No fairytale ending for Donegal side Naomh Muire in Ulster Junior Ladies final

No fairytale ending for  Donegal  side Naomh Muire in Ulster Junior Ladies final

Naomh Muire's Ailbhe O'Donnell has a shot at goals Picture: Thomas Gallagher

Naomh Muire’s dream season came to an end after an absorbing Ulster Junior Championship final played in Killyclogher, Tyrone.. 

St Malachy’s, Edendork  . . . 6-11 

Naomh Muire, Lower Rosses . . . 2-4 

It had been a great run but the Donegal champions just came up against a strong Edendork side whose ability to find the net was the big difference. 

The 19 point victory is a little cruel on the Donegal champions who were only four points down with a little over 15 minutes remaining. 

Naomh Muire got off the worst possible start and found themselves seven points down after ten minutes after Edendork got off to a lightning start.

The Tyrone champions led 1-4 to 0-0  thanks to two points from their ace corner forward Laura Maxwell, one from Emma Connolly.

Nicola Rafferty scored the Edendork goal and a cracking goal it was which ended with the centre-half-back dilling past Marie McCafferty after a sweeping move all the way from their own half-back line. 

That was on nine minutes and while Connolly added the fourth Edendork point shortly after Naomh Muire - appearing in their first provincial final - finally shook off their early nerves.

And with Erika Hanna, Caroline Sharkey, Laura O’Donnell and Roisin Rodgers rising to the challenge Naomh Muire came more into the game. 

And they were up and running on the scoreboard when Saoirse Bonner converted from the penalty spot after Caroline Sharkey was fouled, 

Boosted by the goal Naomh Muire were back in the game after Tara O’Donnell kicked a brilliant point to reduce the margin back to three points.

But the first time Donegal champions were reeling once again after Maxwell drove home a second Edendork goal for 2-4 to 1-1 lead with five minutes left in the half.

There was a touch of controversy when the ball went through the net and gave the impression to all observers as if the ball had gone wide.

But the umpire did not signal and after consulting with the umpire referee David Hurson awarded the goal.  The score really rocked Naomh Muire and Edendork finished the half strong. Nicola Rafferty kicked a fine point after also missing a glorious opportunity for a goal when through on goals, smashing the ball off the underside of the crossbar. 

Rafferty and Maxwell added three quick points on the resumption to extend their half-time lead to nine points. 

However, as they did in the first half, Naomh Muire regrouped and they were back in the game when to a quick goal and two points from Erika Hanna.  The margin down to four points as Naomh Muire trailed 2-4 to 2-8.

But the Tyrone champions stepped it up again and despite a number of good saves from Marie McCafferty, Edendork once again finished the game off with two goals from midfielders Kathleen Rafferty and Louise McCaffertuy.

And the game was well over as a contest long before Maxwell converted from the penalty spot for goal number five for the Tyrone champions. 

Maxwell added a sixth goal deep in jury time for a 19 point win. 

Edendork Scorers: Maeve Maxwell 3-8, Nicola Rafferty 1-2, Kathleen Rafferty 1-0, Louise Mc Caffrey 1-0. Emma Connolly 0-1

Naomh Muire Scorers:  Erika Hanna 1-2, Saoirse Bonner 1-0, Ailbhe O’Donnell 0-1, Tara O’Donnell 0-1

EDENDORK: Anna Grew; Aine Palmer, Rona Mallon, Ciara Mc Geary; Sinead Mc Geary, Nicola Rafferty, Siun Devlin; Kathleen Rafferty, Louise Mc Caffrey; Emma Connolly, Abigail Rafferty, Eva Corr; Laura Mc Caffrey, Laura Kelly, Maeve Maxwell. Subs: Anita Kerr for Kelly, Cliona Neilis for Connolly, Shannen Mc Grath Andrea Corr For C Mc Geary

NAOMH MUIRE: Marie Mc Cafferty; Eilis O’Reilly, Hannah Gallagher, Caoimhe Boyle; Jade O’Donnell, Rosin Rodgers, Katie O’Donnell; Tara O’Donnell, Sarah Doherty; Saoirse Bonner, Caroline Sharkey, Aibhe O’Donnell; Amy Hanna, Erika Hanna, Casey Mc Garvey.  Subs: Ciara Kavanagh O’Reilly, Lisa Mc Gee for C Mc Garvey, Kate Gillespie for A Hanna

REFEREE: David Marron (Monaghan).

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