Two second-half goals from Melissa Sheehan and Lisa Gorman proved crucial as Tullamore’s Sacred Heart School overcame the might of Gorey Community School on Saturday afternoon.
Leinster Schools Senior C Camogie Final
Sacred Heart School, Tullamore 2-4
Gorey Community School 1-6
In a game played in cold and windy conditions in Crettyard, the Tullamore school trailed by a point at half-time having played with the strong wind. However the game turned four minutes after the restart with Sheehan’s goal. Gorey clawed their way back into contention with three points to move back into the lead with the wind behind them but the Sacred Heart School responded with a goal from Lisa Gorman that proved to be the winning score.
Last year’s beaten All Ireland finalists Gorey threw everything into attack in the closing minutes but a superb defensive performance led by full-back and Player of the Game Ayesha Brazil, centre-back Laura Walsh and outstanding goalkeeper Shannon Touhey kept Gorey at bay.
The Wexford side did add a point late in the game from full-forward Heyley Murphy but that proved to be the final score as the Sacred Heart School claimed the title for the first time since 2008.
The Tullamore school, back-boned by six Offaly minor players and one Offaly senior player, made the perfect start to the game with early points from Sharon Hand and a Lisa Gorman free as they took advantage of the strong wind at their backs. Gorey were dropping deep and attacking on the break and that tactic paid dividends after eight minutes when they were awarded a penalty when Patti Roche was taken down as she bore down on goal.
However the resulting penalty was brilliantly saved by Shannon Touhey although Gorey did open their account with a point from Orla Molloy in the resulting scramble.
The Sacred Heart School continued to press forward with two points in two minutes. The first came after a storming run through the middle by Offaly Senior player Lauren Keenehan who laid the ball off to Aisling Feeney who made no mistake with her finish. Feeney added another point soon after to leave three between the sides.
The Tullamore school should have been further ahead but they hit six first-half wides while also missing a number of goal scoring opportunities. After 17 minutes Gorey drew level against the run of play with a goal from Patti Roche after the Sacred Heart School had failed to clear their lines.
That gave the Wexford side a lift and they pulled ahead with eight minutes remaining in the half. The Sacred Heart School should have been back ahead before the break as they created three goalscoring chances but one was saved by Orla Crowe while two other efforts went agonisingly wide of the post. Gorey also had their chances late in the half but on each occasion they were thwarted by the Sacred Heart School defence with Shannon Touhey making a number of last ditch clearances off her own line.
They made up for those misses after the break when Melissa Sheehan forced the ball home after a goal mouth scramble. However with the wind, Gorey held the upper hand in terms of territory and possession and they piled the pressure on their Offaly opponents.
Points from Patti Roche and two from Anna Whitty closed the gap but the Sacred Heart School defended superbly in the second half to keep their side in the game.
With midfielders Lauren Keenehan and Sarah Walsh along with Lisa Gorman augmenting the defence, they trailed by just a point entering the final seven minutes when they hit the game winning score. Just minutes after clearing a ball in her own full-back line, Lisa Gorman found herself in possession close to the Gorey goal and she made no mistake as she struck the ball to the back of the net.
Gorey threw everything forward in the closing minutes as they looked to rescue the game but they were restricted to just one point as the excellent Sacred Heart School defence held firm.
The Tullamore school now go on to the All Ireland semi-final where they will face the Connacht champions.
Scorers: SHS: Lisa Gorman 1-1 (0-1f); Melisa Sheehan 1-0; Aisling Feeney 0-2; Sharon Hand 0-1. Gorey CS: Patti Roche 1-1; Anna Whitty 0-2; Orla Molloy 0-1; Roisin Egan 0-1; Heyley Murphy 0-1.
SHS: Shannon Touhey (Tullamore); Aisling Neville (Tullamore), Ayesha Brazil (Tullamore), Eimear Gallagher (Tullamore); Paula Kinnarney (Tullamore), Laura Walsh (Tullamore), Shauna Moran (Drumcullen); Lauren Keenahan (St Sinchill’s), Sarah Walsh (Tullamore); Lisa Gorman (Tullamore), Aisling Feeney (Tullamore), Sharon Hand (Tullamore); Orla Gorman (Tullamore), Chloe McGlinchey (Tullamore), Melisa Sheehan (Tullamore). Subs: Kate Troy (Tullamore) for Chloe McGlinchey (28mins), Hannah Daly (Tullamore) for Melissa Sheehan (37mins)
Gorey CS: Orla Crowe; Aoibheann Doyle, Aoife Hughes, Lorna Cushe; Amy Dowdall, Doireann Kavanagh, Ciara Goland; Ellen Roche, Catriona O’Brian; Orla Molloy, Anna Whitty, Caoimhe Roche; Roisin Egan, Heyley Murphy, Patti Roche.
Referee: Patrick Murphy