Last Saturday will go down in history for the Knockananna Camogie team after they lifted the All-Ireland Junior B title.
The club which has just celebrated its 50th anniversary finished an amazing year in County Louth.
On a beautiful sunkissed Drogheda conditions were perfect as the sides took the field, Knockananna had their plans interrupted when centre back Aine Byrne failed a fitness test and was replaced by sixteen year old Aobha Harmon, who was making her first start at senior level.
As in all the games leading up to the final Knockananna got off to a slow start, Derrylaughan took a 2 point lead in the opening five minutes before Rachel Byrne put over the first point for her side, within a minute Ciara Byrne pointed a free to bring the sides level.
After eight minutes Derrylaughan took the lead again when Knockananna keeper Loretta Mutton blocked down a high lob, only for the ball to break to forward Oonagh O’Neill who tapped the ball in from close range.
For the next five minutes the sides spared away until Laura Hogan put over a third point for Knockananna, two points from Ciara Byrne put the sides level at the midway stage of the first half.
In the 23rd minute Laura Hogan put her side in the lead for the first time in the game and quickly followed it up with another point as Knockananna finally got into their stride.
Rachel Byrne added two more points before halftime to leave Knockananna with a 4 point lead at the break. Knockananna 0-9 Derrylaughan 1-2.
As in the first half Derrylaughan opened the scoring in the second half with a point, in the 3rd minute of the second half quick thinking Ciara Byrne took a quick free after seeing Rachel Byrne loose outside the Derrylaughan area, Byrne dispatched the ball with mighty force all the way to the Derrylaughan net.
Ciara Byrne put over a free as Knockananna took hold of the game, both sides traded points as the sides reached the midway of the second half. With ten minutes to go Derrylaughan with their backs to the wall and losing by six points seemed to get a second wind and realised they needed goals as the clocked ticked down.
Derrylaughan laid siege to the Knockananna goal but could not get the ball past Loretta Mutton and her defenders, who chased down everyball.
After over an hour of a fantastic game Knockananna came out on top with five points to spare.
Final score Knockananna 1-12 Derrylaughan 1-7.
In what must have been a difficult decision Shannagh Goetelen was awarded the player of the match, while Laura Hogan lifted the All-Ireland trophy.
Speaking after the game manager Tom Byrne said the hurt of the loss to Naomh Treasa in December also from Tyrone was driving them on and they didn’t want the same to happen again and as the games came so quick they were well prepared.
Player of the match Shannagh Goetelen said it was a team effort and a tough game Derrylaughan made us work right to the end and it was all hands to the pump, there was tremendous effort from everyone especially the younger members of the team who kept calm and collected through all the matches.
16-year-old Aobha Harmon who only realised she would be playing minutes before the match said ” I couldn’t believe it one minute I was feeling so sorry for Aine, She is the backbone of the team and I can’t remember her never playing, then the next I was going to be playing in an All-Ireland final, I was so nervous but probably not as nervous as if I had been on the team so I didn’t have much time to think, it was a case of in at the deep end and it was my first start as a senior player, I was nervous throughout the game as I was afraid I would make a mistake, now I can’t believe it we have won, I am delighted.
Loretta Mutton, Dervla Byrne, Emily Hadden, Alice Mulhall, Emily Mulhall, Eimear O’Sullivan, Jessie Byrne, Amiee Maher, Shannagh Goetelen, Laura Hogan (0-3), Roisin Byrne, Ciara Byrne (0-6), Aobha Harmon Rachel Byrne (1-3), Sarah Byrne (0-1)
Subs: Sinead Byrne for Aobha Harmon (55), Eimear Breslin for Alice Mulhall (58), Eimear Mutton for Eimear O’Sullivan (58)