
“Riona did indeed make a special appearance after the game,” Mac a t’Saoir said.
“She was far too young to understand but I will be sure to show her this match when she is older!”
All-Ireland final winning captain Dara Kiniry was proud to lift the trophy on her school’s behalf and even more delighted to share the success with a group of players that has been together since first year.
“Lifting an All-Ireland trophy is an amazing feeling and everything you would ever dream of,” Kiniry commented.
“Everyone on the panel has been putting in really hard graft for the last few years to be honest. Five or six of us have been playing since first year and worked our way all the way up the ranks.
“It is all due to our clubs and the hard work they have been putting in on the ground. Moat Community School really put it up to us and we survived a few near misses in the first half. I had to stop one shot on the (goal) line which is not what you want to be doing. Moat were great side but we got over the line in the end. Hopefully now, the school will kick on from this and for years to come.”
Midelton has every right to look towards a bright future considering the increasing number of players looking to line out for the school’s football teams. Add in this year’s All-Ireland PPS final success and Tomás Mac a t’Saoir believes the foundations are in place to achieve their future goals.
“There are 68 first years registered for the coming year,” Mac a t’Saoir added.
“Football is a great opportunity for them and a great outlet outside of their schoolwork, something for them to look forward to. The more people we get out playing the better and it doesn’t matter if they are successful or not. Football should be something to look forward to in their lives. I’d be happy enough with that.
“I have to mention the massive support we got at the All-Ireland final. There were bus loads of supporters there. Especially on a Saturday when children have lots of other commitments with different sports and what not. Pretty close to the entire school staff was in Bruff as well as all the parents and members of the local clubs too.
“The clubs deserve a lot of credit for the quality of players coming out of East Cork. It all bodes well for the future.”
The school finish 2022 as Lidl All-Ireland PPS senior A champions and, more importantly, have sown the seeds for future success.
Shauna Cashman, Amelia Cooper, Sally McAllister, Dara Kiniry, Grace Rooney, Róisín Keane, Emily Brenner, Brianna Smith, Kaitlin Smith, Lainey O’Sullivan, Rachel Quirke, Ava McAuliffe, Aine Hallihan, Rachel Leahy, Aisling McCarthy, Natalia O’Connor, Aimee Savage, Aoife Healy, Kate O’Sullivan, Emma O’Sullivan, Gráinne O’Neill, Emily Walsh, Aoife Lee, Aoife Fitzgerald, Martha Cronin, Sophie McCarthy Keane, Laura O’Donovan, Saoirse Twomey Tangey, Ava Walsh, Rachel Ryan, Sophie Kelleher, Nia Holland, Anna Brenner and Caitlin Horgan.