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Coláiste Bhríde produce late rally to secure seventh Wicklow Schools Senior ‘A’ football title in a row


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Carnew students pushed to their limits by a very impressive St. Mary’s College from Arklow

Coláiste Bhríde 4-14

St. Mary’s Arklow 3-8

A powerful finish by the Coláiste Bhríde Senior footballers in the Wicklow Schools ‘A’ final in a wet Annacurra on Tuesday morning drove the Carnew students on to their seventh county crown in a row.

But they were made to work extremely hard for their amazing achievement as St. Mary’s College from Arklow pushed them all the way, moving from 3-8 to 1-5 behind early in the second half to drawing level with 10 minutes to before Coláiste Bhríde added a late 1-6 to clinch the title.

Tommy Murphy with his granddaughter Ana Dragusin after Coláiste Bhríde’s win in the Wicklow Schools Senior ‘A’ football final in Annacurra.

Wexford referee Barry Redmond got this ‘A’ final up and running on a very wet morning in Annacurra and the conditions made life difficult for the players on both sides which makes the fact that both sides produced such an entertaining and high-quality game even more admirable.

Illness and injury had shorn Niamh Ní Bhroin’s St. Mary’s side of several of their regulars ahead of this game but those that remained gave their all over the course of 60-odd tough minutes of action.

The outstanding Abby Healy who plays rugby for Ireland got the scoring started in this game, the lethal full-forward finishing with 3-3 while battling with the excellent Emma Kinnear at the same time.

Coláiste Bhríde’s Ciara Wafer forces her way past the St. Mary’s half-forwards.

Colaiste Bhríde looked really well balanced with players such as Aine McDonald, Laci-Jane Shannon, Sarah Doyle, Ciara and Katie Wafer, Yasmin Dagge, Siofra Kenny, Aine D’Arcy and Ana Dragusin really catching the eye.

Aine D’Arcy got the Carnew students up and running on the scoreboard and they soon opened up a 1-3 to 0-1 lead, Rosealice Byrne and D’Arcy with the points and Siofra Kenny blasting home to the roof of the net after good work from Ciara Wafer and Aine D’Arcy.

Abby Healy blazed wide with a goal chance, but Keeva Kelly raised a white flag at the end of the first quarter.

Loose defending by St. Mary’s allowed Siofra Kenny gather a tasty pass while completely unmarked and she gave Eve Fitzpatrick no hope when firing a missile to the roof of the St. Mary’s net, and things were looking bleak for the Arklow students when D’Arcy and the excellent Laci-Jane Shannon both added points and the lively Ana Dragusin found the net to make it 3-5 to 0-2 after 25 minutes.

St. Mary’s grabbed a lifeline in the closing minutes of the opening half when a foul on Deirbhile Gavaghan afforded Abby Healy the chance from the penalty spot and she took it superbly, firing home past Laura Kehoe to leave it 3-5 to 1-2.

Áine McKerr added a late point for the Arklow students after a long run to leave eight points between the teams at half-time.

Points from Niamh Kavanagh and Abby Healy gave the St. Mary’s side a really positive start to the second half, but Coláiste Bhríde then took over, firing over three points on the bounce to put themselves 3-8 to 1-5 ahead with few present believing that the Arklow girls could fight back at this stage.

But nobody told the St. Mary’s players that. An Abby Healy point was followed by a wasteful spell from Coláiste Bhríde that included two shots dropped short, and then St. Mary’s started a recovery that had to be seen to be believed.

Áine McKerr and substitute Kate Conway fired over points and then Abby Healy lashed home two goals (one penalty) and all of a sudden, the sides were level at 3-8 apiece.

But that is where the revival ended. Colaiste Bhríde were stirred into action and fired over four points on the trot through Ana Dragusin, Aine D’Arcy (free), Kate Wafer and Laci-Jane Shannon with midfielder Ciara Wafer dominating around the middle third.

Coláiste Bhríde’s Áine D’Arcy is challenged by Kate Priest of St. Mary’s.

Coláiste Bhríde were dealt a blow then when Katie Wafer had to be helped off after picking up a serious looking ankle injury, but it didn’t bother the Carnew girls as Ana Dragusin completed a superb display with another goal while Laci-Jane Shannon bagged the last point to leave the Coláiste Bhríde students worthy champions but only after a very tough battle with a fantastic St. Mary’s side.

Coláiste Bhríde: Laura Kehoe; Tara Doran, Emma Kinnear, Aine McDonald; Laci-Jane Shannon (0-3), Sarah Doyle, Eimear Murphy; Ciara Wafer (0-1), Katie Wafer (0-1); Annie Sheppard, Yasmin Dagge, Rosealice Byrne (0-1); Siofra Kenny (2-0), Aine D’Arcy (0-6, 2f), Ana Dragusin (2-2). Subs: Aoife Wafer, Megan Hayes, Emma Healy, Sarah Weekes, Ciara Byrne, Ciara Kennedy, Lauren Myers, Hannah Redmond, Charlotte Doyle, Karen O’Brien.

St. Mary’s College: Eve Fitzpatrick; Nia Devereux, Divine Luke, Sadhbh Ward; Catherine Bourke, Ciara Lancaster, Doireann Killoran; Kate Priest, Lily Somers; Niamh Kavanagh (0-1), Áine McKerr (0-2), Caroline McGarry; Keeva Kelly (0-1), Abby Healy (3-3, 1-0 pen, 1f), Deirbhile Gavaghan. Subs: Kate Conway (0-1), Isabelle Fitzgerald, Mia Wolohan, Eva Walker, Sophie Mooney, Amy Burke.

Referee: Barry Redmond (Wexford)

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