Queens of Ulster camogie

Queens of Ulster camogie

15 November 2023

TEN minutes into the second half of  this Junior Medallion Shield final in Castlewellan on Friday evening, St Dominic’s Belfast led by 3-6 to 1-11.

Their ability to create space in attack and pressurise Assumption goalkeeper Ruby Burns was keeping them in a game that had been dominated by the free-taking of Dáire O’Shea.

The Liatroim Fontenoys midfielder had scored seven points — all from frees — up until that point as the Belfast’s side’s awkward tackling was penalised time and again.

Unfortunately for St Dominic’s, they continued to foul for the rest of the game and O’Shea ended up with a quite brilliant tally of 0-13 from frees and 45s.

The difference was what was happening at the other end.

That change was already evident in the early stages of the second half, although St Dominic’s had outscored Assumption by 0-3 to 0-2 between half-time and the 40th minute.

The Ballynahinch girls’ defence was much tighter and there wasn’t the same space for the Belfast forwards as Erin Daly, captain Ellie McCabe and Shannon Rice ped back a little and formed an impenetrable barrier. They held their opponents scoreless for the last 20 minutes.

At the other end, O’Shea’s frees and the opportunism of her Liatroim club-mate Orla Owens closed the door on St Dominic’s hopes and found redemption for the Ballynahinch team that had been defeated 2-8 to 1-8 in last year’s final by Loreto Coleraine.

O’Shea pointed two frees in the opening five minutes, but St Dominic’s took the lead through a goal from Ríonach McElhatton in the seventh minute. That lead increased to 2-1 to 0-3 midway through the half when midfielder Amelia Annett found the net.

The second quarter belonged to Assumption with Alannah McKay a dominant personality. The Dromara forward scored three points and Aoife Gilmore then hit the net after 25 minutes following a terrific solo run from midfield. That put her team 1-9 to 2-2 ahead. 

St Dominic’s drew level at the break when Maeve Devlin’s shot was blocked down into the path of McElhatton for her second goal.

Although O’Shea opened the second half with two pointed frees, midfielders Maeve Devlin (2) and Amelie Annett took the Belfast side ahead with three points in two minutes.

But that was as good as it got for St Dominic’s with O’Shea taking over from the dead ball.

Her long free found Liatroim clubmate Orla Owens who still had a little work to do before hitting the net. O’Shea then fired over four frees in the next 15 minutes and was involved in the move that saw Alannah McKay burst through on goal. Her shot fell short and Owens swept the sliotar first time to the roof of the net.

There was no return from that for St Dominic’s, despite the best efforts of Devlin who picked up the player of the match award for her defiance in defeat.

Assumption GS: Ruby Burns, Cailin Burns, Erin Douglas, Caoimhe Mulholland, Erin Daly, Ellie McCabe captain, Shannon Rice, Dáire O’Shea (0-13), Riona Savage, Alanna McKay (0-3), Caileigh McConnell, Aoife Gilmore (1-0), Leona Branniff, Orla Owens (2-1), Ruby Scott

Subs: Laura McEvoy for R Scott (40), Leah Doyle for C Mulholland (56), Orla Roddy, Emma McKey, Colleen McKinney, Rosaleen Clarke, Álainn Henderson, Orla Cooney, Cara O’Neill.