ISDELL DOES THE TRICK
Griffith girls keep the crown despite brave Mary’s effort
DUBLIN SENIOR ‘A’ CAMOGIE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
ST MARY’S, NAAS………………………………….3-7
FIONA ISDELL hit a magnificent hat-trick at Portmarnock Community School last Friday to secure back-to-back Dublin Schools Senior ‘A’ Camogie Championship titles for Dominican College at the expense of St Mary’s College, Naas.
Thanks to the combined forces of Saibh Mangan and Eile O Ceallaigh, the Griffith Avenue outfit got the better of Loreto Beaufort in last year’s Abbotstown-set decider. O Ceallaigh returned to the Dominicans line-up for their latest shot at Metropolitan glory and while Mary’s pushed them all the way on this occasion, Eoin Ryan’s side eventually emerged with four points to spare.
Because their opponents hail from the neighbouring county of Kildare, Dominicans were guaranteed a passage to the All-Ireland series regardless of the result on the day. Nevertheless, they were understandably hell-bent on retaining their crown in the northside venue.
Following a tentative opening, wing-forwards Lucy Skelly and Ciara Kavanagh pointed to give the holders an early cushion. Yet courtesy of the dual threat provided by Sophie Browne (free) and Roisin Roche, Mary’s restored parity on the first-quarter mark.
This served to galvanise their challenge and they subsequently edged in front when Tara Bedford’s long-distance effort slipped past Sarah Cullen on 18 minutes. This was only a brief set-back for Dominicans as Isdell rattled the opposition net in the swiftest of fashions.
O Ceallaigh also forced a fine stop out from Mary’s custodian Hannah Murphy, before the Lilywhite girls regained the initiative. After gathering close to goal, the influential Roche hand-passed home for her side’s second goal of the period.
Browne also bagged a point on the half-hour mark to stretch Mary’s further in front – that was until Dominicans gave themselves a lifeline just in time for the interval. The increasingly prominent Isdell dropped deep to secure possession, turned towards the posts and proceeded to unleash an unstoppable strike beyond the reach of Murphy.
This left Dominicans a single point in arrears (2-3 to 2-2) and they carried this momentum forward into the second half. Ailbhe Noonan’s speculative attempt three minutes after the resumption deflected off Murphy and into the net.
But Mary’s are nothing if not resilient and they once again threw a spanner into the works off their next foray into the Dominican half. Midfielder Tara Doorey had switched to a more advance position and she delivered a sensational angled strike to the top right-hand corner of the net.
The action in Carrickhill was becoming relentless and the outstanding Isdell stepped up to the mark for Dominican in typically clinical style. Despite finding herself at a tight angle, the dynamic full-forward completed her hat-trick and consequently restored their two-point cushion.
An Allie McGrath score kept Mary’s in contention, but they suffered a hammer blow when centre-back Aoife McCarthy was forced off through injury. There was a 13-minute delay as she received treatment before, thankfully, being able to walk off.
In her absence, McGrath and Browne registered back-to-back points to give Mary’s a slender buffer during a crucial juncture. There was still plenty of time for Dominican to respond and they did so like true champions.
Noonan bagged her second goal with 64 minutes on the clock, preceding unanswered points for Kavanagh (two) and Aifric Mangan. Doorey ended this scoring sequence with a well-worked effort for Mary’s, but it wasn’t enough to halt Dominican’s march.
Scorers – Dominican College: F Isdell 3-0, A Noonan 2-0, C Kavanagh 0-3 (1f), L Skelly, A Mangan 0-1 each. St Mary’s, Naas: T Doorey, R Roche 1-1 each, T Bedford 1-0, S Browne 0-3 (1f), A McGrath 0-2.
DOMINICAN COLLEGE: S Cullen; R Fitzsimons, A Trawally, H Cullen; S Ahern, E Bryne, S Nyhan; J Gleeson, R Dobbs; C Kavanagh, A Sullivan, L Skelly; A Noonan, F Isdell, E O Ceallaigh. Subs: E Ahern for Dobbs (h-t), A Mangan for Skelly (41).
ST MARY’S, NAAS: H Murphy; A Burke, E Lynch, E O’Boyle; H Goodfellow, A McCarthy, L Friel; S Carroll, T Doorey; A McDermott, S Browne, A McGrath; T Bedford, R Roche, S Byrne. Sub: A Kennedy for McCarthy (57).
Referee: K O’Brien (Good Counsel).