Slick Nenagh Éire Óghad four points to spare when they were crowned U-18 ‘C’ champions when they saw off a Drom/Inch second half rally on Sunday last in the Ragg camogie pitch.
This 12 a-side competition was a game of two halves, in particular for Drom who just couldn’t settle in the opening half as they struggled to get to grips with the power and fitness level that the young Nenagh girls brought to the table. However, they turned over a new leaf in the second half and taking the game by the scruff of the neck, they made the Nenagh girls work hard to earn their victory.
Lucy Spain opened the Nenagh account after three minutes with a well taken point and before the minute ended Eimear McGrath had the sides level with a long range shot from out field.
Four goal girl Caroline Browne hit the Drom net for her first goal in the 7th minute and when Lucy Spain took off on a long solo run, no one could keep up as she sent the ball straight between the uprights.
An equally gifted Drom free taker Eimear McGrath was amazingly accurate as her midfield free went straight between the uprights in the 12th minute. However, goals win games and it was definitely the case here as Nenagh’s ability to grab goals stood to them while Drom, who were depending largely on their free taker Eimear McGrath, relied on points.
Caroline Brown made a long solo run all the way up the side of the pitch and firing from 30m out, the ball deceived the Drom keeper Niamh Lawlor and went straight to the net in a great display of pure skill in the 19th minute.
McGrath kept the Drom flag flying when she struck two frees and Grainne Long added one from play to wipe out the last Nenagh goal. Long was unlucky though to see her effort at goal dealt with by Nenagh custodian Niamh Sheridan who was called upon on many occasions throughout. Brown finished the half with her third goal after Abbie Sheedy, Rachel O’Connor and Ellie Spain did the spade work and she followed up with a quick point to leave Nenagh in a good strong position of seven points clear 3-3 to 0-5 at the break.
Drom turned the game on its head on the resumption when McGrath dropped a long free into the forwards and Grainne Long pulled to the back of the Nenagh net after just 40 seconds and the Nenagh lead was reduced to four points.
Eimear McGrath (free) and a Kate Fogarty point from play had the scoreline looking very competitive as Nenagh still kept their nose in front by two points until Caroline Browne weaved through the Drom defence and rattled their net and Nenagh were back up by five, 4-3 to 1-7, in the 32nd minute.
Over the following eight minutes, Drom were in complete control as they helped themselves to four points, McGrath and Kate Fogarty 0-2 each, to leave just one point between the sides. Brown gave Nenagh back a two point lead when she split the uprights from a placed ball after Megan Grace was fouled.
Drom dug deep and working the ball upfield they tried hard to grab a goal but Nenagh’s Abbie Sheedy, Katie Morris and Ellie Carey worked very hard to get the ball back down field. Nenagh were unfortunate to drive two consecutive astray with time closing in but Rachel O’Connor caught hold, raced through and fired past Drom keeper Niamh Lawlor with minutes to the whistle and to seal the deal in the Blues favour.
Undeterred, Drom fought on and a 30m low free from Eimear McGrath was saved brilliantly by Niamh Sheridan but was scrambled out for a ‘45’ which McGrath converted, but it was too little too late as time ran out on the Drom fight back.
Scorers: Nenagh Éire Óg: Caroline Browne (4-2, 0-1 free), Rachel O’Connor (1-0), Lucy Spain (0-2).
Drom/Inch: Eimear McGrath (0-8, 0-5 frees, 0-2 ‘45’). Grainne Long (1-1), Katie Fogarty (0-3).
NENAGH EIRE OG: Niamh Sheridan, Abbie Sheedy, Katie Morris, Ellie Carey, Maeve Hassett, Megan Grace, Michelle Barry, Rachel O’Connor (Captain), Caroline Browne, Lucy Spain, Ellie Spain, Siobhan Collins. Sub: Meagan Morris (for S. Collins, 35 mins).
DROM/INCH: Niamh Lawlor, Maria Connolly, Eimear McLoughlin, Niamh Long, Ashling Prout, Caroline Shanahan, Eimear McGrath, Aimee Gleeson, Grainne Gleeson, Kate Fogarty, Grainne Long, Aoife O’Halloran. Subs: Grainne McLoughlin (for A. Prout, 38 mins), Emma Grant (for A. Gleeson, 44 mins).
REFEREE: Donal Leahy (Moyne Templetuohy).