Naomh Abán 0-4
By DARREN KELLY
Alyssa Manley’s goal in the final minute of normal time settled this contest as Salthill-Knocknacarra were crowned currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Junior Ladies Football Champions in Fethard Town Park.
After building up a six-point interval lead, Cork’s Naomh Abán, despite going to 14 players after Roisin Corkery’s second yellow card, got back to within three points before Salthill-Knocknacarra’s winning goal.
A late change of venue meant a 90-minute delay but that didn’t affect the Galway champions who opened through Kate Thompson’s point inside two minutes.
Corkery picked up her first sin-bin trip afterwards before Siobhan Divilly won a free which Laura Kelly converted for a second Salthill-Knocknacarra point.
Lauren O’Donnell converted their third on 12 minutes as they also allowed some opportunities to slip. However, Donal O’Connell’s team continued applying pressure and doubled their advantage by the break.
Thompson got the next two points, the first from play thanks to a Manley assist; the second from a free after Divilly was fouled.
Naomh Abán had three first half wides but never seriously threatened their opponents’ goals and conceded another score before the break as Manley provided Kelly who shot just over the bar.
The Cork champions needed to be more assertive upon the restart and started perfectly with Lydia McDonagh and Corkery supplying Eimear Murphy for a point. However, they wouldn’t add again until the final quarter and lost Corkery on 42 minutes.
However, Grace Murphy and McDonagh got two points inside a minute to reduce the deficit to 0-6 to 0-3 on 48 minutes but a couple of other chances went a begging.
Salthill-Knocknacarra got their seventh point through Kelly but Grace Murphy responded leaving it 0-7 to 0-4.
A goal was needed by Noel McDonagh’s team but it went the other way. Thompson and O’Donnell were the heroes for Manley to finish to the net putting six between them.
Naomh Abán tried to find a saving score in five minutes of added time but it wasn’t to be. Salthill-Knocknacarra held on to secure All-Ireland silverware to finish the year.
Scorers – Salthill-Knocknacarra: A Manley 1-0, K Thompson 0-3 (1f), L Kelly 0-3 (1f), L O’Donnell 0-1.
Scorers – Naomh Abán: G Murphy 0-2 (1f), E Murphy 0-1, L McDonagh 0-1.
Salthill-Knocknacarra: L Carroll; A Mullen, E Madden, O De Bairead; S Donnellan, Z Rather, R Reddington; S Divilly, A Finnerty; L Kelly, L O’Donnell, K Thompson; D O’Connell, A Manley, A Nash.
Subs: D Brennan for Reddington (58), A Kelly for Divilly (60), M Mulligan for Madden (60).
Naomh Abán: L Hughes; U Twohig, M Dineen, A Creedon; E Kelly, R Corkery, ME Kelleher; A McDonagh, G Lucey; A Hoare, E Murphy, C Phelan; G Murphy, L McDonagh, A Maher.
Subs: J Kelly for Maher (35), C Murphy for Phelan (50).
Referee: S Mulvihill (Kerry).