Courcey Rovers edge it to lift their first Senior League title
Courcey Rovers claimed their first senior title at Castle Road after their third attempt to claim a League title at senior level. It was not all plain sailing however, as Glen Rovers pushed them all the way and provided a thrilling finale to this competitive and entertaining fixture. Glen Rovers were denied an opportunity to equalise with 1 minute remaining when a Katie Walsh shot came off the upright only for Courceys to clear their lines under pressure. However, they pushed again and Lydia Cunningham was denied by a great Sinead O’Reilly save who proved instrumental in Courceys holding their precarious one point lead.
Glen Rovers got off to a dream start when they were awarded a penalty inside the opening minute and Denise Luby made no mistake when her shot rattled the Courcey net. Aisling Wallace pointed after a strong run down the wing to put the Glen four points clear before Courceys responded with a Jacinta Crowley 45 metre free. On the quarter mark the Glen were in control and were 1-02 to a point up after a Katie Walsh point was deflected over by O’Reilly between the posts. Courceys responded and a brace by Crowley from placed balls drew them to within two, before a Nicole O’Brien point saw the sides 1-03 to 0-03 on 21. A minute later Linda Collins equalised when she was on hand to bat to the back of the net after Luby had made an initial save from a testing long range delivery from Saoirse McCarthy. Courceys began to hit their purple patch and a Crowley 20 metre free followed by a fine Collins effort saw them hit the front four minutes from the half way mark before O’Brien pulled one back for the Glen to leave the half time score 1-05 to 1-04 in favour of Courceys.
The second half proved highly entertaining with both sides contributing to a great contest to decide the destination of the League title. Wallace who proved lively at top of the right split the posts shortly after the resumption before Ashling Moloney cancelled out when she picked off a fine long range effort from the middle of the pitch. Crowley picked off two great efforts from play before putting over a tight angled 20 metre free to give Courceys a four point lead on 36. Luby in the Glen goal was on form and denied Hayes a goal opportunity on 40 before the Glen struck four unanswered points from Michaela Hyde, Lauren Callanan – 40 metre free and two O’Brien well worked scores to see the sides level with seven minutes remaining. Crowley put the slimmest of margins between them with a well worked point before Callanan pointed from a placed ball to level again 1-10 apiece with the final whistle looming. The Courcey defense proved resilient throughout and handled a late Glen surge but when Saoirse McCarthy was brought down the resultant free was slotted over by Crowley to give Courceys their maiden win at senior level.
Courcey Rovers: S. O’Reilly, E. O’Regan, K. Keohane, G. Hannon, C. Hayes, A. Moloney (capt.), O. Twomey, J. Crowley, R. Crowley, S. McCarthy, C. O’Neill, Eimear O’Reilly, L. Collins, S. Hayes, Elaine O’Reilly.
Subs: A. O’Reilly for Eimear O’Reilly (48)
Glen Rovers: D. Luby, K. Buckley, K. Falvey, N. Gowan, K. O’Connell, L. O’Sullivan (capt.), S. Fahy, L. Callanan, L. Cunningham, K. Walsh, M. Hyde, N. O’Brien, A. Wallace, B. Hackett, E. Murphy
Subs: S. Brickley for B. Hackett (HT)
Courcey Rovers: L. Collins 1-01, J. Crowley 0-09 (0-05f, 0-0145), A. Moloney 0-01
Glen Rovers: D. Luby 1-00, N. O’Brien 0-04, A. Wallace 0-02, L. Callanan 0-02 (0-01f), M. Hyde 0-01, K. Walsh 0-01
Referee: Walter Cole, Buttevant