Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) 2-9 Foxrock-Cabinteely (Dublin) 0-8
Catriona McConnell led the charge as Donaghmoyne won back-to-back All-Ireland ladies senior club football titles for the very first time at Parnell Park on Sunday, writes Jackie Cahill.
Appearing in their seventh final, Donaghmoyne claimed a fifth crown but this was the first time in the club’s history that they’d managed to successfully retain the national silverware.
A dominant first half display provided the platform for victory against Dublin’s Foxrock-Cabinteely and McConnell, who took a year out from inter-county fare with Monaghan in 2016, finished with a personal haul of 1-5.
In a repeat of last year's semi-final, Foxrock-Cab did show some real spirit in the second half to outscore Donaghmoyne (0-6 to 1-2) but they had far too much work to do and a comeback was never on the cards.
Donaghmoyne did go 15 minutes without a score in the second period but the hard work was done and Niamh Callan’s 48th minute point was crucial to steady the ship again for the winners, who prevailed by seven points.
There was a late scare for Donaghmoyne when Anne-Marie Murphy crashed a shot off the post with Linda Martin beaten but that miss was symptomatic of Foxrock-Cab’s luck on the day.
Donaghmoyne lost Cora Courtney to a yellow card with nine minutes remaining but with four minutes left, Foxrock-Cab had Niamh Collins booked as the physicality levels went up a couple of notches.
Foxrock-Cab had seen off five-time winners Carnacon in a pulsating semi-final but Donaghmoyne were obviously forewarned.
And right from the start they went about their business with intent, Cora Courtney’s second minute point handing them an early advantage.
Approaching half-time Donaghmoyne were ten points clear, leading by 1-7 to 0-0, and this final looked done and dusted.
McConnell was on song and she buried a 13th minute goal to put real daylight between the sides, Donaghmoyne ahead to 1-4 to 0-0.
It was a first half where nothing went right for Foxrock-Cab.
Amy Connolly pulled an early goal chance wide before Amy Ring forced a fine save from Martin, player of the match in last year’s final, with Connolly off-target on the follow-up.
Ten minutes before half-time, Ring missed a close-in free that she’d normally convert as Foxrock-Cab became increasingly desperate in their quest for a score.
They thought they had it when Niamh Ryan’s shot was waved over by an umpire but that effort was subsequently ruled out.
Foxrock-Cab did break their duck when Anne-Marie Murphy pointed with two and a half minutes left in the first half but Ring limped off with a hamstring problem before Connolly added a second point for the Dublin team.
Facing an uphill task after the break, Foxrock-Cab needed a decent start but disaster struck when McConnell’s delivery was spilled by goalkeeper Laurie Ahern and Louise Kerley pounced for Donaghmoyne’s second goal.
To their credit, Foxrock-Cab did reel off the next four scores of the game – all of them from Amy Connolly – but Callan’s point was a tonic for Donaghmoyne.
They may only have scored much in the second half but Donaghmoyne, once again, are worthy All-Ireland senior champions, drawing level with Mayo’s Carnacon on the all-time roll of honour.
Scorers for Donaghmoyne: C McConnell 1-5 (0-2f), L Kerley 1-1, A Casey, C Courtney & N Callan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Foxrock-Cabinteely: A Connolly 0-5 (3f), A.M. Murphy 0-2, C Murphy 0-1.
DONAGHMOYNE: L Martin; J Geoghegan, F Courtney, Á McElroy; H Kingham, S Courtney, J Courtney; A Casey, C Courtney; C McConnell, E McElroy, R Courtney; L Kerley, N Callan, A Keenan.
Subs: L Garland for Kingham (39), S McConnell for Á McElroy (47), R Finnegan for Keenan (55), G Comiskey for Kerley (59).
FOXROCK-CABINTEELY: L Ahern; E McDonagh, N Collins, S Delahunty; S Goldrick, C Ní Mhurchadh, L Fusciardi; S Brophy, L Nerney; C O’Riordan, A.M. Murphy, N Ryan; A Ring, F Claffey, A Connolly.
Subs: H O’Neill for Ring (28), C Crotty for Delahunty (36), C Murphy for O’Riordan (46), T O’Sullivan for McDonagh (47), E O’Herlihy for Nerney (56).
Referee: G Carmody (Mayo).