Cross & Passion College (Aontroim) 2-11 St Angela’s Ursuline College (Port Lairge) 2-17
Goals from both Aoife and Annie Fitzgerald in the end proved the winning margin as St Angela’s Ursuline College finally got the better of Cross and Passion at Ashbourne on Saturday afternoon.
The Waterford side dominated the opening quarter and their fluid attacking play had them in a commanding position going into the final ten minutes of the first half, despite a scrambled Áine Magill goal for Cross and Passion.
The Ballycastle girls launched a revival either side of half time, but the gap proved insurmountable, a disallowed Roisín McCormick goal summing up their frustrating afternoon.
Maeve Kelly’s opening minute score was immediately cancelled out by a neat Annie Fitzgerald free, before Áine Magill swapped points with the flying St Angela’s half-forward, but it was the Munster girls who pushed on.
Points from Ciara O’Sullivan and Rachel Walsh opened up a lead, before the lively Fitzgerald emerged from a ruck with the sliotar in hand and dispatched it past Becky Ellis in the Cross and Passion goal to open up a five-point lead.
Walsh added another before the Ballycastle side hit back through Áine Magill. The pacy half-forward got the last touch after Roisín McCormick’s strong run and strike caused chaos in the St Angela’s six-yard box.
Riana McBride then stung the hurl of Leah Donoghue in the St Angela’s goal, but it was Annie Fitzgerald again who hit back, before Aoife Fitzgerald and Abby Flynn added points of their own.
Cross and Passion were growing into the game and Annie Lynn forced another Donoghue save after a strong run and shot, before a quick-fire brace of points from Roisín McCormick narrowed the gap to five points.
St Angela’s however weathered the storm and further points from Abby Flynn, Ciara O’Sullivan and a Fitzgerald free saw them lead by eight at the break.
The north coast side came racing out of the traps for the second period, Katie Laverty finding Charley McCarry to slot her first of the afternoon.
St Angela’s hit back through Annie Fitzgerald but the Ballycastle girls hit a purple patch, Anna Connolly, Roisín McCormick and a further McCarry point saw them cut the deficit to five once again, but a well-taken Aoife Fitzgerald goal restored their half-time lead.
Roisín McCormick had been the saviour in the drawn game and she was finding space at a premium as the Waterford side doubled marked her in the full-forward line, but having won a free 20 yards from goal, she saw her effort crash back off the bar, the first of many near misses in the second half.
Goalkeeper Leah Donoghue then did well to turn away a smart Riana McBride effort, allowing McCormick to slot the 45, but St Angela’s had that knack of hitting back immediately when it looked like Cross and Passion were getting on top, Fitzgerald this time laying the ball off for Aoife to split the uprights. Annie then landed a free wide on the right to extend the lead to six.
With the next attack, Cross and Passion had the ball in the net, Roisín McCormick brushing off the attention of two defenders before unleashing a rocket into the bottom corner. To the disbelief of all in the stand, referee Liz Dempsey awarded the free in.
McCormick’s reluctant low effort was blocked out for a 45, which Maeve Kelly pointed as Cross and Passion launched a late bombardment of the St Angela’s defence, but it was Fitzgerald again who got up the other end to settle any nerves and restore a nine-point lead.
Charley McCarry then gave her side a glimmer of hope, latching onto Leah Donoghue’s save from Riana McBride, sidestepping the defender and finding the net, but it was to be the game’s last score.
St Angela’s were able to pull back and defend their lead, yielding a series of frees around 25m that ultimately came to nothing as McCormick, forced to go low, saw her shots blocked by the massed St Angela’s rearguard.
Fittingly it would be Annie Fitzgerald who launched in the final ball that saw Dempsey’s whistle blow and the Corn Sceilge go to St Angela’s, who were served superbly by both Fitzgerald girls and the skilful Abby Flynn.
Cross and Passion will be disappointed but their efforts over the two games have been Herculean and they will be able to look back with pride despite the inevitable disappointment. There were excellent performances from Katie Laverty and Anna Connolly in particular, with corner-back Enya McShane's bravery and tenacity to the fore.
Cross & Passion College: Becky Ellis, Aoife McClafferty, Megan McGarry, Enya McShane, Aoife O’Mullan, Maebh O’Neill, Katie Laverty, Maeve Kelly(0-02, 0-01 - 45), Róisín McCormack (0-05, 0-02 - 45), Áine Magill (1-01), Charley McCarry (1-02), Anna Connolly (0-01), Annie Lynn, Ciara Laverty, Riana McBride.
St Angela’s Ursuline: Leah Donoghue, Sorcha Cantwell, Lucy Hogan, Emma Flynn, Shauna Farrell, Leah Sheridan, Hannah Flynn, Kate Lynch, Clodagh Carroll, Rachel Walsh (0-02), Abby Flynn (0-04, 0-01f), Annie Fitzgerald (1-07, 0-02f), Ciara O’Sullivan (0-01), Aoife Fitzgerald (1-03).
Referee: Liz Dempsey (Thomastown, Cill Chiannaigh)
Player of the Match: Annie Fitzgerald (St Angela's Ursuline College)