It was a thrilling game in Dunloy, with Loreto doing all their scoring in the first half and St Louis making a comeback in the second half.
After a nail biting, yet thrilling end to the game, the Loreto girls made it over the line.
Both teams battled hard with neither team giving an inch in the first ten minutes. The backlines were dominating, which made it very difficult for either team to score. However, it was Loreto who got off the mark first: there was some excellent play by Kate Healy in mid-field, who won the ball and gave a long pass into the Loreto full forward line.
Kerry Rose Draine gained possession of the ball, rounded her opponent, and drove the ball past the St Louis keeper. The Loreto girls continued to pile on the pressure; again, there was some excellent defending from Emer Munro, Brianna Ferguson and Isabella O’Kane which kept the St Louis forwards quiet.
With the Loreto mid-field getting on top and gaining vital possession, the girls were able to mount another attack. After some excellent work from Treasa Passmore, who won the ball in a ruck, passed the ball out to Kerry Rose who once again put the ball to the back of the St Louis net. With five minutes left of the first half, the Loreto girls pushed on.
Jenny McNeill won possession from a St Louis puck out, she played a high ball into the square which deceived the St Louis keeper and ended up in the net. The final score of the half came after some great work from Cliodhna Boylan, who won possession, soloed down the right wing and played the ball across to Kerry Rose, who fired the ball over the bar.
Loreto knew they were going to be up against it in the second half as they were playing against a strong wind.
It was St Louis who started best, they were running at the Loreto defence, making gaps and they scored four points in a row. The Loreto defence were under great pressure, however they continued to battle ferociously to keep the St Louis forwards at bay.
The Loreto forwards were struggling to get the ball to stick up front, but every single player battled hard and continued to put the pressure on, all over the field. Unfortunately, a lack of concentration in the Loreto back line allowed St Louis to get their first and only goal of the game.
They followed this up with a long range free which left the score 3:1 to 1:5. As St Louis continued to pile the pressure on the Loreto goal, keeper Erin McKay pulled off an outstanding save in the last five minutes of the game to deny St Louis a certain goal. This lifted all the Loreto girls, and again they increased their intensity and battled hard to win possession.
Tess Mullan and Kate Healy, who had worked tirelessly in mid-field all day, continued to be a vital cog in the Loreto team, winning possession, running at the St Louis defence, and creating opportunities for the Loreto forwards. With only one point between the teams going into injury time, the game could have gone either way. However, the Loreto back line stood firm, Emer Munro and Kyra Stockman won key possession at a nerve-wracking time, and were fouled coming out of defence.
This allowed the Loreto girls to refocus and get set up. As the last minute approached, St Louis threw everything at the Loreto girls, but they stood up to the challenge and weathered the storm to come away with
a one-point victory.
This was an excellent all-round team performance which highlights the hard work and effort these girls have put in all year. St Louis beat Loreto in the group match in April, however the girls knew they could play better and that they were improving with each match they played.
Their drive and desire to win in the final got them over the line.
A special mention goes to their captain, Kerry Rose Draine, who top-scored with two goals and a point, Kate Healy and Tess Mullan in mid-field, who worked tirelessly throughout the game, and Emer
Munro, who made some excellent clearances out of defence.