Senior County Camogie final
The sky was blue, the sun was shining, there were six nominated Soaring Stars on the field (three from each team).
But there was a very strong breeze blowing down St Patrick’s Park Newcastle when the teams took the field on Saturday (6 October), and it did have a bearing on the outcome.
Clonduff won the toss and elected to play against the wind in the first half. It took them a long time - 18 minutes - to come to terms with it and then they shot over four points in a row to lead 0-5 to 0-3 before the girls from the Ards hit back with two of their own to leave the half time score level (0-5 apiece).
But if it hadn’t been for some very stout defending by the Clonduff girls and the very experienced Camog Karen Haughey (Gribben) who recently took over the role of net minder there is no doubt that score would have been very different.
Portaferry got the first two scores of the second half but due to the strong Clonduff defence helped by that strong breeze they didn’t score again. The Yellas dominated possession and once they moved ahead they were determined not to let that lead slip but it wasn’t exactly plain sailing - the young Portaferry side time and again thwarted numerous Clonduff attacks.
When the final whistle blew there was only a puck of the ball between them. The Clonduff players and their big contingent of supporters were euphoric!
When they eventually calmed down the presentations were made. Clonduff’s Paula O’Hagan (Gribben) was awarded the Player of the Match accolade presented by County Camogie secretary Mairead Rooney; and then as team captain she accepted the trophy from County Camogie chair Deirdre McGrath on behalf of her team following the presentation of the runners-up medals to Portaferry captain Maria McNally.
Following speeches and interviews the team and mentors headed back to Hilltown to attend the anniversary mass for two stalwarts of Clonduff Camogie Geraldine Boden and Kathleen Matthews.
There was a wonderful atmosphere in the Clubrooms for the celebration meal which was greatly attended and appreciated by all. Clonduff will play the Tyrone Champions Eglish in the Ulster Intermediate Final on Saturday, 20 October, a re-run of last year’s Ulster Final - venue to be confirmed.
Team: Karen Haughey, Erin Rafferty, Jenna Boden, Nicola O’Hagan, Lizzie Wilson, Fionnuala Carr, Clare McGilligan, Beth Fitzpatrick, Clara Cowan, Katie McGilligan, Orla Morgan, Paula O’Hagan, Sara Louise Carr, Orla Gribben, Roisin Mulholland.
Subs used: Isabella O’Hare, Sarah Murphy, Niohmi Murray.
Other panellists: Ellen Lively, Shannon O’Hagan, Milly Brown, Megan O’Reilly, Ally Magee, Natasha Boyle, Niamh Fitzpatrick, Erin Lively, Caitlin Harper, Roisin McPolin, Hannah Wilson, Cassie Fitzpatrick, Kitty Fegan.