Caltra Cuan’s (Galway) 2 - 8 St. Enda’s (Tyrone) 0 - 8
The girls from Caltra Cuan’s made history on Sunday last in Mullahoran Co. Cavan, when they became the very first Galway team to win the All Ireland Junior Club Championship. In the process they capped a very successful year during which they also won the seven aside All Ireland, as well as Galway and Connacht finals. Caltra fully deserved to win this All Ireland final replay and the six point margin reflects their supremacy in this match. However while Caltra Cuan’s were the better team St. Enda’s put it up to them all the way and indeed if at certain stages in the match they had a rub of the green, the final score line, might have been a lot closer.
Caltra started brightly, unlike the drawn match, and went into the lead after two minutes when Aine Mannion scored from play following good work from Ciara Kilroy, Sarah Noone and Theresa Loughnane. Caltra had two bad wides in the 4th and 5th minutes before they were rewarded with a penalty when Breda Hanlon was dragged down in the square after a fine move involving Aine Mannion and Niamh Kilkenny. The excellent Caltra Cuan’s centre back Sarah Noone showed great courage, when she stood up to the plate, took the spot kick, and drove an unstoppable shot high into the roof of the net. Caltra were dominant in all sectors and it looked like they were going to wrap up this match early. But this was a very determined and skilful Tyrone team and they were unlucky to miss a close in free on 8 minutes. The Caltra kick out was then put under pressure and Kelly O’ Sullivan had a great goal chance for Enda’s deflected out for a forty five after the Caltra goalie Lucy Greene got her foot to the ball. Caltra responded when the resulting forty five was cleared up the field and a great move involving Ciara Kilroy, Sarah Noone, Orla Kilkenny, Aoife Ni Cheallaigh and Emma Naughton saw a shot from Breda Hanlon drop into the grateful hands of St, Enda’s goalie Colleen McCullagh. Caltra worryingly dropped two more chances into McCullagh’s hands in the 12th and 14th minutes and also had a poor wide in the 13th minute. They were punished when a good move from St. Edna’s saw Teri McCullagh point a thirty meter free to open their account on 15 minutes.
Caltra’s early dominance was not fully reflected on the scoreboard but they replied with a marvellous point from Aine Mannion after a move involving Orla Hannon and Niamh Kilkenny. Caltra had another excellent point from Orla Hannon on the 22nd minute after a good move involving Aine Tully and Emma Naughton. This stretched Caltra’s lead to five points 1-3 to 0-1, but from here to the half time whistle St. Enda’s dominated proceedings. A close in free scored by Teri McCullagh on 20 minutes narrowed the margin. Their best score came on the 25th minute after a great team move saw McCullagh score a fine point from 40 meters. McCullagh again scored on 27 minutes after a clash of heads left Aoife Ni Cheallaigh and Helen Cullinane on the ground. On 30 minutes, Emma Collins saw her goal drive narrowly scrape over the bar to further close the margin. St. Enda’s were now clearly on top and the Caltra defence was under huge pressure, but great work in the full back line from Aine Tully, Cariosa McHugh and Helen Cullinane helped prevent any further score. Caltra were relieved to hear the half time whistle and were lucky to lead on a score of 1-3 to 0-5. The Caltra management were no doubt unhappy that they had let St. Enda’s back into the game and also that they had not scored more in their period of dominance early in the first half.
The second half started in furious fashion with both sides given everything for the cause. Lucy Green in the Caltra goal made a great save from Christianne Hunter after 2 minutes. On the 6th minute Orla Hannon made a great run through the St. Edna’s defence only to see her blistering shot crash off the crossbar with the goalkeeper well beaten. Sinead Mannion entered the fray in place of the hard working Teresa Loughnane and she was immediately involved in a move with Sarah Noone, Niamh Kilkenny, Orla Hannon and Aine Mannion who scored another brilliant point. A minute later a tremendous point was scored by Emma Naughton from forty yards after a move involving Aoife Ni Cheallaigh, Niamh Kilkenny, Ciara Kilroy and Orla Kilkenny. This left Caltra leading 1-5 to 0-5. Caltra missed a chance to pull further ahead with a poor wide on 9 minutes and were immediately punished by a point from Cara Mc Crossan. At this stage the match was very intense with both defences on top. Four minutes later Caltra were again grateful to goalie Lucy Green who got the tips of her fingers to a rasping shot from Emma Collins to deflect the ball over the bar. The score now stood at 1-5 to 0-7. It was as close as Edna’s were to get to Caltra. From that stage on Caltra were by far the better team. Perhaps it was superior fitness or perhaps it was because Enda’s were always chasing this game unlike the drawn match, but Caltra Cuan’s dominated the rest of the game. Aine Mannion scored another great point with her left foot on 16 minutes after good work by Orla Hannon, Orla Kilkenny and Emma Naughton. There were a lot of stoppages at this stage of the game with a sticky pitch surface causing problems for players on both sides. The next score did not come until the 24th and 25th minutes when Aine Mannion scored a brace of frees the first a long range effort from forty yards, the second a close in free. A minute later Sarah Noone was unlucky when she hit the post from thirty yards. Enda’s tried everything to get back into the match including moving their goalkeeper outfield but they simply couldn’t get their hands on the ball. On 33 minutes with Caltra leading by six points Emma Naughton wrapped this game up when her dipping shot landed in the top corner of the net. The game was up and everyone knew it. St. Enda’s never gave up and replied with a late point from the impressive Teri McCullagh but it was too little too late. The final whistle saw the Caltra fans invade the pitch in great celebration. It was the second time in six years that the little parish celebrated an All Ireland, a remarkable achievement.
This was a great team effort with all players given of their best. The management of Gabriel Naughton, Marie Mannion, Sean O Ceallaigh and Mary Hanlon deserve great credit for the way the team was prepared and for the effort put in over the year. Gabriel Naughton holds the unique distinction of been involved in both this All Ireland win and in the senior men’s All Ireland of 2004, what a fantastic achievement. The bonfires blazed in Caltra deep into the night and the recession was forgot about for the next year at least.
They say success has many fathers and it would be wrong to pick out any individual player, as player of the match. Lucy Green made vital saves at crucial times. The full back line of Aine Tully, Cariosa Mc Hugh and |Helen Cullinane was outstanding throughout out. Aoife Ni Cheallaigh and Sarah Noone were their usual brilliant best. Laura Naughton marked Enda’s best player of the drawn match, the tall Grainne McGale and kept her quiet. The midfield of Ciara Kilroy and Niamh Kilkenny worked tirelessly throughout. Emma Naughton scored a goal and a point and worked her socks off. Orla Kilkenny and Orla Hannon always posed a threat and were involved in most of Caltra’s scores. Breda Hanlon won the penalty early on and had a very good game. Teresa Loughnane had a very good first half and her replacement Sinead Mannion was involved in a lot of good moves in the second half. Sinead Flood was unlucky not to start but she has had a very good year, and should be rightly proud of the role she has played in bringing this All Ireland home to Caltra. Aine Mannion was disappointed to be taken off in the drawn match but responded with six points in the replay to show her character and indeed reflect the character of the team. The whole panel has put in a huge effort with 98 training sessions and matches in the last 11 months. Over the Christmas period and early January these players have trained in often appalling weather conditions and they fully deserve the title of All Ireland Champions.
Scorers for Caltra Cuans: Á Mannion 0-6 (2f), E Naughton 1-1, S Noone 1-0 (pen), O Hannon 0-1.