DOWN LADIES JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL 2019 – Clonduff 2-15 Saul 1-8
Clonduff Ladies Footballers completed a remarkable comeback to adult football as they were crowned Down Ladies Junior Champions in St Patrick’s Park Newcastle on Saturday 7th September. They saw off the challenge of Saul with a massive ten-point margin to regain the title they first won in 2003 having only begun playing the game the previous year. They have experienced many highs and lows since then – the highs included the Intermediate Championship in 2005 and three-in-a-row Senior Championships in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The low point came when they were unable to field an adult team 2016 and again in 2017 and 2018. They re-formed in 2019 and whilst it wasn’t all plain sailing they pulled together a fine team of experienced and emerging players.
Four of the girls playing in the 2019 Championship were on the team that won the first Junior Championship and four of them weren’t even born but they gelled and produced a great performance in St Patrick’s Park Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.
They played against the strong breeze in the first half and got two early goals to set them on their way. They led 2-8 to 0-4 at the break.
Saul came out a different team for the second half and took the game to Clonduff. The spoils were shared with Saul scoring a great goal but Clonduff’s hard yards in the first half paid dividends. There was great jubilation among the girls and their mentors and when Captain Brigid was presented with the Cup the joy was palpable! And young Isabella O’Hare was declared a deserving ‘Player of the Match’ to complete a fantastic day for the Clonduff girls.
Eventually the team bus headed back home for what is a traditional post-final reception in Clonduff Club. The girls and their mentors were treated to a two-course meal provided by Diamonds Restaurant, Warrenpoint, following which there were speeches from Clonduff Chair Paudie Matthews, team manager Niall Rafferty and team captain Brigid Quinn. The evening finished with photos with family and friends who also attended the reception.
Many thanks to families, supporters and sponsors for helping our girls achieve this great result. Apart from those pictured a massive thank you also to Colleen and Mark McPolin for new socks, and to former players – the McPolin Sisters, Angeline, Olivia and Colleen – for sponsoring the half-time drinks and fruit.
Enjoy it girls! But only for a short time as there is the Ulster campaign on the horizon where you will meet the Tyrone Junior Champions in a couple of weeks’ time. In the meantime eight of these panellists have the Camogie County Senior Final on 21st September and three of them play in the Camogie County Junior Final next Saturday – Good luck girls – you are a credit to yourselves, your families, your club and your parish! Keep up the hard work!
Team: Shannon O’Reilly, Cliodhna Crothers, Jolene McShane, Brigid Quinn (Capt), Amy Lowry, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Leanne McAleavey, Paula O’Hagan, Erin Rafferty, Orla Gribben, Orlaith McCusker, Lauren Kane, Kayla Woods, Colleen McPolin Isabella O’Hare; Subs used: Clara Cowan, Roisin Mulholland, Hannah Wilson; Other Panellists: Aoife McCusker, Rosie McCann, Arlene McConville, Katie McGilligan, Petrina Lively, Ciara O’Reilly (unable to attend the County Final)