Glory for Rossa as O'Donovan leads the way to junior title All-Ireland Junior Club Championship final


O’Donovan Rossa 2-7

 Claremorris 0-11


By Daire Walsh

 Éabha O’Donovan struck a majestic 2-5 at Parnell Park on Sunday as O’Donovan Rossa secured the All-Ireland Junior Club Championship title at the end of a monumental battle with Claremorris.

One point adrift heading into the closing moments, O’Donovan pounced for her second goal on 54 minutes to ultimately get the West Cork side over the line in dramatic fashion.

 There are a number of family connections in this O’Donovan Rossa side to the team that won an All-Ireland senior men’s title for the club in 1993 and the Skibbereen outfit hit the ground running in this contest with back-to-back points from O’Donovan and midfielder Triona Murphy.

Claremorris restored parity with unanswered scores of their own by Bree Hession and captain Laura Kelly, but after Kate O’Connell and O’Donovan responded in kind at the far end, the latter superbly hammered an 11th minute shot to the roof of the net after intercepting a short opposition kick-out.

This moved the Cork and Munster champions into a 1-4 to 0-2 lead, but a Claremorris side that were aided by a strong breeze in the opening period cut their deficit to a bare minimum on 22 minutes following successive points from Ashleagh Salmon, Hession, Rebecca Kean (free) and Kelly.

Yet with O’Donovan subsequently adding her second free of the game, O’Donovan Rossa were two points to the good (1-5 to 0-6) in time for the interval.

More than nine minutes passed before the opening score of the second half arrived, but a place-ball contribution by O’Donovan edged the Leesiders into a three-point cushion.

Yet with Kean, Nina Wallace and Kelly all on target for Claremorris, their buffer was wiped out just beyond the third-quarter mark. Momentum appeared to be on the side of the Mayo women at this juncture and they finally held an advantage for the first time when centre half-back Siomha McNulty split the posts with seven minutes remaining.

O’Donovan Rossa had earlier lost their goalkeeper Christine Fitzgerald to injury, but their travelling supporters were in raptures after O’Donovan clinically dispatched another green flag score off her ever-reliable left boot moments later.

While a second point from Ashleagh Salmon kept Claremorris in the hunt, O’Donovan found the range from another free in the dying moments to help O’Donovan Rossa towards a hard-earned win.

 Scorers – O’Donovan Rossa: É O’Donovan 2-5 (0-5f), T Murphy, K O’Connell 0-1 each. 

Claremorris: L Kelly 0-3, R Kean 0-2 (2f), B Hession, A Salmon 0-2 each, S McNulty, N Wallace 0-1 each.

 O’Donovan Rossa: C Fitzgerald; M Donelan, E McCarthy, A Tobin; F Leonard, S Hurley, L Harte; L O’Mahony, T Murphy; J Beechinor, E Hurley, K O’Connell; É O’Donovan, K O’Donovan, F O’Driscoll. Subs: A Whooley for Donnellan, A O’Driscoll for O’Connell (both h-t), T O’Regan for Fitzgerald, O’Connell for Beechinor (both 49).

 Claremorris: C Keane; I Phillips, E Maguire, Ashling Cummins; Amy Cummins, S McNulty, S Hughes; A Fitzpatrick, J Regan; M Cawley, R Kean, B Hession; A Sammon, N Wallace, L Kelly. Subs: D Horkan for Regan (h-t), K O’Brien for Wallace (57), S Kelly for L Kelly (60).

 Referee: Ray McBride (Dublin).

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