Juniors End All Square in All Ireland Final

posted 21 Mar 2011, 14:56 by Caltra GAA

Caltra Cuans 0-7
St. Enda's  (Tyrone)   0-7

Caltra Cuans had to draw on every ounce of courage and never say die commitment to claim a draw in this 2010 All Ireland Ladies Junior Final when Emma Naughton scored a point with six minutes of injury time played and all had seemed lost. St. Enda’s must have thought they had claimed the title when Cara McCrossan scored a point from a close in free four minutes into injury time, but they had possibly not allowed for the fact that Caltra ladies never give up and they would, in all honesty be the first to accept that a draw was a fair result. Indeed the Caltra contingent, even if they were lucky to draw in the end, could have and possibly won this game, as especially in the second half, they practically owned the ball but could not seem to get the all important scores to reflect their superiority. Caltra’s problems upfront stemmed from the fact that they were playing a Tyrone team, playing a typical “Tyrone game” of massed defence, whereby Caltra players in possession in the forward line, always seemed to be facing two or three defenders and then when the ball was lost Enda’s hit on the break often with devastating effect. The heavy underfoot conditions and the tight pitch in Mullahoran Co. Cavan, combined with the long layoff, due to the recent cold snap, possibly did not help Caltra, but then again both teams had to play under the same conditions

Indeed Caltra could have got a goal in the first minute when Ciara Kilroy won the throw in and moved the ball onto Emma Naughton, Emma made a great run and was fouled, the free was dropped into the Enda’s square and from the resulting scramble the ball crashed off the Enda’s crossbar and was cleared. From the Enda’s break, the ball was moved quickly up the field and referee Mags Doherty (Wexford) awarded a close in free which Cara McCrossan scored. Grainne McGale the tall number 14 for Enda’s  was playing deep around the middle and caused a lot of trouble to Caltra especially in the first twenty minutes. Caltra found it difficult to win ball around the crowded midfield area and when they did space was at a premium. Enda’s won another close in free but had a bad wide from Emma Collins off her left foot. Again Caltra pressed forward after good work by Aoife Ni Cheallaigh, Cariosa McHugh and Sarah Noone in defence, the ball was moved quickly to Orla Hannon who was fouled. The resulting free dropped into the Enda’s square but once again was cleared quickly and Caltra were hit for another point by Kelly O’ Sullivan of Enda’s. Caltra continued to press forward and on the 12th minute, were rewarded with a very good point from Niamh Kilkenny after good work by her sister Orla, Laura Naughton and Ciara Kilroy in the middle. Caltra could have pulled ahead 2 minutes later but Aine Mannion’s goal attempt was well saved by goalie Colleen McCullagh after a great move started by Lucy Green in the Caltra goal involving Sinead Flood, Helen Cullinane and Sarah Noone. Aine Mannion was again involved when she won a close in free for Caltra which Orla Hannon duly pointed after good work by Orla Kilkenny and Laura Naughton in the middle to tie the scores two points apiece after 16 minutes. The pattern of the game was now well developed with both defences on top and with Enda’s prepared to pull large numbers behind the ball and hit on the break. Enda’s won another free on the 20th minute and Teri McCullagh pointed from the 13 meter line. Both sides missed chances before Enda’s again pointed close in frees from Cara McCrossan and Teri McCullagh, in the first and second minutes of injury time in the first half. This left the half time score Caltra Cuans 0-2   Enda’s 0-5.

Caltra would not have been happy with their first half performance but they appeared in the second half with a different attitude and completely dominated proceedings from there to the end. Caltra missed two early chances in the 2nd and 3rd minute of the second half before Orla Hannon pointed from play after great work by Helen Cullinane, Aine Tully and Sarah Noone. Again Caltra who were now completely on top missed chances, before Orla Kilkenny was fouled after a great run and Orla Hannon pointed on 10 minutes to leave the score Cuans 0-4  Endas 0-5. Desperate defending by a hard working Enda’s defence deflected a goal drive from the unlucky Aine Mannion out for a 45 on 17 minutes after good work by Breda Hanlon on the wing. By now Edna’s were pulling so many players back in an attempt to cling on to their lead that the Caltra management decided to replace corner back Sinead Flood who had an excellent game with a forward Theresa Loughnane. This proved to be an inspired decision as Theresa scored an excellent point two minutes later on the 20th minute to tie the scores 5 points apiece. The Enda’s tactic of stopping the Caltra girls at all cost resulted in their number 10 Teri McCullagh who had a running battle with Aoife Ni Cheallaigh throughout the match, been sent to the sin bin a minute earlier. This meant that Enda’s were down to 14 players for the last ten minutes and their backs were to the wall. As often however happens in these situations they seemed to lift their game and from here to the end a Titanic battle ensured with no player on either team prepared to concede ground. Caltra’s defence were on top throughout the game but they could do little to prevent an excellent long range point from midfielder Colleen McCullagh to edge Endas one point clear again. This point on the 23rd minute was their first of the second half. Now Enda’s seemed to be on top but great defence by Caoirsa McHugh, Aine Tully  and Ciara Kilroy saw the ball moved quickly to Emma Naughton who passed to centre back Sarah Noone storming through the middle for an excellent point for Caltra to tie the scores on 25 minutes.  Both sets of supporters were now roaring their teams on with the Ref getting the usual amount of advice about her decisions good and bad form all sides. There was a 3 minute stoppage for an injury to Caltra fullback Cariosa McHugh who was a big loss to Caltra when she had to leave the field. Sinead Mannion replaced Cariosa and Megan Kelly was introduced for the hard working Aine Mannion up front. Both sides missed chances before deep in injury time after another long stoppage Cara McCrosssan pointed for a close in free for Enda’s with 34 minutes on the clock. The resulting roar from Enda’s supporters almost lifted the roof of Mullahoran’s new stand. But two minutes later the roof was well tested again with reports that a few rivets were loosened when the excellent Emma Naughton equalised. This final score was the result of the ball been moved quickly from defence into the forward line.  All roads lead again to Cavan next Saturday when two excellent teams will no doubt give it all once again to try and capture the coveted All Ireland title.

Caltra Cuans Team. Lucy Greene, Sinead Flood, Cariosa McHugh, Helen Cullinane, Aoife Ni Cheallaigh, Sarah Noone, Aine Tully, Laura Naughton, Ciara Kilroy(Capt), Emma Naughton,Orla   Kilkenny, Niamh Kilkenny, Breda Hanlon, Orlaith Hannon,  Aine Mannion, Subs used Sinead Mannion, Theresa Loughnane, Megan Kelly.

Panel Lillian Hughes, Lorraine Lally, Amy Lally, Brid Greene, Breda Heneghan, Sonya Mulryan, Yvonne Hannon, Kasia Sitek, Ailish Raftery.