St Josephs win their first ever provincial crown

Pat The Baker Connacht Colleges Senior Ladies C Championship


St Josephs Castlebar 2-13 St Pauls Oughterard 1-5 Courtesy
of Michael Gallagher in Parc Naomh Padraig, Caherlistrane

SPORTING dreams don’t always come true but one of the most
cherished became glorious reality on Friday last when the
young ladies of St Joseph’s won the school’s first ever
provincial football crown. Years of shattered dreams, heartbreak,
effort, preparation, skill, determination, friendship and
camaraderie all merged gloriously in the sunshine of Caherlistrane
to produce a life-changing performance for the young Castlebar
students. Many times the Convent girls had set out in search
of silverware but never once had they been successful –
that all changed on Friday. Their opponents were excellent
– highly skilled and determined – especially their number
eleven, Sinead Burke, but the young lady with strong Achill
heritage couldn¹t inspire her team to glory as St Joes finally
had their day in the sun.

The Mayo girls were in front as early as the third minute
when Olivia Tolster fired over after great work from Kathryn
Sullivan and Noelle Tierney, and they would never be headed.
Tolster would leave a lasting impression on college¹s history
with a dynamic performance and when her second point was
added to a single from Edel Connaughton, they were flying.
Oughterard launched a fight back and drew level at the end
of the first quarter but the Castlebar defence was absolutely
superb and time after time Galway attacks floundered in
front of the Mayo posts. Then destiny beckoned St Josephs
forward; Kathryn Sullivan ran forty yards straight down
the centre of the pitch and when her shot came back off
the woodwork, Tolster was on hand to flash the ball to the
bottom corner and send the Mayo fans into delirium. Oughterard
bravely battled down the pitch and when Burke and O’Halloran
ghosted through on goal Mairead McLoughlin produced a fabulous
save to keep her side in front. Another point from Connaughton
and fine play from Hoban, Healy, Lydon, Conroy, Conlon and
Conway ensured girls in white and blue were three clear
at the break 1-4 to 0-4.

The Oughterard students realigned their forces after the
interval, with Burke moving to midfield and Lisa O’Halloran
to the edge of the square but a stunning start to the second
period by St Joes moved them to the edge of the winners
enclosure as the excitement grew among their band of supporters
around the ground. A point each from Tolster and Tierney
within fifty seconds of the restart gave the Mayo stars
a huge boost but the Galway girls had a great chance to
cut the deficit five minutes later when O¹Halloran was pulled
down in the square. The impressive Rebecca Walsh stepped
forward to strike the penalty but with McLoughlin looking
unbeatable between the posts, the Galway girl drove the
leather wide of the uprights. That let-off inspired St Josephs
and they tore downfield immediately. Ryder, Grealis and
Ryan were outstanding on the half-back line, and McManamon
and Sullivan unbeatable in the middle as they drove forward
time after time. Rebecca Conway put six between the sides
in the 37th minute before a double from Tolster and a single
from Conroy almost put them out of sight. O’Halloran offered
token resistance with a fine point but St Joes were flowing
and with a little luck would have added numerous scores
to their tally only for Oughterard to finally get the goal
they so badly needed in the 58th minute.

Rebecca Walsh played a one-two with Burke on the edge of
the square and smashed the ball to the net to send a slight
shiver of panic through the Castlebar students but in reality
the result had been decided long beforehand. To reinforce
this certainty, Sullivan streaked through the middle of
the Oughterard defence and smashed the ball off the crossbar
before Mary Naughton blasted the rebound to the net. Closing
points from Ormsby and Tierney brought the curtain down
on a great day for the Castlebar students and it wasn¹t
long before the first provincial trophy was heading for
the Lawn in Castlebar.

Scorers St Josephs: O. Tolster 1-5 (0-2f), N. Tierney 0-3,
M. Naughton 1-0, E. Connaughton 0-2, A. Conroy, R. Conway
and C. Ormsby 0-1 each. St Pauls: D. Quinn 0-3 (2f), R.
Walsh 1-0, S. Burke and L. O’Halloran 0-1 each.

ST JOSEPHS: Mairead McLoughlin; Agnes Hoban, Aoife Healy,
Aisling Lydon; Claire Ryder, Aisling Grealis, Claire Ryan;
Kathryn Sullivan, Lisa McManamon; Rebecca Conway, Orla Conlon,
Aoife Conroy; Olivia Tolster, Noelle Tierney, Edel Connaughton
Subs: Caroline Ormsby for Conway (52), Mary Naughton and
Lianne McManamon for Connaughton and Conlon (56), Niamh
Moylett for Lydon (58)

ST PAULS: Ciara Naughton; Aisling Molloy, Tina Thornton,
Helen Moran; Rebecca Walsh, Catherine O Flaherty, Lisa King;
Lisa O’Halloran, Meabh Malone; Lorna Lambert, Sinead Burke,
Saoirse Bailey; Ina Butler, Denise McQuinn, Darragh O’Halloran
Referee: John Niland (Sligo)

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