Awesome Gaels complete memorable year

Michael O’Leary

Michael O’Leary

O’Loughlin Gaels 4-10

Danesfort 2-0

O’LOUGHLIN Gaels produced a champagne display to close their year in emphatic style as they grabbed the under-21 Roinn B camogie title.

It was a wonderful team performance from the city side, who outclassed Danesfort on their way to the county spoils in Clara on Sunday.

Victory saw the Gaels complete a fantastic year for the club’s camogie section. The under-14s won their Roinn C county title in July, while the juniors won the Roinn B and all-county crowns.

A dozen members of the team that started the Junior B final victory were on the starting team last Sunday, a strong indication of the youthfulness to their set-up.

O’Loughlin had plenty of stars to call upon on Sunday as all of their scores, bar a Sarah Burke free, came from play. Defensively, they were inspired by captain Ena Kearns, who subdued the influence of county minor Rachel Hogan while also showing great positioning, as well as work-rate, hooking and blocking.

There was another top performer in the highly-driven midfielder Annie Dunne. She constantly thundered forward, delivering pin-point accurate balls to her attacking colleagues, while her work-rate and defensive cover saw her operate as an extra defender when required.

O’Loughlin’s accelerated quickly out of the blocks and, following a great point by Aisling Butler to open the scoring, Samantha Mguni put them in the driving seat with a fifth minute goal after she was set up by the strong running Sarah Burke.

Butler and Amy Bryan (2) added further points for the Gaels to strengthen their grip on the game. Danesfort opened their account with a well-taken individual goal from Rachel Hogan on the stroke of half-time, but O’Loughlin’s still held the upper hand as they led by 1-4 to 1-0 at the interval.

O’Loughlin’s were first to score again in the new half, as Kate Walsh set up Aisling Butler for another point in the early minutes. They then re-established control of the game with a Sarah Burke goal in the 34th minute following Annie Dunne’s long diagonal delivery (2-5 to 1-0).

Aisling Butler added a brace of goals in the 39th and 44th minutes respectively to kill off the Danesfort challenge, before Danesfort grabbed a 55th consolation goal by Laura Fennelly.

Danesfort kept trying to the end in very difficult circumstances. Aoife Brennan, Caroline Booth, Eimear Brennan and Sarah Dooley all did their best for the ’Fort, but the day belonged to O’Loughlin’s.

O’Loughlin Gaels - Lizzie Kavanagh, Tara Conroy, Laura Butler, Kate Nolan, Shauna Brennan, Rebecca Cleere, Ena Kearns (captain), Annie Dunne, Aoife Nolan (0-1), Sarah Burke (1-1, 0-1 free), Aisling Butler (2-4), Amy Bryan (0-3), Karen Cleere (0-1), Samantha Mguni (1-0), Kate Walsh. Sub: Danielle Randle.

Danesfort - Aileen Troy, Aoife Brennan, Caroline Booth, Aileen Maher, Eimear Fennelly, Jennifer Cunningham, Deirdre Phelan, Emma Ayres, Eimear Brennan, Rachel Hogan (1-0), Louise Dunne (captain), Laura Dunne, Orla Doyle, Sarah Dooley, Laura Fennelly (1-0). Subs: Maria Woodcock, Grace Brophy.

Referee - Ollie O’Neill (Paulstown).