St. Colmcilles ladies came through a tough and tense encounter with St. Ultan’s to retain their Intermediate status for another year.
Two ladies teams with very contrasting histories; St. Ultan’s a strong Senior force for many years, winning back to back titles in 2006, the same year the Cilles ladies won Junior A to win promotion to the Intermediate championship for the very first time.
St. Colmcilles had a bright start to this match with the first score of the game coming from a Cliona Smith free which she won herself after some strong running from Ellie Brodigan. This was followed by a well taken point by Emma Brophy from play. St. Ultan’s won the next kickout and weren’t long opening their account from play. A great kick out from Saoirse McPeake to Elie resulting in Ellie converting the next score.
St. Ultan’s would then go on to kick the next 3 points; 2 of which came from frees. A fantastic turnover from Ciara Daly in the Cilles defence led to the Cilles next score from play; a well taken point from Natalie Davitt. Against the run of play, a long ball into the Cilles defence blocked down by Saoirse in the Colmcilles goals was finished to the net by the St. Ultans midfielder.
The Colmcilles ladies responded well and went on to score the next 2 points, from Hannah Connell and Alannah Boland, after some great forward pressure on the opposition kickout. St. Ultans finished the first quarter converting a free leaving the score 1-5 to 6 points at the water break.
The Cilles began the second quarter with some great forward play from Alannah, Emma and Hannah TJ which saw TJ scoring 2 points from play to bring the sides level. Alannah then kicked the next score after winning the St.Ultans kickout. Some great pressure on the St. Ultans kickout led to the next Cilles score; the Ultans goalie saving a Natalie Davitt long range effort from under the crossbar, only for the awaiting Emma to kick the rebound into an empty net. Both teams would go on to exchange points; an Ultans free and Emma scoring a point from play.
On 28 minutes a great team score came from the boot of Ellie after Saoirse picked out Meg from the kickout. St. Ultans followed this attack with a goal chance, an attempt blocked down by Ciara resulting in a 45. St. Ultans worked this well, putting the ball into the box before it was finished into the Cilles net leaving them just 3 points down at the half-time interval.
It would take 7 minutes for the first score of the second half to come, a point converted by Hannah TJ. This would be the Cilles only score of the quarter as a goal effort from Aisling O’Donnell was saved well by the Ultans number 1. St. Ultans made good use of a strong wind at their backs and put huge pressure on the Cilles defence with some great defending from Anna Rothwell, Orla Deegan and Síofra Murphy with Saoirse making a great save to prevent a goal. Ultans would go on to kick 4 points without reply bringing the game level at the second half water break.
The final 15 minutes would prove to be tense for all watching on. St. Ultans had the stronger start to the quarter kicking accurately to put themselves 4 points ahead of the home team. The Colmcilles ladies never gave up and after a Hannah TJ turnover in the backs, the ball was finished superbly by Alannah into the top corner of the St. Ultan’s goal. It looked like the Cilles ladies would kick on from here but St. Ultans responded with a point from play to bring the deficit to 2 points again and the clock into Injury time. There would be one last twist as Dearbháil Ni hOistín won the ball in the Colmcilles defence and picked out Hannah Connell on the wing. With Nat, Cliona and TJ all involved, the final pass would fall to Ellie who calmly finished the ball into the goal with the last kick of the game allowing the home supporters to breathe a sigh of relief.
Match Report: Ciara Kilcoyne