NAOMH MUIRE’S Ulster dreams were dashed as Edendork scored 4-3 in a deadly final quarter to win the Ulster Junior final.
Edendork 6-11 Naomh Muire 2-4
By Chris McNulty at Killyclogher
Naomh Muire were in the hunt when they trailed by just four points when Erika Hanna steered home their second goal, but Maeve Maxwell’s hat-trick powered Edendork to glory.
Maxwell (2), Kathleen Rafferty and Louise McCaffrey bagged the late goals as the game ran completely away from Naomh Muire as the Tyrone side had 19 points to spare by the end – a margin that certainly wasn’t in keeping with the bulk of the hour.
First-half goals by Maxwell – who scored 3-8 in a Player of the Match display – and Nicola Rafferty gave Edendork a lead they never relinquished.
Naomh Muire trailed by 2-5 to 1-2 at half-time and Edendork tacked on the first three points of the second half, two of them by Maxwell and the other from Nicola Rafferty.
However, Naomh Muire hit back when Erika Hanna steered to the net from close range in the 42nd minute as she reacted quickest when an Ailbhe O’Donnell shot dropped invitingly short. Hanna, the Naomh Muire skipper, was onto it in a flash to bat home and re-energise the girls in green and white.
Edendork, as they had done in the first, set the tone in the early moments of part two and it took a brilliant block by midfielder Sarah Doherty to deny Eva Corr a goal when the wing-forward was lining up the target.
Marie McCafferty saved well from Nicola Rafferty as Naomh Muire bravely stayed in the game.
Naomh Muire had endured pain in three successive Donegal junior finals, but shook their heads clear to return and gain glory this year.
After overcoming Naomh Columba in a gripping county final, Naomh Muire went on their maiden voyage into Ulster – a journey that took them to the final hurdle this afternoon.
With 12 minutes on the clock, Kathleen Rafferty shot home off the inside of the post for a killer third goal. It came from an odd call to hop the ball around 20 metres from the Naomh Muire goal. Edendork won the play and Rafferty got on the mark.
Louise McCaffrey bagged a fourth from close range and, in added time, Maxwell smashed home a penalty.
With the final play of the game, Maxwell ran through and finished for hat-trick.
Edendork burst from the traps and surged into a 1-4 to 0-0 lead inside the first ten minutes.
Maeve Maxwell hit two points and Emma Connolly fisted another with the opening goal coming in the ninth minute.
Eva Corr carried the ball for deep inside the their own half. Corr off-loaded for the powerful Nicola Rafferty, who made no mistake with a thundering shot that gave Marie McCafferty no chance of a save.
Edendork signalled their intent from the throw-in. Corr, Connolly and Rafferty were all involved before Connolly was thwarted by a fine challenge by Eilis O’Reilly.
Naomh Muire had a real scare in their semi-final when, on home soil at the Banks, they let a nine-point lead slip as Con Magees forced extra time. However, Naomh Muire hit back to win in extra time and book a spot in the final.
It was unchartered waters as they marched behind the Keadue band – the comforts of neighbours in the parade, at least – in front of a big crowd at Killyclogher.
It took some time for Naomh Muire to settle, but they got a lifeline when Caroline Sharkey was fouled and a penalty awarded by referee David Hurson. Saoirse Bonner stepped up to fire the penalty past Anna Grew, the Edendork goalkeeper.
Tara O’Donnell landed a fine point for Naomh Muire to reduce the margin and Naomh Muire grew into the game without really threatening,
Six minutes before half-time, Edendork bagged a second goal. Maxwell’s shot looked initially to have been turned away by McCafferty. Hurson’s umpires didn’t signal but when the ref’ went to consult the green flags went up for a second goal to the Tyrone side, the ball said to have gone through the side-netting. Maxwell had been adamant of the goal, immediately pointing to the flag as she took the kick.z
It came after a big chance for Maxwell as blasted wide and, in the final minute of the half, Rafferty struck the underside of the crossbar. Edendork broke at pace and Rafferty, surging past the determined work of Sarah Doherty, crashed against the goal frame.
Hanna picked up an ankle injury in the county final, but was named in the starting XV here and it was the full-forward who made a real game of it when she netted a second Naomh Muire major 12 minutes into the second half.
However, Edendork showed their worth with further goals to break the Naomh Muire hearts.
Edendork: Anna Grew; Aine Palmer, Rona Mallon, Ciara McGeary; Sinead McGeary, Nicola Rafferty (1-2), Siun Devlin; Kathleen Rafferty (1-0), Louise McCaffrey (1-0); Emma Connolly (0-1), Abigail Rafferty, Eva Corr; Laura McCaffrey, Laura Kelly, Maeve Maxwell (3-8, 1-0pen, 5f). Subs: Anita Kerr for Kelly (59), Cliona Nelis for Connolly (59), Andrea Corr for C.McGeary (63).
Naomh Muire: Marie McCafferty; Eilis O’Reilly, Hannah Gallagher, Caoimhe Boyle; Jade O’Donnell, Roisin Rodgers, Katie O’Donnell; Tara O’Donnell (0-1), Sarah Doherty; Saoirse Bonner (1-0pen), Caroline Sharkey, Ailbhe O’Donnell (0-1); Amy Hanna, Erika Hanna (1-2, 2f), Casey McGarvey. Subs: Ciara Kavanagh for O’Reilly (55), Lisa McGee for McGarvey (58), Leah McGarvey for Boyle (60), Kate Gillespie for E.Hanna (60).
Referee: David Hurson (Monaghan),