Just weeks after returning to action after a period out with a heart condition, Keri Sweeney’s fairy tale was completed with the winning goal for Mulroy College in today’s Ulster schools final.
Pobalscoil Gaoth Dobhair 0 Mulroy College 1
By Charlie Collins
Sweeney had been out for several months due to a condition that had attacked her heart.
However, the recent purchase of a defibrillator allowed the Kerrykeel woman to return to action again.
Sweeney’s big aim has been to get back playing – and she was the match-winner in today’s final, played in testing conditions in Gaoth Dobhair.
Sweeney gave Mulroy the lead in the eighth minute in some style. Mulroy broke at pace and Sweeney wonderfully dribbled in from half-way, beating several challenges, before slotting past Molly Kelly in the Gaoth Dobhair goal.
Just before the half-hour, Kelly denied Sweeney, who sped away again and got a shot away.
A severe cross-wind made life tricky for the participants. Gaoth Dobhair enjoyed a lot of possession, but Mulroy’s counter-attacking game was proving a real danger.
Just after the break, Mulroy came close to adding a second as Laura Dugera cut in from the right flank, but her shot, with Kelly beaten, drifted past the far post.
Dugera was played in by Eimear Sweeney, after some excellent play by the Mulroy defender, but again her attempt was narrowly off-target.
Sweeney shot wide and at 1-0 it was always going to be nervous.
With Clare Friel commanding behind them, Mulroy’s rearguard held firm. However, Gaoth Dobhair were inches from an equaliser when Roisin Nic Ruairi found Eimear Friel, whose shot cannoned off the crossbar.
With that, their chance was gone and Mulroy, in the face of strong pressure, held on for the win.
Pobalscoil Gaoth Dobhair: Molloy Kelly, Dannthlaith Haiceid, Niamh Maher, Laura McFadden (Labhaoise Friel 25), Etain Haiceid, Maeve Boyce, Eimear Friel, Roisin Nic Ruairi, Aobhinn McBride (Caitlin McCombs 50), Ciara Kavanagh, Aisling Coyle.
Mulroy College: Clare Friel, Siobhan Sweeney, Anna McFadden, Kelly Ann Buchannan, Keri Sweeney, Nicola Irwin, Laura Dugera (Emma Price 12), Kelly Ellis (Laura Duger, half-time), Maria Doherty (Collette McLaughlin 46), Dearbhla McDevitt.
Referee: Martin Coll.