The Irish World Junior Football Championship final
Thomas McCurtain’s 5-13
Tir Chonaill Gaels 5-4
By David Hennessy, at Irish TV Grounds, Ruislip
Thomas McCurtain’s stunned Tir Chonaill Gaels with a first half score of 3-10 that left them just no way back in this final. Maria Gilligan found the net twice inside of seven minutes, with McCurtains’ third goal coming from Orla King. Tir Chonaill Gaels’ only first half score was Fiona Morrissey’s goal. Trailing by sixteen points as the second half got underway, TCG did hit back with two goals soon after the restart but Thomas McCurtain’s, who were slicker with their passing and more lethal with their finishing throughout, would reply with an Orla Maloney goal and made sure of a deserved victory.
Thomas McCurtain’s wasted no time, pointing straight from the off through Kellie Carr. Carr would add a second moments later, finishing off an impressive passing move by the team.
It was all Thomas McCurtain’s in the opening stages and the East London team stretched their lead when Maria Gilligan raced towards goal and raised the first green flag with her unstoppable shot. Gilligan would notch a point with a good score.
Tir Chonaill Gaels were trying to establish a foothold in the game but struggling to keep their composure and find scores. They did open their account when Denise Doherty found Fiona Morrissey who shook off Aileen O’Leary and fired an unstoppable shot to the McCurtain’s net.
Unfazed or deterred, Thomas McCurtain’s kept control and responded instantly with Maria Gilligan finding the net again with just seven minutes gone. Although Gilligan shot from a tight angle, Charlotte McEleney was jus unable to keep it out. McCurtain’s led 2-3 to 1-0.
Thomas McCurtain’s stretched their lead to eight points with points from Gilligan and Orla King. King would stretch it even further with her goal, making no mistake after exchanging passes with Gilligan. A brace of Kellie Carr points made it 3-7 to 1-0. Tir Chonaill Gaels were in serious trouble of being out of contention before half-time had even arrived.
An Aoife Fitzgerald score and two points from Kathryn Canavan made the score-line 3-10 to 1-0 in Thomas McCurtain’s favour at the halfway mark. With a sixteen point cushion and the way the East London girls were playing, it was hard to see any way back for TCG.
However, the Greenford team came out determined to show they were finished yet and cut the deficit from 16 points to ten in just two minutes upon resumption. Lisa Walsh struck both shots, the second from the penalty spot.
Again, Thomas McCurtain’s responded in the right way and swiftly. Orla Maloney found the net for her team’s fourth goal when she was the quickest to react to the rebound when a free bounced in the danger zone.
Although they had hit three goals, Tir Chonaill Gaels only struck their first point in the early stages of the second half, again from Lisa Walsh.
This was quickly cancelled out by a score from Aoife Fitzgerald.
A Clare Towey score and two frees from Lisa Walsh, all without reply, would take Tir Chonaill Gaels’ tally to 3-4. The gap remained at ten points. Although Tir Chonaill Gaels were now playing with a lot more purpose and were able to create opportunities, the match just looked well beyond them.
Lisa Walsh’s third goal, created from a short free, brought Tir Chonaill Gaels to within seven points with little over five minutes left. Any hopes of a comeback were dealt a severe blow by the arrival of Thomas McCurtains’ fifth goal, scored by substitute Mary Duff following some excellent work by captain Catherine Barrett.
Two Kellie Carr scores, an individual score and a free, rounded off the scoring for this great Thomas McCurtain’s victory.
TCG did have the last word with Grainne O’Riordan’s shot finding the net for the team’s fifth.
This was a well deserved victory for Thomas McCurtain’s who were just so determined from start to finish and just too much for their opponents to contain. Tir Chonaill Gaels played below themselves and the winning captain Catherine Barrett made mention of this, and that TCG would be back holding the cup themselves next year, in her acceptance speech while TCG’s skipper Orla McWeeney admitted the best team on the day won.
Thomas McCurtain’s: Maura Flood, Ailbhe Ryan, Deirdre McArdle, Therese Cosgrove, Amy Walsh, Aileen O’Leary, Aoife Jenkins, Catherine Barrett, Aoife Fitzgerald (0-2), Nicola Donnelly, Kathryn Canavan (0-2), Kellie Carr (0-6, 1F), Orla Maloney (1-0), Maria Gilligan (2-2), Orla King (1-1). Subs: Mary Duff (1-0) for Maloney, Shauna Connolly for Donnelly, Michelle Dolan for Gilligan, Michelle Johnson for Jenkins, Claire Costello for Walsh.
Tir Chonaill Gaels: Charlotte McEleney, Eva Scanlon, Michelle O’Loughlin, Jess O’Leary, Leanne Casey-Ryan, Mary Flaherty, Ciara O’Brien, Grainne O’Riordan (1-0), Orla McWeeney, Denise Doherty, Fiona Morrissey (1-0), Leanne Sweeney, Clare Towey (0-1), Maura Byrne, Lisa Walsh (3-3, 1 pen, 2F). Subs: Janine Monahan for O’Leary, Laura Halliwood for Sweeney, Shireen Travers for Doherty.