Victory for Goosebank side after thrilling county final
A hat-trick from Kilcoole’s Caitlin O’Toole helped the girls from the Goosebank to a wonderful Junior camogie crown after a thoroughly entertaining county final in Dunbur Park on Saturday afternoon last.
As opening games in triple headers go, this was a cracking game to get the juices flowing, and both sides can be congratulated for an excellent battle that was very much in the mix right up until the last few moments when Chloe Byrne found the net for the insurance score to send the Kilcoole supporters delirious with joy.
Dunbur Park was bathed in sunshine for this opening game and a disappointingly small crowd turned out to watch these two gallant sides go to war. Nevertheless, there was still plenty of colour and flags from the loyal followers who did make the trip to the Wicklow Town venue and they were all treated to a full-blooded contest that set the tone for the great day.
A goalmouth scramble early on led to Aughrim’s Annette Keenan finishing home from close range. The women from the Granite City were playing with the wind at their backs for the opening half and it would play a significant part in the afternoon right across the three games as it came and went with a strange randomness over the course of the afternoon.
Aughrim’s opening major was answered swiftly and ruthlessly by Caitlin O’Toole after three minutes following a Robyn Rooney ball.
Less than three minutes later Kilcoole were celebrating again when a Leanne Hannon free found Lucy Rooney who fed O’Toole who rifled home her second major for the Goosbankers.
Paul Whelan’s charges steadied the ship and began to settle down and play some impressive hurling in this their second decider on the trot having lost out to Annacurra last year after a replay.
A fine point from the very impressive Kasey Byrne was followed up by a goal from the same player after her speculative shot found the back of the net off the hurl of Sinead Roche in the Kilcoole goal to give Aughrim a 2-1 to 2-0 lead after 10.
Aoife Keddy drew the sides level with a fine point, and she added a free after Doireann O’Brien was adjudged to have fouled Lucy Rooney.
Aughrim sent Eimear O’Brien into the fray after 19 minutes in the hope that her pace and skill would get the better of the Kilcoole defence. O’Brien had made a massive impact when coming on for the Tinahely ladies football team in their victory over St Pat’s in the Senior county final and while her side didn’t have the same end result on the final whistle here she still acquitted herself very well in her time on the pitch.
A pointed free from captain Sheenagh Byrne pulled the game back all square after 22 at 2-2 apiece and she followed that with another humdinger three minutes later to return Aughrim to the summit.
Kilcoole were showing a few signs of pressure getting to them perhaps at this late stage in the first half but they were well and truly in this battle.
Sheenagh Byrne pointed another free to make it 2-4 to 2-2 but it was Ava Whelan who really provided the massive boost for Paul Whelan’s side when she saved superbly from Caitlin O’Toole.
A foul on Kate Campbell saw Kasey O’Brien step up and fire over but Kilcoole were looking really dangerous and Ava Whelan was required again to prevent another major, again from the hurl of O’Toole after a ball from Robyn Evans out the field.
Kilcoole’s scoreless streak would end early in the second half when Robyn Rooney pointed and now the game started to really heat up.
Chloe Byrne came in for Megan Longmore after 10 and Leanne Hannon split the posts with a free to reduce Aughrim’s advantage to one.
Annette Keenan then found the net only for Lucy Rooney to do likewise at the other end to make it 3-5 to 3-4 after 13.
Aughrim introduced Rachel Campbell for Aoife Healy but the Granite City side were rocked when Caitlin O’Toole collected a long ball over the top to fire home to send them surging ahead at a vital time in this game.
A wicked free from Sheenagh Byrne under serious pressure reduced the gap to one and although Aughrim threw everything they had at the Kilcoole defence, Chloe Byrne’s late goal absolutely sickened the Granite City side’s challenge and it was Kilcoole’s day after what can only be described as a thriller of a county final.
Scorers – Kilcoole: Caitlin O’Toole 3-0, Lucy Rooney 1-0, Chloe Byrne 1-0, Aoife Keddy 0-2 (1f), Robyn Rooney 0-1, Leanne Hannon 0-1.
Aughrim: Annette Keenan 2-0, Kasey Byrne 1-2 (1f), Sheenagh Byrne 0-4 (3f).
KILCOOLE: Sinead Roche; Molly Walker, Jade Byrne, Frances Kearns; Robyn Evans, Sarah Gammell, Sarah Nolan; Leanne Harmon, Ciara Kelly; Aoife Keddy, Robyn Rooney, Anneliese Dunne; Caitlin O’Toole, Lucy Rooney, Megan Longmore. Subs: Chloe Byrne, Rachel Finnegan, Rachel Dutton, Kayla Devlin, Amy Byrne, Ava Condon.
AUGHRIM: Ava Whelan; Erin O’Toole, Doireann O’Brien, Emma Shannon; Ellen O’Hara, Emma Murphy, Aoife O’Brien; Kate Campbell, Sheenagh Byrne; Kasey Byrne, Emer O’Toole, Leanne Quigley; Molly Healy, Katie O’Byrne, Annette Keenan. Subs: Aoife Healy, Aine O’Shea, Eimear O’Brien, Rachel Campbell, Noeleen Whelan.
REFEREE: Robert Roche (Carnew Emmets)
The Kilcoole camogie team and mentors after their superb victory over Aughrim in the Junior county final in Dunbur Park last Saturday.
Wicklow County Camogie Chairman Ivor Lehane presents Kilcoole captain Frances Kearns Coady with the Junior cup after the showdown with Aughrim in Dunbur Park.
There were wonderful scenes of celebration after the final whistle.