Barcoe bags title for Paulstown

Paulstown 1-8

Paulstown 1-8

O’Loughlin Gaels 0-8

FOR entertainment and value for money Bennettsbridge was the place to be as Paulstown and O’Loughlin Gaels served up a thriller in the under-16 camogie final.

Saturday’s game was full of bravery, passion, courage and no little skill. Incredibly, the scores were level on no less than six occasions. The game finished in a welter of excitement as the Paulstown girls sustained a bout of severe pressure from the city girls, then launched a last-ditch attack which a goal for Lauren Barcoe deep into injury-time.

The Paulstown girls started the stronger side. They were camped in the O’Loughlin goal area for the first 15 minutes, but had just one point to show for it. The city girls had only two or three attacks in this period, resulting in two points from their outstanding player Amy Bryan, but a Roisín Breen free brought parity again.

Laura Murphy had an excellent point for O’Loughlin’s to which Roisín Breen replied with two scores (free, 45) to edge Paulstown ahead again. O’Loughlin Gaels looked like making a dash for the lead when they were awarded a penalty on 29 minutes, but Amy Bryan’s well-struck shot was brilliantly saved at the expense of a 45.

O’Loughlin’s shrugged off that escaped chance when Bryan duly pointed the resulting placed ball. Laura Greene then finished off a fine movement with another point to edge the city girls ahead again before a Bryan free pushed them two clear by half-time (0-6 to 0-4).

The new half started with Lauren Barcoe (P) and Amy Bryan (OLG) trading points from play before Roisín Breen (two frees) had the sides level again on 42 minutes. It was another ten minutes before the next score arrived, another Breen free giving Paulstown the lead once more.

O’Loughlin’s piled on the pressure, giving everything to try and find an equaliser. The Paulstown defence pulled out all the stops during this period but their goal area also lived a charmed existence. Then, four minutes into added time, Bryan sent in a rasping shot which just skimmed the crossbar for the equaliser.

Back on level terms the city side continued to search for the winning score, but at times they overcommitted to the attack. In the eighth minute of injury-time they were caught when Rebecca Holden first-timed a ball from midfield into open space behind the defence.

Lauren Barcoe was very alert to what was happening. Racing on to the ball, she coolly fired it beyond the reach of the O’Loughlin’s ’keeper. O’Loughlin’s had no time to come back as the referee sounded the final whistle, much to the delight of the large Paulstown contingent.

For Paulstown Roisín Breen was outstanding at centre back. She had superb back-up from Miriam Bambrick, Clodagh McDonald, Lauren Barcoe, Chloe Doyle, Rebecca Holden and Laura Blake. For O’Loughlin Gaels Amy Bryan played her heart out. She was ably assisted by Becky Doyle, Tara Conroy, Laura Greene, Laura Murphy and Bronagh Cleere.

Paulstown - Sarah Hunston, Brianna Walsh, Clodagh McDonald, Alana Fitzgerald, Katie Mullins, Roisín Breen (0-6), Miriam Bambrick, Lauren Barcoe (1-1), Chloe Doyle (captain), Samantha Tomane, Rebecca Holden, Elaine Brennan, Michelle Kealy, Laura Blake (0-1), Katie Hanlon. Subs: Aideen O’Connor, Grace Hennessy.

O’Loughlin Gaels - Sinead Ryan, Katlyn Leahy, Becky Doyle, Aine Coogan, Niamh Phelan, Tara Conroy, Grainne Walsh, Laura Greene (0-1), Kate Walsh, Laura Murphy (0-1), Amy Bryan (0-6), Saoirse Claffey, Aoife Whelan, Bronagh Cleere, Danielle Randle. Subs: Eimear Dooley, Aoife McKiernan.

Referee - Liz Dempsey.