The Sacred Heart School Westport completed a historic treble by making it a clean sweep of Connacht 'A' football titles for 2022. The U14s joined the U16 and Senior teams in claiming the Connacht crown by defeating St Attracta's Tubbercurry in a pulsating match in Swinford Amenity Park on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
It was the Tubbercurry girls who settled the fastest in the opening minutes. The midfield of Mary Peig Horkan and Ellen Giblin were giving a steady supply of ball into their willing and able forwards who were led impressively by Lucy Henry at centre forward. St. Attracta's took an early lead of two points. Some nerves were on show but a Larissa Kelly point after 13 minutes opened the Westport girls account and seemed to settle them.
It was a very even battle and points were exchanged at both ends, Kelly getting her second and third to make it 0-4 to 0-3 in favour of the Sligo girls. Then Attracta's scored a goal towards the end of the first half with an incisive attack through the middle to leave the score 1-5 to 0-3 in their favour at the short whistle.
The Sacred Heart girls came out in determined fashion for the second half and on 35 minutes Aoife Meaney struck for the game's decisive score. She powered through the middle, as she did several times during the game, and rifled a brilliant shot to the bottom corner of the net.
The Westport girls never looked back from this point on. Larissa Kelly was now truly in her groove and sent over three more beautiful points from play to make the score 1-6 to 1-5.
Westport had hit the front for the first time and were never to relinquish their lead. Amy Carney got in on the act with a lovely point and Meaney added another as the Mayo girls looked to close the game out. The score was now 1-8 to 1-5.
St. Attracta's weren't done yet though and hit back with a point to leave two points between the sides.
Alanna Jordan sent over a fine point for the Clew Bay girls to make it a three point game once more.
Once again Attracta's responded in admirable style. They fashioned a goal chance which goalkeeper Rebecca Hastings saved expertly. Ruby Lane and Rachel McGuire repelled a couple of further attacks before the Tubbercurry girls finally had some joy and scored a point to cut the deficit to two points once more.
However, fittingly it was Larissa Kelly who had the final say with her seventh point of the match, all from play, to ease the Westport team across the finish line and securing victory. The Sacred Heart winning with a final scoreline of 1-10 to 1-07.
This was a true team performance full of heroic displays from Rebecca Hastings in goal, throughout the backline with Doireann Guilfoyle and Grace McDonnell excelling. Maud O'Reilly had a very impressive game at midfield alongside Aoife Meaney and the forwards found the scores when needed, inspired by their captain Larissa Kelly.
Larissa Kelly accepted the cup on behalf of the team and Management of Alan Flatley and Gráinne Hughes and will now bring it back to Westport to complete the set in the gleaming trophy cabinet of the Sacred Heart School.
Scorers for Westport: Larissa Kelly 0-7, Aoife Meaney 1-1, Amy Carney 0-1, Alanna Jordan 0-1
18 Ciara Kelly for 14 Aine Gallagher (20)
17 Katie Heraty Ryan for Niamh Calvey (50)
14 Gallagher for 18 Kelly (50)
Team sheet pictured.
Reported by Brian Regan
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