Fitzgerald on fire but McCormick snatches draw with last minute goal
Compiled by Daragh Ó Conchúir
SIX days after coming on as a sub for Gailltír in their agonising one-point All-Ireland Intermediate Club Final defeat to Clonduff at Croke Park, Aoife Fitzgerald scored two goals and three points in the Masita All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools’ Senior A Final at Donaghmore Ashbourne.
With five points added by her cousin and team captain Annie, who excelled at Headquarters last Sunday and was joined by a number of her schoolmates in the Gailltír squad, it looked like St Angela’s Ursuline from Waterford city would garner an historic first title at this grade, just 12 months after completing the Senior B/Junior A double.
It wasn’t to be however, as last year’s Senior A runners-up Cross & Passion Ballycastle had the last say, with their skipper Róisín McCormick blasting to the net from a last minute free to bring her tally to a goal and four points and leave the teams deadlocked 2-13 apiece at the final whistle.
St Angela’s had a very strong wind aiding them in the first half and Annie Fitzgerald was the chief beneficiary at full-forward, making use of quick ball to record her entire tally.
Her first green flag gave the Ursulines an early lead but by the time Rihanna McBride responded in kind after McCormick had done the donkey work, it was the Ballycastle crew that led 1-5 to 1-2.
They were pushed on the back foot from the reminder of the half though, and had no answer to the pace and clinical finishing of Annie Fitzgerald, whose scoring heroics made it 2-8 to 1-7 at the break.
As expected, Ballycastle tore into the fray after the resumption and were soon level thanks to points from McCormick (two frees), the brilliant McBride (who finished with 1-3) and Ciara Laverty.
By now, it was the Antrim outfit that wore the favourites tag given the momentum and the elements but Aoife Fitzgerald really stood up in the latter period, hitting four of her five points from placed balls into the wind.
When Rachael Walsh added a fine score from play with four minutes remaining, the odds had moved in the Ursulines’ favour once more but with time running out, McCormick billowed the net to ensure that at least another hour of action would be required to determine the destination of the Corn Sceilge.
In the Junior B decider at Cork Camogie Grounds, Sacret Heart Clonakilty got the better of St Mary’s Midleton in the Rebel County derby by 3-8 to 1-7.
Elsewhere, Scoil Pól Kilfinane prevailed in the Junior D Final, the Limerick side defeating Derry side, St Colm’s Draperstown by 3-6 to 1-3 in Mullingar. St Colm’s were well in contention at the interval, trailing by just a point, 1-3 to 1-2 but could not hold off the Shannonsiders after the restart.