Leitrim’s U-16 Ladies finished a tough year on a high when they pipped Clare in the All-Ireland U-16 Championship C Final last Saturday in Banagher.
Leitrim had struggled throughout the Connacht campaign but found their form in the C competition which is confined to teams who do not qualify for either the A or B Provincial Finals.
Clare started very well but Player of the Match Shauna Plunkett made a series of superb saves to deny the Munster side goals, although they did register two points.
Leitrim opened thier account when Caoimhe Canning & Roisin McHugh combined to set up Emma Guckian for a point. Clare hit with a successful penalty but Leitrim replied in great fashion when Carmel McGovern found Ciana Stringer who took her shot and found the back of the net.
Leitrim capitalised on the goal with two Aileen McGuire points in quick sucession to even up the scoreline and just before halftime, Leitrim laid the foundations for their victory with two goals in the space of two minutes as Aoibheann Flynn & Maguire both found the net.
Guckian scored another point just before the halftime whistle scoreline of 3-4 Leitrim to Clare’s 1-3 as the Green & Gold benefitted from tremendous first half displays from Claire Beirne in midfield and Eilish O’Dowd and Caoimhe Canning who were pivitol for Leitrim.
Leitrim opened the second half scoring, Guckian pointing early on as Amy McLoughlin and Nicole Higgins were very solid at the back.
Eilish O’Dowd scored a fine point after having her shot blocked by keeper with Carla Le Guen replacing Lauren Beirne but went to play in the forwards with Captain Bronagh O’Rourke moving back.
Clare were not giving up easily though and Orla Devitt found the back of the net after Plunkett had made a fine save. Le Guen replied with a point but Clare struck for 1-2 in quick succession as the Munster side closed the gap to just two points.
Aileen Maguire lifted the siege with a point from an awkward angle but Clare came within inches of sneaking victory when a late shot that looked destined for the net went just over the bar.
On the final whistle, with Leitrim supporters praying for the final, Leitrim were one point ahead. Bronagh O’Rourke accepted the cup as Shauna Plunkett was awarded the Player of the game.
Shauna Plunkett, Lauren Beirne, Amy McLoughlin, Nicole Higgins, Eilish O’Dowd, Roisin McHugh, Aisling McNabola, Clare Beirne, Aoibheann Flynn, Carmel McGovern, Emma Guckian, Ciana Stringer, Bronagh O’Rourke (c), Aileen Maguire, Caoimhe Canning. Subs Used: Carla LeGuen, Shannon O’Rourke and Ailbhe Clancy.
Aoife O’Neill, Rachel O’Toole, Sinead Considine, Joanne Howley, Sinead Quinn, Marie Foran, Roisin Considine, Laura Rynne, Aine Browne, Orla Devitt, Katie Connole (c), Grainne Harvey, Aoibhainn Malone, Carla Behan, Grainne Nolan subs used: Chloe Normoyle, Eva O’Dea and Nollaig Blake.