For a second year in a row the Dave McCabe Leinster Junior club championship cup will reside in the capital as O’Dwyers were crowned Leinster champions this afternoon following a thirteen-point victory over Muckalee of Kilkenny.
The final score was not a true reflection on the contest between these two evenly matched teams. It was a hard-fought physical battle which O’Dwyers dug deep to win out in the end. Their ability to score goals despite Muckalee having a tight defensive set up was a crucial factor in determining the outcome of this game.
As mentioned, Muckalee played with a tight defensive system always keeping several players back behind the ball. As a result, O’Dwyers struggled to get on the score sheet with the opening score of the game arriving in the 14th minute of the game when a speculative Alana Kelly shot deceived Niamh McDowell in the Muckalee goal, to roll over the line.
Katie Nolan kept the score board ticking over for Muckalee both from play and free kicks while Shannon Richardson added a second goal for O’Dwyers just before the interval which gave the Balbriggan girls a three-point cushion, as they lead 2-02 (8) to 0-05 at the break.
Two points from Katie McCabe one from play and one from a free helped O’Dwyers to settle quickly as the second half got underway. Then the Balbriggan girls hit a purple patch when team Captain Aoife Curran and Shannon Richardson both struck with goals in quick succession to pull O’Dwyers eleven points clear of their opponents.
Muckalee to their credit kept fighting away with Katie Nolan, Kate Purcell and team captain, Edel Coonan taking the game to O’Dwyers right up to the final whistle. Indeed, referee Barry Redmond had to chat to both camps as the temperatures rose both on the pitch and on the side-line, such was the intensity of the game.
But today was O’Dwyers day and they had leaders in all sectors of the pitch. Niamh Kirby was outstanding in goal, Aoife Curran was inspirational, Shannon Richardson and Katie McCabe where relentless up front constantly moving to get onto the ball. But Elsa Kearney epitomised the spirit of the O’Dwyers team today covering every blade of grass and winning dirty ball time and time again.
The bonfires will be burning brightly in Balbriggan tonight, as they welcome home their heroes and celebrate a famous victory for the club.
O’Dwyers 2022 championship campaign continues as they look forward to an All-Ireland semi-final appearance away to Connacht champions, Salthill Knocknacarra (Galway) which will be played on the weekend of the 25/26th of November next.
O’Dwyers: Niamh Kirby, Carla Munson, Lara Marrey, Aoife Curran (Captain), Elsa Kearney, Holly O'Rourke, Jane Kehoe, Alana Kelly, Katie McCabe, Izzy McLean, Chloe Johnston, Erica Byrne, Aoife Breathnach, Shannon Richardson, Amy Gibbons.
O’Dwyers scorers: Shannon Richardson 2-00, Katie McCabe 0-06 (5f), Alana Kelly 1-01, Aoife Curran 1-00, Lara Marrey 0-01.
O’Dwyers subs: Ellen Dowling for Carla Munson, Naomi Weakliam for Alana Kelly, Saoirse Blount for Jane Keogh.
Muckalee: Niamh McDowell, Roisin Coady, Eadaoin Coady, Roisin Hanlon, Aoife Dunne, Edel Coonan (C), Clodagh Hanlon, Ellen Lawlor, Kelley Comerford, Kate Purcell, Rebecca Roche, Hazel Moore, Sarah Brennan, Laura McDowell, Katie Nolan.
Muckalee scorers: Katie Nolan 0-04 (2f), Hazel Moore, Kelley Comerford, Kate Purcell 0-01 each.
Muckalee subs: Shona Ruane for Aoife Dunne, Amy Ring for Rebecca Roche, Denise Comerford for Laura McDowell, Amy Nolan for Eadaoin Coady, Ciara Doheny for Sarah Brennan.
Leinster Player of the Match: Elsa Kearney
Referee: Barry Redmond (Wexford)
Report with thanks to Dublin LGFA
Photo Credit: Aisling Clery