Tipperary captured the All-Ireland Under 14 B Ladies Football title on Saturday courtesy of six point victory over Donegal at Tuam Stadium, 2-10 to 1-7.
Seven days previously, prospects of All-Ireland silverware looked remote but two injury time goals secured a replay. As with typical Irish weather it had deteriorated to a very wet and windy day with the wind blowing from one goal to the other.
Donegal won the toss and opted to play against the wind. Tipperary took full advantage of this in the first two minutes with a Caitlin Kennedy goal and two points from Angela McGuigan and Caitlin Kennedy. Donegal’s first point in the sixth minute was from Amy Boyle Carr.
The teams traded points before Angela McGuigan pointed a free and Caitlin Kennedy added another point for Tipperary stretching their margin to six points entering the second quarter. Tipperary were looking the stronger team but the defenders for both sides were the dominant ones as there was no scores for the next eight minutes.
Kate McClenaghan added to the Donegal score line with a point, the last for the half. Ciara Dwan and Ruth Butler each pointed for Tipperary leaving the half time score 1-7 to 0-3.
A revitalised Donegal team returned and with the aid of the breeze added a Megan Havlin goal and a point courtesy of Clodagh Ní Ghallchóir. Suddenly, there was only three points between the sides.
Two more points from Tipperary’s Ellie Ryan and Angela McGuigan were traded with two points from Clodagh Ní Ghallchóir. Substitutions made as the game approached the final quarter re-energised the Tipperary side with Emma Ryan putting Tipperary in front by four heading in to the closing stages. Mya Alcorn responded with a point in the 62nd minute but as Donegal pushed forward seeking a goal, it was Tipperary who once again came up trumps in injury time as Eimear Boland raised the green flag and ensure the title was going back to Tipperary.
Congratulations to the management team of manager Ed Burke; selectors Garreth Byrne, Frances Ryan, Mary Murphy and Tony Smith and physio Olly Griffinfor their outstanding commitment to the team.
Nicola O’Dwyer received the Player of the Match Award from Hugh Devenney, Ladies Gaelic Football, and joint captains, Nicola O’Dwyer and Maire Creedon received the All Ireland Cup.
The team’s never say die attitude won each game for them. Throughout the year they had provided thrilling games and they have received their reward now, well done girls. A special mention to the parents of the ladies who gave up their time to attend training and matches.
Thanks to Kevin O’Leary, Clonmel for sponsoring the team. Well done to all the supporters who travelled the long journey with the team.
Tipperary:- Nicola O’Dwyer, Captain (Mullinahone); Niamh Martin (Slievenamon), Aine Hahessy (Slievenamon), Eimear O’Connor (Ardfinnan); Dervla Heffernan (Boherlahan), Caitlin Kennedy (Aherlow), Ciara Maher (Thurles Sarsfields); Maire Creedon (Thurles Sarsfields), Orla Winston (Clonmel Commercials); Lucy Spillane (Fethard), Ava Fennessy (Clonmel Commercials), Ruth Butler (Templemore); Niamh Ryan (Moyne Templetuohy), Angela McGuigan (Slievenamon), Ciara Dwan (Boherlahan).
Subs used:- Ellie Ryan (Boherlahan) for Niamh Ryan (H/T); Louise Norris (Moyle Rovers) for Dervla Heffernan (43rd); Cailín Napier (Clonmel Commercials) for Ruth Butler (43rd); Emma Ryan (Lattin Cullen) for Ciara Dwan (53rd); Eimear Boland (St. Pat’s) for Ellie Ryan (55th)
Scorers:- Caitlin Kennedy 1-2, Angela McGuigan 0-3, Eimear Boland 1-0, Orla Winston 0-1, Ciara Dwan 0-1, Ruth Butler 0-1, Ellie Ryan 0-1, Emma Ryan 0-1.