Junior joy for Village as pain of final defeat is washed away

by on the 16th of September 2020

James Stephens 1-14

Mooncoin 1-12

Report by Trevor Spillane

All the heartbreak and pain from a year ago was wiped away as James Stephens delivered an emphatic – and at times dramatic – performance to clinch the junior camogie championship.
Twelve months on from their defeat to St Claire’s the Village were back in the
decider- but this time they made sure they would leave with the silverware.
It was their composure when playing against the wind that paid dividends as they got the better of a tricky Mooncoin side at well-appointed Palmerstown on Sunday.
Backed by the elements, the girls from the South made life difficult for their opponents in the first half as their confident play helped them to rattle off a series of points, but once the Village got to grips with things they roared back into contention.

Mooncoin were sharply out of the blocks and didn’t hesitate to take a grip on proceedings. Driven on by centre-back Sarah Crowley they held a high line, using the wind to keep the sliotar deep in Stephens territory. The tactic worked, as the Southerners buzzed about the pitch and began to rack up the points.

Deirdre Walsh led the way, cleaning the ball out of a ruck of players on her way to splitting the posts before clever link-up play between Lorraine Delahunty and Hannah Roche set up Eva Aylward for a point.

With the bit between their teeth Mooncoin kicked on, stretching their lead with two Walsh frees. Niamh Crowley also got in on the act, ending a quality solo run with a score.

The Village seemed to be in bit of bother but cleared their heads somewhat when Emma Manogue snapped up the ball and sent a sizzling shot over the scoreboard end crossbar on 11 minutes. That much-needed score was soon followed by another, Sophie O’Dwyer converting a 45 after Mooncoin ’keeper Ellen Crowley turned Aoife Cantwell’s looping shot outside the post. O’Dwyer added another 45 soon after, leaving just a point in it as the teams trooped off for the water break (0-5 to 0-4).

Mooncoin were revived by the water, kicking on with another string of points as they put daylight between themselves and their rivals. Strong play from Hannah Roche, Laura Wall, Niamh Crowley and Mairead Corcoran paid dividends as their dominance ended with frees for Deirdre Walsh to convert. Walsh also added a point from play, pushing her side four ahead by the 21st minute (0-8 to 0-4).

The gauntlet was thrown down to the Village side, who gamely responded. With Hannah Scott taking control of their defence the city side began to work their way up the field.

The tactics worked, as Sophie O’Dwyer’s free was followed by a good point from Manogue. They kept looking for more scores but saved their best for the last act of the half. Manogue was the creator, chasing Ciara Delaney’s free into the corner before flinging the sliotar back across the danger zone.

Niamh Deely made her break from centre-back a worthwhile one. Snapping up possession she pulled the trigger, crashing the sliotar home.

The goal was a tonic for a Village side who had toiled against the wind – to go in all square with the assistance of the elements to come, they were the happier team at the break (1-6 to 0-9).

James Stephens continued their good form from the restart – a feature of their game was the skilful way they controlled snappy passes on the hurley – and took the lead for the first time since the opening minute when O’Dwyer converted a long range free.

Mooncoin weren’t about to let their rivals away too easily, levelling matters through Hannah Roche, but a run of five unanswered points gave the Village a commanding lead either side of the water break. O’Dwyer bagged the first two, following a free with a confident point from play, before Aoife Cantwell struck a superb point off her left to end the third quarter’s scoring.

Scores were harder to come by in the second half, but crucially James Stephens were bossing possession. That forced Mooncoin to concede frees, which O’Dwyer gratefully accepted as she helped her side open a five-point gap by the 55th minute (1-12 to 0-10).

Mooncoin had time on their side and used it well. Deirdre Walsh turned the ball over the bar after a long Sarah Crowley free had been batted out, but their recovery hopes got a real boost when Geena Henebry’s delivery from the left deceived a number of Village defenders and went all the way to the net (1-13 to 1-11).

When Walsh added another free, cutting the gap to a point deep in injury-time, it was backs to the wall stuff for James Stephens – but there was no way they were letting the title slip now. Making one last push forward, Michelle Teehan, Rachel Leahy and Sophie O’Dwyer worked possession around until Anna Doheny had the angle she needed to strike the point that sealed victory.

SCORERS: James Stephens – Sophie O’Dwyer (0-9, 0-5 frees, 0-3 45s); Niamh Deely (1-0); Emma Manogue (0-2); Michelle Teehan, Aoife Cantwell, Anna Doheny (0-1 each).

Mooncoin – Deirdre Walsh (0-9, 0-6 frees); Geena Henebry (1-0); Eva Aylward, Niamh Crowley, Hannah Roche (0-1 each).

James Stephens – Lucy McGrath; Chloe Power (Capt), Hannah Scott, Saoirse Comerford; Jenny Leahy, Niamh Deely, Kerri Hennessy; Michelle Teehan, Ciara Delaney; Sophie O’Dwyer, Aoife Cantwell, Anna Doheny; Emma Manogue, Hannah Larkin, Caoimhe Moran. Subs: Rachel Leahy; Aoife Bergin, Elizabeth O’Shea, Emma O’Brien, Anna Bergin, Tara McGuire.

Mooncoin – Ellen Crowley; Eimear Fleming, Marianne Walsh, Eimear Quilty; Emily Crowley, Sarah Crowley, Mairead Corcoran; Lorraine Delahunty, Lauren Comerford; Deirdre Walsh, Roisin Crowley, Niamh Crowley; Hannah Roche, Laura Wall, Eva Aylward. Subs: Aine Heweston, Geena Henebry; Laura Dillon Dunphy (Capt, inj); Amy Lehane, Lorraine Delahunty, Shauna Walsh, Evelyn Hayes, Kate Henebry, Kate Kearns, Caitriona Bowe, Aidín Quilty, Sarah Hayes, Hannah Cooney, Niamh Fleming, Aoife Purcell, Aoife Roche, Jean O’Hanlon, Aoife Walsh, Brid Hennigan, Niamh Madden, Aoife O’Shea, Laura Delahunty, Emma Heweston.


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