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St Rynagh's girls take first Leinster title in style

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kevin@tullamoretribune.ie

The magic continues for St Rynagh’s camogie girls as they had six points to spare over Kilkenny team Young Irelands on Sunday last in Nowlan Park in the Leinster Intermediate final.

St Rynagh’s have broken the Offaly mould as they are the only camogie club from the Faithful County to win an Intermediate Leinster final, an outstanding achievement in a thrilling team performance on a sunny day on Kilkenny soil.

The year has just been getting better and better for the Shannonside town club and next up is an All Ireland semi final early in the new year.

A better balanced St Rynagh’s side had too much in hand for the game Young Ireland side when both met for the first time in their first Leinster final appearance. Playing with the aid of a stiff breeze in the opening half, St Rynagh’s all round strength and resistance, backed up by experience, helped them to overcome a troublesome period midway through the first half. Siobhan Flannery and Kate Kenny accounted for Rynagh’s scores but they will be the first to acknowledge the quality of ball delivered inside by players like Roisin Egan, Louise Mannion, Mairead Daly, Aoife McLoughlin and Grainne Dolan, combined with solid defending, was the key to this success.

Young Irelands Captain Sarah Ann Quinlan opened the scoring from a free in the first minute but Kate Kenny cancelled out at the opposite end. One minute later Rynagh's took the lead when Grainne Dolan picked out Siobhan Flannery but she was heavily marked and she off loaded to Kenny who split the uprights. Rynagh’s tried and trusted custodian Ellen Gilligan brought off a great sve from a Quinlan attack which eventually worked out for a ‘45’ which Quinlan dropped over and the sides were level for the second time after five minutes. Mairead Daly set up Siobhan Flannery for Rynagh’s 6th minute tonic of a goal with Elaine Sullivan and Aoife McLoughlin involved in the build up. Steffi Fitzgerald and Flannery traded before Rynagh’s attacked through Roisin Egan and Grainne Dolan, who passed to Siobhan Flannery who flicked to Kenny and the young minor tagged on a point in the 10th minute.

Young Irelands upped their performance over the following six minutes and piling huge pressure on Rynagh’s backs they fired 1-3 without reply to give them a two point lead. Grace O’Donnell bagged 1-1 and Quinlan 0-2 from frees. Flannery and Quinlan traded before Flannery hauled a point back for Rynagh’s in the 21st minute with help from Elaine Sullivan and Aoife McLoughlin. The sides were level for the third time in the 25th minute when the unerring Flannery split the uprights from a ‘45’. St Rynagh’s super defending, with Roisin Daly, Linda Sullivan and Trish Nugent on top, saw off another attack safely over the line. What can only be described as super game reading reaped a 27th minute goal for Rynagh’s when net minder Ellen Gilligan passed a short ball to her centre back Roisin Egan who drove the ball all the way up field and into the waiting centre forward Kate Kenny who taking control, turned on her heel and slapped past Hannah Brennan to give Rynagh’s back a three point lead and Flannery closed out the half with a pointed free after Elaine Sullivan was fouled to see the teams move to the dressing rooms with Rynagh's leading 2-8 to 1-7.

Siobhan Flannery and Steffi Fitzgerald traded early on the resumption and Young Irelands upped the pressure again on the Rynagh's backs with Roisin and Ann Daly and Ellen Gilligan combining to stop a Quinlan goal. Another attempt from Steffi Fitzgerald to goal was seen off by Linda Sullivan and Trish Nugent with Roisin Egan driving to Helen Dolan who worked the ball to Mairead Daly and she picked out Kate Kenny who drove between the uprights in the 44th minute.

Over the following five minutes, Rynagh’s took control and cut off the supply to the Young Irelands who just couldn’t break through a steady wall of defending. Helen Dolan and Louise Mannion were working solidly in midfield and when Mairead Daly was fouled as she headed off on a solo run, the mighty accurate Flannery popped over the ball to give her side a six point lead.

It was St Rynagh’s who kept attacking, throwing everything into this game determined not to allow the opposition tear down their fine lead. Kate Kenny just needed to get a sniff of the ball and she was off towards goal with Linda Sullivan, Roisin Egan and Louise Flannery in the build up, but Kenny was fouled going in and Flannery dropped over in the 49th minute.

Tiffanie Fitzgerald kept the Young Irelands flag flying in the 50th minute and before the minute ended, the young 16 year old Kate Kenny, who earned herself the player of the match award, dropped over a point in spectacular fashion from over her right shoulder. A Ciara O’Keeffe point in the 55th minute was as good as it got for this up and coming Young Irelands team who must surely have learned a lot from this outing. However, they didn’t give up but kept attacking in the hope of grabbing a late goal, but Rynagh’s kept defending with another minor, Louise Mannion forcing Ciara O’Keeffe off course. Aoife Farrell's hope of making headway was ended by the experienced Trish Nugent while Sarah Ann Quinlan's effort at goal was stopped in her tracks by Roisin Egan with Grainne Dolan calling a halt to Tiffanie Fitzgerald's gallop as Rynagh’s held out with confidence and to claim their first Leinster Intermediate final in wonderful style.

Player of the match: Kate Kenny (St Rynagh’s).

Scorers: St Rynagh’s: Siobhan Flannery (1-8, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ‘45’), Kate Kenny (1-5).

Young Irelands: Sarah Ann Quinlan (0-7, 0-4 frees), Grace O’Donnell (1-1), Steffi Fitzgerald, Tiffanie Fitzgerald, Ciara O’Keeffe (0-1 each).

ST RYNAGH'S: Ellen Gilligan, Roisin Daly, Linda Sullivan (JC), Trish Nugent (JC), Ann Daly, Roisin Egan, Elaine Sullivan, Helen Dolan, Louise Mannion, Grainne Dolan, Kate Kenny, Mairead Daly, Aoife McLoughlin, Siobhan Flannery, Louise Flannery. Subs: Ciara O’Connell (for E. Sullivan, inj., 44 mins), Aine Doorley (for A. McLoughlin, 54 mins).

YOUNG IRELANDS: Hannah Brennan, Nicole Carter, Maggie Simpson, Ruth Loughlin, Eimear Naddy, Laura Fennelly, Grace O’Donnell, Ciara O’Keeffe, Tiffanie Fitzgerald, Aisling Carey, Sarah Ann Quinlan (Captain), Rebecca Nevin, Elizabeth Byrne, Steffi Fitzgerald, Miriam Brennan. Subs: Nessa Farrell (for E. Byrne, 35 mins), Aoife Farrell (for R. Nevin, 39 mins).

REFEREE: John Dermody (Westmeath).

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