A PROGRESSING club who continue to rise, Windgap produced a wonderful team display as they overpowered Lisdowney to capture the under-21 Roinn A title and round off the camogie year on a winning note.
Played in perfect weather conditions in Bennettsbridge on Saturday, Windgap’s winning margin could have been greater but for spurned goal chances.
Despite that, Nevertheless, it doesn’t detract from a spectacular team display in which they had several stars. Full-back Claire Grace led the way and gave a sensational performance, snuffing out Lisdowney danger forward Aoife Murphy at every opportunity.
The Windgap selectors produced a masterstroke, placing Denise Gaule at the edge of the square. The inter-county senior forward ran the show, scoring 0-7 over the afternoon. Niamh Phelan also excelled, scoring 0-3 from play while posing a constant threat when in possession.
Lisdowney’s Siobhan Holland opened the scoring with a pointed free after a minute, but Windgap took over to dominate the game after that. They ran Lisdowney ragged and should have been further ahead than their 1-8 to 0-3 lead at the interval.
The only goal of the game came in the 27th minute.
The build-up came when Niamh Phelan fired a shot from an acute angle that ricocheted off a Lisdowney defender. It looked the chance was lost, but the sliotar fell ideally into the path of Niamh Bambrick who forced it over the line.
To their credit, Lisdowney didn’t quit. They narrowed the gap to four points by the 47th minute with the Holland sisters, Siobhan and Kate, doing their best to lead the way. With the scoreline at 1-9 to 0-8 inside the final quarter, there was still hope for Lisdowney.
Niamh Phelan pointed from play in the 50th minute to steady the Windgap ship following great work from substitute Fiona Walsh, while Denise Gaule pointed a 54th minute free to stretch that lead even further.
Siobhan Holland pointed a free to keep Lisdowney ticking over on the scoreboard, but Windgap finished strongly with four unanswered points in as many minutes.
The trojan working Joanne Cody scored a deserved point after she was set-up by Niamh Phelan. Further points from Suzie Dunphy, Fiona Walsh and Niamh Bambrick were the icing on the cake as Windgap secured their first under-21 crown by finishing the game off in style.
Best for Lisdowney were Kate and Siobhan Holland and goalkeeper Noelle Murphy, who pulled off numerous saves to prevent a heavier defeat. The tight-marking of corner-back Eimear Stapleton was also a feature of their game.
Along with Grace, Gaule and Phelan, Windgap were best served by captain Julie Walsh and wing-back Laura Moore. With their senior continuing to make strides, there is no doubt but Windgap will be competing for top honours in the not too distant future.
SCORERS: Windgap - Denise Gaule (0-7; 0-2 frees, 0-2 45s, 0-1 pen); Niamh Bambrick (1-2); Niamh Phelan (0-3); Fiona Walsh, Joanne Cody, Suzie Dunphy (0-1 each). Lisdowney - Siobhan Holland (0-5, frees); Kate Holland (0-2); Claire Phelan (0-1, 45); Miriam Brophy (0-1).
Windgap - Laura Walker, Julie Walsh (capt), Claire Grace, Aisling Cody, Laura Moore, Catherine Foley, Ciara Molloy, Nicola Moore, Suzie Dunphy, Eimear Moylan, Joanne Cody, Niamh Phelan, Niamh Bambrick, Nicola Moore, Leanne O’Neill. Subs: Fiona Walsh, Gemma Long.
Lisdowney - Noelle Murphy, Eimear Stapleton, Tracey Brennan, Kathleen Dowling, Dervla Gannon, Claire Phelan, Ailish Brennan, Eimear Mulhall (capt), Siobhan Holland, Miriam Brophy, Kate Holland, Kellie Anne Quinn, Emma Brophy, Aoife Murphy, Noreen Murphy.
Referee - John McCormack