"Truly awesome" was how someone described the game as Coláiste Dún Iascaigh's junior camogie players claimed the Munster Junior Camogie title for the first time in the school's history. It was a hectic week for the girls as they had to play the semi final only three days beforehand, defeating Laurel Hill of Limerick 8-5 to 2-1 in a commanding performance. This set up a final with outright competition favourites, east Cork side Midleton, who had defeated Cashel in the other semi.
Coliste Dn Iascaigh went into this match as the underdogs but within minutes of the throw-in it was obvious the girls were not in awe of their physically bigger opponents. Buoyed on by a core group of supporters the girls set about their task. The Cahir side went on the offensive and left Midleton stunned after 10 minutes with 1-2 on the board courtesy of a Roisin Howard opening point, an Aisling Moloney free and a goal from Roisin that had the Cahir supporters jumping for joy as she rattled the net after a fantastic solo run.
Midleton's sole response for the entire half was a solitary point but this was only a reflection of how utterly miserly a mood Coliste Dn Iascaigh's backs were in. Going into this game management were aware how dangerous Midleton's full forward was but Emma Corcoran had her opponent completely under control and kept her scoreless for the entire game with a master class in full back play. In the corners Jackie Doyle and Jessica Weste were composed and when introduced Claire Walsh added more steel to the wall that was the full back line.
Further out the field while Midleton did eventually get to grips with Coliste Dn Iascaigh's forwards, they found it difficult to progress against a strong Cahir defence. Similar to the full back line, Coliste Dn Iascaigh's half back line was in scintillating form. In the center Emma Buckley's fielding and positional play broke down many a Midleton attack. At this stage Midleton did have more of the possession but couldn't breach the dam. On Emma Buckley's flanks her half backs Megan Heffernan and Rebecca English had storming first half performances. The move of Aoife Murray to center forward really tore the heart out the Midleton defence as she produced her best performance in the Coliste jersey to date. Aoife's performance embodied the Colaiste's first half performance, strong, clean and fast paced hurling. It was only fitting that Maureen Murphy, who like Murray was playing some of her finest camogie, scored a great point to end the half. Michaela Maher, Katie Farrell and Roisin Costigan played their part in the game's proceedings in the full forward line and Midleton had serious trouble in clearing their lines. The halftime score read Coliste Dn Iascaigh 1-3 Midleton 0-1 and was a fair reflection of play.
On the resumption of play Rachel O'Dwyer was introduced into full forward. Coliste Dn Iascaigh were first to register a score but it took 10 minutes before the ever-so dangerous Roisin Howard popped the sliothar over the bar. Aoife Corcoran, sister of Emma at full back was brought on at corner forward. Aoife had missed the semi final due to injury but one would not have suspected that as she scored what could be described as the score of the game. With literally her first touch of the ball she picked it up, soloed to the corner and from an almost impossible angle scored a wonderful point.
This drove the girls onwards. Aoife Corcoran was then on target for Coliste Dn Iascaigh's second goal after a long-range shot found the back of the net. Roisin Howard followed this with another fine point to leave Midleton in deep trouble. To their credit they replied in true Cork style but Aisling Moloney and Emma Buckley showcased some wonderful fielding and time and again drove the ball out.
Aoife Murray and Caoimhe Condon did a trojan amount of work in the half forward line, and their work rate allowed Roisin Howard to net her second goal. At this stage Midleton finally started to falter.
Due to the heroics of Emma Corcoran and Emma Buckley, Midleton- who had scored goals freely in previous rounds- could only manage two pointed frees for the entire half. Another long-range effort from Aoife Corcoran ended up in the back of the Midleton net and signalled the end to their challenge. Aisling Maloney pointed a 45 to end the scoring for Coliste Dn Iascaigh.
The final whistle was met with utter joy as months of training in all kinds of weather conditions, long journeys round Munster all finally paid off for this great group of girls. In accepting the cup team Captain Michaela Maher thanked Coliste Dn Iascaigh's opponents Midleton, the referee and Ballynoe for a fine pitch in such cold weather conditions. She also thanked coaches Keith Morrissey and Sile O'Donnell for all their hard work and Shane Roynane and Dinny Whelan for all their collective efforts.
The girls have now made sporting history for the Coliste but it's not over yet as they now progress onto the All Ireland semi-final against the Ulster champions. That is in the near future but for now they are certainly worthy Munster champions.
Team and panel: Laura Dillon, Jessica Weste, Emma Corcoran, Jackie Doyle, Megan Heffernan, Emma Buckley, Rebecca English, Aisling Maloney (0-2, free 45'), Maureen Murphy (0-1), Roisin Howard (2-3), Michaela Maher (Capt.), Caoimhe Condon, Roisin Costigan, Aoife Murray, Rachel O'Dwyer, Alana Bourke, Katie Farrell, Chloe Reilly, Ashley McInerny, Laura Casey, Claire Doyle, Claire Walsh, Aoife Corcoran (2-1), Joye Arbuckle, Kirsty Arbuckle, Kayleigh Bourke, Maria Ryan, Coaches Keith Morrissey and Sile O'Donnell.