Cumann na mBunscol - Local schools soak up winning feeling

By Hayden Moore

WHEN Griffeen Valley ET and Divine Mercy SNS met on the pitch on Tuesday, there was more at stake than just a trophy.

The schools are separated by no more than a stone’s throw, and both faced off for the Corn Pádraig Mac Giolla Bhearraigh in the latest in a number of huge encounters between the two.

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Éabha Nic Craith of Scóil Lorcáin tries to weave her way through the Scoil Mhuire defence in the Sciath Bean Uí Phuirseil Final.

The budding rivalry sat at 1-1 heading into Tuesday’s meeting in Croke Park, with Griffeen Valley emerging tops in last year’s Cumman na mBunscol decider while Divine Mercy snatched a win in the group stages of this year’s competition.

And the latter carried that good form into the start of this title match as Angad Dhaliwal pointed for them early on.

But for the rest of the half, it was the Griffeen Valley show as luck swung in the favour with Anya Dunne’s ball in to the box from distance zipping past everyone and meandering its way into the net.

Despite Divine Mercy shotstopper Conor Byrne’s best efforts, making two jaw-dropping saves, Griffeen’s Orla Donnelly found a gap to drill the sliotar beyond the ‘keeper to help leave her side 3-0 to 0-1 up at the break.

Donnelly doubled her tally when she caught a high ball and drilled another to the net, but Mercy then hit somewhat of a purple patch as they struck 1-3 without reply.

Armand Meijers goaled and through some tidy build-up play from James Duffy, they saw Dhaliwal and Sean Dunne register points to claw back.

When Jack Higgins’ effort hit the crossbar, their luck seemingly dried up and so did their chance of Cumann na mBunscoll glory as Griffeen Valley’s Donnely hit a third goal and Brian Whelan pointed to  see their side run out 5-1 to 1-5 winners.

Our Lady's Ballinteer enjoyed great success across the board as both their boys and girls’ schools lifted the Corn Seán Ó Rinn and Sciath INTO respectively on Day Two of the competition.

In the earlier match, the GNS flexed their power when they comfortably beat Assumption GNS, tallying 1-9 and keeping their opponents totally scoreless, despite several attempts to break their drought.

The Walkinstown side put on a brave display with goalkeeper Sarah O’Reilly pulling off several stops to keep them in the game in the opening half.

They also came close to registering their first score when captain Lacey Connolly’s attempt was ruled wide by the umpire after some discussion.

The Ballinteer girls heaped on the pressure with some excellent points from centre-forward Layla Hemp in front of goal and from Laura Kirwan further back in the field.

Sophie Carroll leapt onto the scoresheet with a well-taken goal while Sophie O’Mahoney celebrated her 11th Birthday with a late point and a Shield win.

Our Lady’s BNS got their hands on some silverware too in the later throw-in when they stunted a late St Kevin’s BNS comeback to run out eventual 5-12 to 4-8 winners in the Seán Ó Rinn Cup.

Late scores from Sam Sheridan, who chalked up 2-7 on the day, had the Kilnamanagh side clawing their way back after they had gone into the break 4-6 to 1-7 down.

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Players from Our Ladys GNS, Ballinteer, are all smiles after they landed the Sciath INTO title following their victory over Assumption GNS in the Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Finals 2019 in Croke Park on Tuesday. (Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile)

Further goals from Lee Macken and Dara McKenna, together with the brilliant Jack Greene saw them make a massive second-half resurgence to outscore their opponents in that half, but they ran out of time in their attempt to bridge the gap.

All of the damage had been done in that opening half by the Ballinteer lads with captain Joe Reddan putting a fine shift, pointing frees, glancing over a sideline cut and netting twice.

Among the other goal scorers were Max Morrison and Matthew Fox while Sean Mulligan slotted over points at crucial times during the second-half to pin back the dogged Kevin’s side.

As the game drew to a close, goalkeeper Ben Whooley produced some outstanding saves to help his team hang on to their seven-point winning advantage.

St Colmcille’s SNS’ clash with St Pius X GNS for the Corn Bean Uí Phuirseil proved one of the most exciting match-ups of the Cumann na mBunscol Finals as the Knocklyon side ran out 2-1 to 1-1 winners.

Colmcille’s captain Emma Moran, who plays with Ballyboden St Enda’s, hit all of her side’s scores in the first half while her Terenure counterpart, Kathryn King registered a score either side of the break.

Having won the shield final last year, St Pius were in pursuit of cup glory this time around and boasted great cohesion in their squad with Caitlin Ryan, King and Ciara Quinn superb in the centre of the park.

But with the energetic Moran on the other side, it was a tall ask to keep her at bay as she scored direct from a long-range place ball and another from play.

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St Colmcille's SNS Knocklyon players celebrate after winning the Corn Bean Uí Phuirseil Cup Final against St Pius X GNS, Terenure in Croke Park on Tuesday. (Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile)

The Knocklyon side had strength across the park too with Jessie Hughes, Saoirse McMahon and daughter of intercounty hurler Conal Keaney, Kate, forming the spine of the team and swinging the tie in their favour.

Meanwhile, when Niamh McCarthy fired over her long range free in the opening half of the Sciath Nuri Final, little did she know how important that point would prove to be.

Indeed it was to prove the only score of the entire match and one that subsequently propelled her school Divine Mercy SNS to victory over a very gritty St Kevin’s GNS.

In what was evidently a defensively dominated match, both sides boasted some excellent performers with captain Alicia Curran superb at center forward for the eventual winners.

The team’s full-back line of Neila Volskaite, Alexandria Fedosiu and Dumitrita Poghirca proved totally uncompromising while there were other very solid defensive displays by Molly Prior and Valeria Leagu as well as goalkeeper Claire Power.

For St Kevin’s, goalkeeper Alex Butler served up an excellent performance as did Thomas David club player Lexie Farrell Bushe, half forward Isabel O’Melia, midfielder Ellie Holmes and Ava Dale.

Scoil Mhuire GNS Lucan finally got their hands back on the Sciath Bean Uí Phuirseil following their 1-6 to 0-3 victory over Scoil Lorcáin in the decider on Tuesday.

Only a point separated the two sides at the halftime recess, but Scoil Mhuire took off in the second half with Amber Plunkett firing over six points and Abbie de Lacy accounting for their goal which was more than enough to see them over the line.

Co-captain’s Sive Keogh and Ailbhe McGillicuddy led their team superbly against a gritty Scoil Lorcáin side that really put it up to them in the opening half.

Shéana Ní Lobhaois with two points and Muireann Ní Mhuineacháin with one, accounted for their tally on the day, but it was not enough to stop their opponents powering on after the interval.

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