Boherbue (Cork) 0-7 Thomas Davis (Dublin) 1-12
Ciara McGuigan was the scoring star as Thomas Davis captured the Tesco Homegrown All-Ireland ladies junior club football championship crown this afternoon.
McGuigan scored four of her five points from play as the Dubliners saw off the spirited challenge of Cork opponents Boherbue by eight points at St. Brendan’s Park, Birr.
On a chilly but sunny afternoon for football, a healthy crowd, estimated in the region of 350 spectators, witnessed an entertaining decider at the Offaly venue.
A strong first-half performance from Thomas Davis, who also registered a total of 11 wides, paved the way for an ultimately comfortable win in the battle between the first-time All-Ireland finalists.
By half-time, Thomas Davis had established a seven-point advantage, 1-5 to 0-1, but they had to withstand a strong second-half fightback from Boherbue.
The Thomas Davis lead was whittled down to four points – 1-7 to 0-6 – when Boherbue’s leading scorer Julie Dennehy lofted over a 46th-minute point, but that was as close as the Munster champions got to the winners after half-time.
Overall, Boherbue struggled for scores and while Dennehy notched five points, four of those came from frees, while Gillian Daly finished as Boherbue’s only other scorer, with two points from play.
In contrast, Thomas Davis had scoring contributions from five players, as McGuigan’s opposite corner forward Kate Fitzsimons clipped over four frees.
The Thomas Davis goal arrived from a 17th-minute penalty, when Sinéad Deegan slammed her effort past Boherbue goalkeeper Marie Murphy after the superb McGuigan was fouled.
That successful conversion opened up some daylight for Thomas Davis as they moved into a 1-2 to 0-1 lead.
Inspired by player of the match Siobhán McGrath from centre back, they would not look back from there.
McGrath, a 2010 All-Ireland senior medallist with Dublin, shone like a beacon defensively but this was an accomplished team performance from Thomas Davis, with McGuigan the shining light in attack.
It was Boherbue who got off to the better start however, as Dennehy fired over the opening score from an eighth minute free.
Thomas Davis goalkeeper Louise Curran did well a minute later to deny Gillian Daly from close range as Boherbue pushed forward in search of what would prove to be an elusive goal.
Boherbue didn’t notch a point from play until the 44th minute – and went half an hour without a score after Dennehy’s opening point – but they refused to accept defeat and gave newly-crowned champions Thomas Davis plenty to think about in the second half.
Boherbue finished the match with 14 players, however, when Orlaith McAuliffe was sin-binned in the dying seconds for hauling down McGuigan.
From the resultant free, Fitzsimons clipped over her fourth point to put the icing on a sweet-tasting Thomas Davis cake.
Boherbue: J Dennehy 0-5 (4f), G Daly 0-2.
Thomas Davis: C McGuigan 0-5 (1f), S Deegan 1-1 (1-0 pen), K Fitzsimons 0-4f, O Carey & M Liston each.
BOHERBUE: M Murphy; E Casey, Christine Casey, S Browne; N Murphy, B Casey, A Daly; S Kelly, O McCauliffe; Claire O’Connor, S Heelan, Caroline O’Connor; G Daly, J Dennehy, Cathriona Casey.
Subs: L Dineen for N Murphy (h.t.), E Fitzgerald for Cathriona Casey (56).
THOMAS DAVIS: L Curran; P Casey, M Shiels, S Roche; K Fitzhenry, S McGrath, N Kirby; O Carey, C O’Donnell; A Shiels, S Deegan, M Liston; C McGuigan, C Collins, K Fitzsimons.
Sub: R Newell for Collins (48).
Referee: T McShea (Donegal).