Football Final Review27 Mar 2017
St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge 3-12 Loreto Clonmel 1-8.
By Paudie Everard, Moyle Rovers
Loreto Clonmel felt all the pain of losing an All Ireland Final as they came up against a well organised and skilful St. Joseph’s of Rochfortbridge in the Post Primary B Final played in O‘Moore Park, Portlaoise on Sunday 26th March. Loreto had started well and looked to be in a good frame of mind for the occasion. An early Ava Fennessy point followed by a Kristy Crotty Ryan pointed free gave them an early lead. The first ten minutes of the game had the Clonmel side looking the sharper outfit. However, they failed to capitalise on this period of early dominance and had only two points to show after having played the better football. Clonmel were guilty of some poor wides in addition to a very good Rochfortbridge defence who neutralised and frustrated the Loreto forwards from scoring chances. Rochfortbridge came into the game and grew in confidence as the game progressed. Loreto fought hard to stay in contention. An injury to Ailish Ryan on fifteen minutes forced her to leave the field of play. Having to start without two injured players, Captain Aisling Deely and midfielder Brigita Valuntatie this was a further psychological blow to the Clonmel side and it seemed to impact on the team. Rochfortbridge were now having the better of the exchanges but they were guilty of wides that might have been costly on a different day. By twenty seven minutes the score was 0-5 to 0-2 in favour of Rochfortbridge, as Loreto stayed in dogged contention but a goal and three points just before half time gave Rochfortbridge a platform for victory and left the Clonmel girls with a big challenge for the second half. Half time score Rochfortbridge 1-8 Clonmel Loreto 0-2.
The stiff breeze would assist Clonmel in the second half and they opened the scoring with two pointed frees. Rochfortbridge responded with two pointed frees before Loreto once again narrowed the gap to seven points with pointed frees. This was as good it got for Loreto as Rochfortbridge had a goal from player of the match Hannah Core to kill off any hopes of a Loreto revival. Five minutes later their Captain Ruth O’Connor had another goal with a blistering shot to the net to put the game beyond reach. Loreto however did not give up and are to be admired for sticking to their task and contesting every ball as keenly as they had done all day. They had some good goal chances before they were justly rewarded with a good goal from Maeve Ryan who had come forward from the backs. The last play of the day went to hard working centerfielder Cora Maher who kicked a great point to leave the final score St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge 3-12 Loreto Clonmel 1-8.
There was no faulting any players on the Loreto team. They tried their best to get the fluency and movement, associated with previous games, going but it did not happen on the day. The big occasion took its toll and manifested itself in handling errors and wrong options at times. This is to be expected of young players on a big stage. They are to be commended for contesting fiercely and never giving up. They will be disappointed they did not do justice to the level of performances they are capable of. This team has played some brilliant games and shown some great skills and high levels of performance that just did not happen for them on Sunday. On the path to the final they disposed of three Cork schools and two Kerry schools to win Munster. They beat a very good Westport side to reach the decider and can look back with great pride on their journey to the All-Ireland. They have a young team who can look forward with hope and confidence that they will be back in another final in the near future. The dedicated team management of Niamh Barry and Brian White were understandably disappointed with the result. Preparations were not helped by injuries and injury scares in the week before the Final. They are to be congratulated and thanked for leading this Loreto team to an All Ireland Final which in itself is a rare and wonderful honour and achievement.
Team: Claire Moore, Niamh Martin, Maeve Ryan (1-0) , Sadbh Hallinan, Ailish Ryan, Kellyann Hogan, Derbhile Fitzgearld, Cora Maher (0-1), Orla Winston, Aine Fitzgearld, Anna Carey, Orla Burke, Ava Fennessy (0-1), Kristy Crotty Ryan (0-6, 5f), Jenny Everard. Subs used: Shania Dowling, Veerle van der Wal, Anna Morris, Aisling Deely (C), Rosin Breen.
Panel: Aoibheen Cody, Ciara Ryan, Caoimhe Mulcahy, Ciara Corbett, Ciara Slattery, Lizzie Ryan, Lorraine Dunne, Roweena Dowling, Brigita Valuntatie (inj)
Kirsty Crotty-Ryan ploughing through St. Joseph’s defence!