Pat the Baker Post Primary Schools Connacht Senior B Ladies Final

Pat the Baker Post Primary Schools Connacht Senior B Ladies Final

Presentation Headford 3-7 St Joseph’s Castlebar 3-6

Michael Gallagher in Caherlistrane

Choker for reigning Champs St Joe¹s

SEVEN minutes of injury-time at the end of this hard-fought provincial final produced enough drama to keep any Hollywood producer in riches for the rest of his existence. Great scores, even better saves, an amazing comeback and a point with the final kick of a memorable battle, produced ecstasy and agony in equal measure.
At the final whistle the young ladies in the black and white of Headford danced in the Caherlistrane sunshine, as all around them the white and blue warriors from Castlebar sank to the ground as devastation came calling.
Headford had entered injury time with a four-point lead, but St Joseph’s never lost their conviction and drove forward time and time again. In the 62nd minute Kathryn Sullivan landed a fine point to leave a goal between them and twice in the following moments they forced Headford’s net-minder, Mary Kate Killilea, into superb stops. Then six minutes into injury time a flowing move involving Sullivan and Olivia Tolster put Niamh Moylette through for the equalising goal amid scenes of huge emotion.
Then with the sands of time almost gone, Headford went on one last drive downfield. They moved the ball forward with purpose and when it eventually arrived in the hands of Fiona O’Connor she turned and sent it curling between the posts to unleash scenes of wild celebration in the Galway ranks.
The finale was cruel in the extreme on the Castlebar students, but in fairness they had only themselves to blame such was their wastefulness throughout the entire match and the fact that they conceded two very soft goals in the second half.
Headford had started the match in impressive form with points from Rachel Murphy and Billy Jo Maguire but St Joseph’s slowly found their feet with Olivia Tolster to the fore. The deadly corner-forward knocked over two points then in the 12th minute she volleyed home the opening goal when latching onto a through ball from Rebecca Conway.
The see-saw nature of the contest continued in the following minutes as Headford roared back into contention. Gillian O’Connor kicked two excellent points and Sarah Murphy equalised before a long ball into the Castlebar goalmouth allowed the impressive Deirdre Lawless the space to rattle the net.
That advantage was only temporary however as St Jopseph’s tore downfield and a move involving Tolster and Mary Naughton ended with Rebecca Conway smashing home her side’s second goal.
The 50/50 characteristic of the first half almost took the game to the midway point at parity but O’Connor’s pointed free ensured that Headford had the slightest of advantages, 1-6 to 2-2.
Sullivan leveled matters soon after the break with a smart point, but moments later Aisling Doherty slipped in behind a static Castlebar rearguard and touched the ball under Laura Walsh to put her side back in the driving seat.
Headford knew that they were in a commanding position at that stage, but Castlebar fought back bravely. Sarah Grealis and Lisa McManamon were to the fore as the revival took shape and points from Sullivan and Tolster soon had them on the coat-tails of the leaders. Then in the 49th minute Niamh Moylette’s goal-bound shot was stopped by an illegal foot-block and St
Joseph’s had a penalty.
Tolster stepped forward but Killilea was equal to her effort and when Deirdre Lawless’ long range effort went all the way to the net in the 54th minute it seemed as if the result had been decided.
That assumption didn’t take the fighting qualities of St Joseph’s into account. Time after time they drove forward, but time and time again Killilea produced fabulous saves to keep her side in front.
Then injury-time arrived with four points between the teams and nobody realised the excitement, drama, delight and devastation that the added period would bring with it.

Headford: Deirdre Lawless 2-0, Gillian O’Connor 0-3f, Aisling Doherty 1-0, Rachel Murphy, Billy Jo Maguire, Sarah Murphy and Fiona O’Connor 0-1 each St Joseph’s: Olivia Tolster 1-3 (0-2f), Kathryn Sullivan 0-3, Rebecca Conway and Niamh Moylette 1-0 each

HEADFORD: Mary Kate Killilea; Aine Curry, Lillian Donoghue, Aisling Doherty; Louise Reilly, Leanne Fahy, Mary Murphy; Deirdre Lawless, Sarah Murphy; Billy Jo Maguire, Gillian O’Connor, Mariah Butler; Rachel Murphy, Aoife Scully, Nicola O’Connor
Subs: Emma Varley and Michelle Rock for Reilly and Curry (47), Fiona O’Connor for S. Murphy (inj, 54)
ST JOSEPH’S: Laura Walsh; Agnes Hoban, Aoife Healy, Sarah Grealis; Shona Conway, Aisling Grealis, Claire Ryder; Aisling Lydon, Lisa McManamon; Rebecca Conway, Kathryn Sullivan, Orla Conlon; Olivia Tolster, Caroline Ormsby, Mary Naughton
Sub: Niamh Moylette for Naughton (42), Edel Connaughton for Conlon (48)
Referee: Vivian Hardiman (Roscommon)

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