AGB win Senior crown
Arklow Geraldines-Ballymoney 1-15, An Tóchar 26: In the ladies’ Senior football final in Aughrim on Sunday A.G.B. became the first side from Arklow to win a Senior title.
The girls from the town showed the grit and determination, which they had in their last unsuccessful attempts to wrest the crown from Blessington in ‘05 and ‘06, to run out deserving and worthy champions over the hour.
The difference this year was the talent of their forward division led by Tanya McDonald and Jessie McEleron who have throughout the year run up large scores.
Their opponents, An Tóchar, also have a proud tradition in Senior ladies and are the only team to win nine-in-a-row in the ‘90s. In fact three of the team yesterday were involved in their last successes, Fiona White, Nikki Dunne and Lorna O’Gorman.
Yesterday’s match started with a parade of both teams before a very vocal and enthusiastic support behind the Parnell Memorial Pipe Band and the music continued for the raging hot favourites Arklow with an early lead being provided by points by Tanya McDonald (2) and Aife Kavanagh before An Tochar responded with a point from county star Monica Lynch.
This point spurred the Arklow girls on and with their hard-working player of the match Catriona Byrne providing the ammunition the bullets in the form of points rained on the An Tochar goal and points from McDonald, McEleron and Kavanagh left the score at 0-10 to 0-2 to A.G.B with half-time fast approaching. Both goalkeepers, Linda Dempsey for Arklow and particularly Therese Molloy for An Tóchar, were doing well saving several attempts at goal but the finest block of the day came when with Lynch in full flow and bearing down on goal the advancing Helen Hurley refused to yield and blocked a piledriver from its goal seeking target.
It was this resolute defending together with some wayward free-taking from the village team which kept A.G.B. ahead with the interval approaching. The break for An Tóchar then came when following hard work by Marcella Price, Nikki Dunne rose highest to fist home to leave the half-time score at 0-10 to 1-2 in favour of A.G.B.
A feature of the first-half was the battle between Aife Kavanagh from AGB and Sarah Miley from An Tochar. These players went at it from the off with nothing between the players throughout.
Kavanagh scored a number of points from frees but from general play the honours in this duel were generally even. The significance of this dual was that both players are 15 years of age. They, along with several other players from both squads, are a result of excellent work currently being done at juvenile level in the clubs and the vibrant youth policy which is so much part of our ladies game.
The second-half was as close fought as the first and with both defences on top it was the firepower of Kavanagh, McEleron and McDonald which held sway despite the points raised by Nikki Dunne and Chrissie Shortt.
The final icing on the cake from an Arklow point of view came when McDonald eventually rounded O’Gorman who had held the Arklow ace in check for a lot of the game and fired to the net.
However, with their neversay-die attitude the sky and navy girls broke up field and in what was their final score, Joanne Carstairs finished to the net to leave the score 1-15 to 2-6 in Arklow’s favour.
In a match of fine performances An Tóchar were best served by Monica Lynch, Lorna O’Gorman, Sarah Miley , Jennifer O’Gorman, Marcella and Nikki Dunne while for Arklow both the Byrnes, Aine and Cathriona, together with Tanya McDonald, Jessie McEleron, Ailbhe Kearney, Helen Hurley and Aife Kavanagh all shone.
The player of the match trophy and Joe Jacob Cup were presented to Arklow captain Cathriona Byrne by Helen Jacob and in her speech she thanked the County Board, all the players from both camps, the officials and mentors and then it was off for a cavalcade down the main street of Arklow before their victory celebrations in Christy’s while the An Tóchar girls (sponsored by the Glenview Leisure Centre) retired to their clubhouse for a meal with all their loyal supporters.
A tremendous feast of football by all teams and a day from which the winner was ladies football and a sport which is going from strength to strength within the county.
Arklow Geraldines-Ballymoney, winners of the Senior football championship.
Arklow Geraldines-Ballymoney captain Catriona Byrne receives the cup from Mary Jacob.
AGB's Jessica McElheron feels the force of An Tóchar duo Jennifer O'Gorman and Monica Lynch.