Division Two Final
St. Patrick’s 0-17 Roche Emmets 1-11
St. Patrick’s made it a season to remember as they added the Division 2 League title to the Intermediate Championship success of last month played before a huge crowd in Kilkerley on Sunday morning.
This league final between two extremely passionate sides produced a thoroughly thrilling spectacle, with the result finely balanced right up until Finbarr Shanahan blew his whistle three minutes into added time.
County star Kate Flood who leaves for Australian Rules duty with Freemantle over the next few days was pivotal to the Lordship side’s latest success. While fortune was not on the County Captain’s side midway through the first half when her superb effort hit the crossbar, her performance oozed class, quality and enthusiasm. Flood hit eleven points over the hour and some were of the highest quality. This was a magnificent performance from a player who, on the basis of this all-action display, could take to the Aussie Rules game with ease.
Pat’s enjoyed the lion’s share of possession early on but a combination of some outstanding Roche defending and failure to convert their chances saw the sides level three points each midway through the half, before Kate Flood did brilliantly to create an opening only to see her venomous drive kept out by the woodwork.
Flood and Seona Halligan swapped points before Sarah McArdle with a superb effort put Roche ahead for the first time 0:5 to 0:4 in the 22nd minute. Roche enjoyed their best spell of the half and added further scores courtesy of Halligan, Aisling Begley, and midfielder Louise Byrne to lead by 0:9 to 0:6 at the break.
Pat’s looked in real trouble early in the second half as their captain Aine Breen was shown a yellow card for a challenge on Seona Halligan but Jenny McCourt who would normally convert such frees was off target from the resultant kick.
Moments later Aisling Begley’s quickly taken free found Louise Byrne in space but again the chance to take a commanding lead wasn’t taken as the midfielder fired narrowly wide. The Faughart parish side did get the goal their enterprising played deserved and were five in front after Sarah McArdle finished a fine move with a sensational strike from 25 yards which which gave Shannagh Toner McCaughley in the Pat’s goal no chance of stopping to leave Mickey Heaney’s side 1:9 to 0:7 ahead on 41 minutes.
Pat’s created a goal chance of their own moments later but Roche keeper Claire McCann did well to push an Aisling O’Doherty pile-driver over the bar, it was at this stage that Flood took centre stage, hitting three wonderful points, two of them from what appeared impossible positions close to the sideline to tie the scores 1:9 to 0:12 on 48 minutes. As the noise level from the Lordship sides following increased Meg Woods edged them ahead before the county captain hit another incredible score from distance. Roche were again thankful for the intervention of the woodwork as Aine Breen saw her shot kept out by the post before Katie Conlon was also denied by the post from the resultant play. It was the fourth time that Pat’s saw efforts kept out by the woodwork.
Two further wonder scores from Flood put Pat’s 0:16 to 1:9 ahead with just seven minutes left. Roche to their credit didn’t give up and a Jenny McCourt free followed by a superb point from Sarah McArdle off her left foot reduced the deficit to just two points in the 55th minute to setup a tense finish.
But again it was Flood who settled any nerves with another brilliant score to ensure Pat’s would make amends for losing at the same stage against Mattock Rangers in Clan Na Na Gael Park in the 2018 final.
One of the stars of the day and the Pats season overall, Anna Whyte, was naturally thrilled with the victory and felt that overall the Lordship girls deserved to come out on top.
“We are delighted to come out on top in the end. It was a great game to play in and very close throughout, so that makes it all the more exciting. I think when Aine was sent off everyone felt it was a bit harsh so there was a sense that we had to step up as a team. It was brilliant the way everyone responded to the setback and I don’t think we ever felt that they game was beyond us even when Roche got the goal,” added the centre half back.
“It was unbelievable that as a team we didn’t panic or get frustrated as we just kept playing our football. Aisling and Deirbhile O’Doherty won some brilliant ball and Kate was unbelievable in front of goal. When Kate is in that mood there is no stopping her and that really lifted the whole team. “It was a very tough game but there is no doubt that we deserved the victory because we didn’t give in when things were going against us. I think each player gave everything on the day and some of our support play brilliant, so we are thrilled to win.
“It is hard to describe the feeling but we are beyond delighted to complete the double. It is a great reward for all the work we put in over the year and is definitely a season we will never forget,” added Anna who paid tribute to the efforts of John Rice, Karen Fealy, Christopher Mackin and Kevin McKeown for the effort they put in all season.
“Winning the championship was our main aim but going up to Division 1 is a real bonus as playing in Division 1 next year will stand to us and help us improve as a team”, added Anna.
St. Patrick’s: Shannagh Toner McCaughley; Melissa O’Hanlon, Naoimh Butterly, Ellen Barry; Denise Finnegan, Anna Whyte, Deirbhile O’Doherty; Aine Breen, Kate Cumiskey; Jacqui McArdle, Kate Flood (0-11), Aisling O’Doherty (0-1); Mary Loughran, Katie Conlon, Meg Woods (0-5). Sub: Nicola Connor for Conlon.
Roche Emmets: Claire McCann; Katie Halligan, Arlene Marmion, Lauren Meehan; Caoimhe Treanor, Niamh Callan, Anna Murphy; Aoife Halligan, Louise Byrne (0-2); Aisling Begley (0-1), Tracey Rogers, Sarah McArdle (1-2); Jenni McCourt (0-3), Seona Halligan (0-3), Caoimhe Maxwell. Sub: Claire McDonald for Maxwell.
Referee: Finbarr Shanahan (Dublin)
Report by Dermot Woods, Louth LGFA PRO. Photos by Colin Halligan & Veronica Traynor.