Football continues to thrive in Loreto Clonmel, with the school recording another stunning victory in the Munster Junior Schools Ladies Football Football Final. Last year the school won its first ever Senior All Ireland final in heroic style, and the challenge since then has been to continue on their winning ways. A fortnight ago the Loreto juniors managed to bring home the Munster Junior Post Primary Schools title when they beat Kilrush in Neville Park, Rathkeale. This junior team qualified for the Munster final before Christmas by beating Laurel Hill, Castleisland and Bothar Bui in the group stages.
From the throw-in the Clonmel girls proved too powerful for the Kilrush girls, and within minutes Megan Shanahan fired home the opening goal after some clever teamwork. It was a short wait for Loreto to find the net again, this time very skilfully through Daniela Di Ruzza of Moyle Rovers. Kilrush scored 2 points of their own but Loreto answered with points from Megan Shanahan, Sarah Ryan, Sarah Everard and Lauren Guiry before Clonmel raised another green flag just before the break with a Sarah Ryan goal. This left a half time score of 3.5 to 0.2 in favour of Loreto, having played the opening half into the teeth of a strong wind.
The signs now looked good for the Clonmel side and they extended their lead in the second half with an early goal and a point from Rathgormack’s Aoife Dunne. However from then on Kilrush worked tirelessly and came in droves at the Loreto backline and created a number of opportunities. Loreto’s fullback line of Hazel Shanahan, Shannon Keating and Leanne Ryan were immense in the face of this threat.
Kilrush scored 3 points but Clonmel responded with points from Sarah Everard, Megan Shanahan, Sarah Ryan and Lauren Guiry. The midfield and half back line stood up to the challenge with captain Dara Walsh and Laura Grace dominating. Everena Everard was introduced to boost the Loreto and this proved crucial. Niamh Mackey at centre back, assisted by Aoife Power and Orlaith Ryan on the wings were in complete control. However with 10 minutes left Kilrush scored a well deserved goal to put a little more life back in the game. Heather Hammond between the posts was exceptional in making a spectular double save for the Clonmel side and this ensured an easy victory for Loreto. Kilrush scored two more points but it was Loreto who went on to win comfortably, with the final say going to half-back Aoife Power who scored a magnificent point in the dying minutes.
Referee Sean Joy of Kerry blew the full-time whistle and the Clonmel players and supporters were delighted with their win. Hazel Shanahan, Loreto full back was awarded player of the match award and Dara Walsh stepped forward to collect the cup on behalf of her team. Loreto will now march on and face the winners of Leinster in an All Ireland Semi Final in the hope of another shot at bringing All Ireland glory back to Tipperary once more.
Team - Heather Hammond, Shannon Keating, Hazel Shanahan, Leanne Ryan, Aoife Power, Niamh Mackey, Orlaith Ryan, Dara Walsh (Captain),Laura Grace, Daniela Di Ruzza, Sarah Everard, Lauren Guiry, Megan Shannahan, Sarah Ryan, Aoife Dunne. Subs - Shania Dowling, Caroline Quirke, Everna Everard, Enya Fogarty, Emma Whelan, Michelle McMeel, Chloe Lambert, Sarah McDermott, Eimear O’Donghue, Ciara O’Loughlin, Emily Corcoran, Jessica Dawson, Aisling Deely, Orla Burke and Claire Moore.
Congratulaions to Treasa McGrath and Sinead Grant, who both played with Munster in the first ever Interprovincial blitz recently. Munster came out victorious after a series of games.