Gabriel Rangers Triumph in All-Ireland finals.

Junior Final.

Gabriel Rangers Cork 1-22 Fingallians Dublin 0-8. With a display akin to the Donoughmore one, Gabriel Rangers from the Ballydehod area of West Cork, covered themselves in glory when they were much too strong for a very young Fingallians side. The Dublin girls opened in whirlwind fashion and had 2 points on the board in he first 4 minutes through their most influential player Amy McGuiness and Natasha Barnwell They flattered to deceive and when Gabriels found their range, it was mostly one way traffic. Nollaig Cleary their goal poacher supreme, had scored 10 goals in her previous 3 games was unlucky not ot score in Gabriel’s first attack, and missed a few more chances, this was due to good goal keeping from Sarah Campbell who was excellent all through. Then Nollaig resorted to taking points and it paid a huge dividend, when she amassed 8 over the hour, an excellent return from open play. This earned her the player of the match This tally was matched by Claire 0’Brien with 5 of hers coming from frees with her trusty left boot.

The only goal of the game came in the 17th minute, from 15 year old Deirdre Cotter, that goal was the decisive score of the half and from there on the West Cork girls never looked back. From Gretta Burchill their long serving stalwart in goal right through the field Gabriel’s were strong in defence and moved the ball within purpose, to play some copy book football all through. They led at the break by 1-9 to 0-5 and this looked secure, but you never know in football No worries. The opening sequence dispelled all worries and it was Claire O”Brien and Noolaig who shot 5 points between them in a 7 minute spell that victory was virtually assured. But there was no let up and this Gabriels outfit, who have gone from strength to strength in every game never loosened their grip.

The youthful enthusiasm of Fingallians, was quenched long before the final whistle, but they never gave up and with a team whose average age is just 16, they will have a lot to offer in the future if they stuck together. Gabriels who had lost 4 Co finals in 5 years finally emerged this year as Co champions but not after a few scares particularly from Inch Rovers who won the Co B and Mourneabbey as well as Kildorrery in the final. One thing is certain the standard at this level in Cork is extremely high at the moment and now Gabriel Rangers are the proud holders of the All-Ireland title following up on Rockbán’s win of 2 years ago. Two years before that Rockchapel did the business forthe rebels. When the final whistle blew it sparked joyous scenes of celebration from the players mentors and the huge fan support the biggest of the 4 clubs on the day. From their long serving keeper Gretta Burchill, an inspiration to the team right down to the newest member of the team Meabh Westwood at Number 15 and the excellent paenl of subs, Gabriel Rangers were superb. Their defence was tuned in at all times, with another long serving stalwart Christine Deasy, Ellen Regan and Capt Ann Regan and Mary Kelleher particularly outstanding.

The midfield partnership of Deirdre Ward and Elaine Cotter worked very hard against Dublin’s best line of the team Amy McGuiness and Sinead Finnegan and the forwards as the score suggests did the rest. Full credit as well to the team mentors Kevin Kelleher Fergus Minihane and Gerry O’Brien, deserving of particular credit. A delighted Capt Helen Regan, received the cup of Joy from Geraldine Giles and the party, which will last well into the new year, had begun. Again referee Gerry Guinan of Galway did an excellent job and a feature of the day was the fact that both games were played in the true spirit of the game without rancour or controversy

Scorers ; Nollaig Cleary 0-8 Claire O’Brien 0-8 Deirdre Cotter 1-3 Clodagh O’Driscoll 0-2 Emer Cleary 0-.1 Fingallians Amy McGuiness 0-5(3 frees) Natasha Barnwell, Fiona Hudson and Antoinette Barnwell 0-1 each. Teams Gabriel Rangers. Gretta Burchill, Christine Deasy, Ellen Regan, Siobhan Dineen, Mary Kelleher, Ann Regan, capt. Kate Crowley, Deirdre Ward, Elaine Cotter, Deirdre Cotter, Clodagh O’Driscoll Claire O’Brien, Claire Daly, Nollaig Cleary, Emer Cleary, Sinead O’Driscoll, Anita Hurley, Anna Ward, Aoife Coughlan, Verona O’Driscoll, Anita Johnson, Catherine Moynihan, Denise Hayes Maebh Westwood, Maria Cregan, Hazel Byrne. Fingallians Sarah Campbell, Laura Kelley, Aoife Green, Aine Deasy, Natasha Galvin, Louise McMahon, Karen Hudson, Amy McGuiness, Sinead Finnegan, Denise McKenna, Natasha Barnwell, Catherine Keany, Fiona Hudson, Nicola Fitzgerald. capt, Aoife Kelly, Antoinette Cogley, Deborah Doherty, Devena Morgan, Linda Walsh, Suzy Manton, Emma O’Neill Emma Hatton , Clair Collins. Aoibhin Flanagan, Aoife Dunne, Catherine Finnegan, Fiona Kelly, Laura McGahan, Orla Sadlier. Manager Helen Kelly. Selectors Gerry Greene, Mary McGuiness, Mick Kelly.

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