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2022 Currentaccount.Ie All-Ireland Ladies Football JFC Final – Salthill-Knocknacarra (Galway) 1-7 Naomh Abán (Cork) 0-4
Salthill-Knocknacarra (Galway) defeated Naomh Abán (Cork) by 1-7 to 0-4 in the Currentaccount.Ie All-Ireland Ladies Football JFC Final on Saturday December 17th at Fethard Town Park Sports Complex.
Salthill-Knocknacarra 1-7 Naomh Abán 0-4
Report by Darren Kelly
Salthill-Knocknacarra manager Donal O’Connell was thrilled with his players as they claimed the currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Junior Ladies Football Championship with victory over Naomh Abán.
The Cork outfit had been All-Ireland intermediate champions in 2003 but that was almost two decades ago and mattered little as their Galway opponents looked the fresher outfit in Fethard Town Park, after Cahir was deemed unplayable.
Alyssa Manley scored the winning goal late in the game after Salthill-Knocknacarra had taken a 0-6 to 0-0 advantage into half-time.
“A final, it’s a tough day because there’s a winner and a loser, you forget the journey that both clubs have made. We’re county champions, we’re provincial champions,” said O’Connell.
“I’m delighted. We’ve had a long day, early set-up but the girls just kept their eye on the ball. They opened up a little, they were very good.
“We didn’t make it easy for ourselves for a period in the second half but they were very good. We knew there was going to be a sting there somewhere.”
It was the first ever Ladies football All-Ireland final for Salthill-Knocknacarra, with Caltra Cuans the only other Galway club to win this particular competition, when they were victorious back in 2010.
Donoughmore, Glanmire, and Aghada had all tasted success for the Rebel County in the junior decider in recent years, but Naomh Abán couldn’t bring that confidence and momentum in the opening quarter.
Salthill-Knocknacarra were 0-3 to 0-0 ahead by the 12th minute with efforts from Kate Thompson, Laura Kelly, and Lauren O’Donnell. Thompson (two) and Kelly added further points before the break and Salthill-Knocknacarra looked in complete control.
But Naomh Abán had been impressive in their journey to the final and scored the first three points of the second half. Eimear Murphy, Grace Murphy, and Lydia McDonagh were all on target.
Kelly stopped the rot for Salthill-Knocknacarra and with Naomh Abán pushing to get back on terms, the leaders broke before Manley finished off a swift move to seal the win in the 60th minute.
“Everyone wanted to play it today. People wanted the business done before Christmas, I think that highly motivated them,” said O’Connell.
“It was a slightly unsettling day and maybe it just worked better for us for whatever reason.”
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)
Currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Ladies Junior Club Football Championship Final – Naomh Abán (Cork) v Salthill-Knocknacarra (Galway); 1pm, Cahir GAA, Tipperary – Live on LGFA InPlayer
BACK in 2003, Cork’s Naomh Abán were crowned All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate club football champions.
After a tough encounter against London opponents Parnells in Portarlington, the silverware went to Naomh Abán, with Lisa McSweeney, Anita Thompson and Ailbhe Lynch scoring the goals in a 3-6 to 1-7 win.
Siobhan Ní Bhuachalla was captain of Naomh Abán on that occasion and now, 19 years on, could Una Twohig follow in her footsteps and accept national silverware on behalf of the club?
Salthill-Knocknacarra will fly the flag for Galway and Connacht, in what will be a first All-Ireland Ladies Football Final appearance for the club.
Caltra Cuans (2010) are the only previous club from Galway to win this competition but Salthill-Knocknacarra will make the trip to Kilmallock with confidence.
In contrast, Cork clubs can boast a very impressive recent record in the All-Ireland Junior Club Championship.
Donoughmore (2019), Glanmire (2018) and Aghada (2018) are all recent champions, while Kinsale (2016) and Bantry Blues (2015) were finalists.
For five successive seasons, then, Cork supplied All-Ireland Junior club finalists ‘pre Covid’ – and Naomh Abán will represent the Rebel County on Sunday.
In a low-scoring and tight Munster Final, Naomh Abán did enough against Limerick opponents Oola to secure the silverware.
Defensively strong, Naomh Abán mined seven points at the other end of the pitch to land a two-point victory.
That win put Naomh Abán on a collision course with Monaghan’s Castleblayney Faughs in the All-Ireland semi-final – and it was a hurdle that Naomh Abán jumped.
Again, enough points on the board proved sufficient, as Naomh Abán claimed a 0-12 to 0-7 win, with Alannah Hoare and Grace Murphy contributing half of that tally between them.
Monaghan’s Jodie McQuillan, a really dangerous attacker, scored three pointed frees but Naomh Abán, crucially, managed to nullify her overall influence.
On the other side of the draw, Kate Thompson stepped up to the mark with a winning late score as Salthill-Knocknacarra edged past O’Dwyers from Dublin on home soil at The Prairie.
In their Connacht Final victory over Drumcliffe Rosses point, Lauren O’Donnell and Laura Kelly combined for 1-12 and they were to the fore again this time.
In a 1-7 to 1-6 win over O’Dwyers, O’Donnell (1-1) and Kelly (0-3) landed 1-4 of the winning total.
These are two players that Naomh Abán will need to keep a close eye on but a number of Salthill-Knocknacarra chances went begging against O’Dwyers, admittedly in difficult conditions, and this is an area they’ll be hoping to address.
Fans of both Naomh Abán and Salthill-Knockncarra will travel in their droves– and hoping to put on a show befitting of the occasion.
Both teams are unchanged from their respective semi-final victories and the extra week will have provided valuable extra recovery time for players suffering with knocks.
Naomh Abán (v Salthill-Knocknacarra): L Hughes; U Twohig (capt.), M Dineen, A Creedon; E Kelly, R Corkery, M.E. Kelliher; A McDonagh, G Lucey; A Hoare, E Murphy, C Phelan; A Maher, L McDonagh, G Murphy.
Salthill-Knocknacarra (v Naomh Abán): L Carroll; O de Bairead, A Mullen, S Donnellan; E Madden, S Divilly, R Reddington; Z Rather, A Finnerty (capt.); L Kelly, L O’Donnell, K Thompson; D O’Connell, A Manley, A Nash.