Irrepressible champions strike again
Carnacon gathered their 22nd county senior title at Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar, yesterday evening - a remarkable achievement by any stretch of the imagination, writes John Brennan.
When their dominance eventually comes to a halt, only then will their achievements really come to light.
They show no signs of letting up anytime soon though, as evidenced by their 2-16 to 0-11 win over opponents Moy Davitts, and ominously, the changing of the guard in terms of the team formation is already taking place.
For Moy Davitts, it's another year of what might have been. Missing Grace Kelly through injury certainly didn’t help their cause, but they they still dictated the terms of engagement with the wind to their backs in the first half, inspired by Lisa Reid, Niamh Kelly and Natasha Gaughan.
However, they could have done with being five or six clear at the break to have any chance of causing an upset, but ultimately Carnacon moved through the gears to devastating effect.
Instead of a substantial lead, they held a slender one-point advantage at half-time and the defending champions set about their job in the second half with ruthless efficiency. Their goals were scored by Amy Dowling and Aoife Brennan, while Cora Staunton finished top scorer on 0-11, a tally that included eight frees.
Meanwhile, Kilmovee Shamrocks took the honours in the intermediate final, beating CL MacHale Rovers by 5-9 to 2-13.
The goals were crucial, all five for Kilmovee coming in the first half – including one inside the opening 15 seconds by Lisa Cafferkey.
It set the tone for the half, with Cafferkey and Shauna Golden adding two more goals each, giving Kilmovee a 12-point cushion at one stage.
It would have been enough to floor many teams but CL MacHale Rovers, for whom Rachel Kearns produced a superb individual display that yielded 12 points, dug deep and showed great resolve to find a way back.
A brace of goals from Sinead Walsh ignited their challenge, and by half-time the deficit was down to seven points – with Rovers having wind assistance in the second stanza.
It looked as though Kilmovee were secure in managing the game to the end, with Sinead and Lisa Cafferkey showing all their know-how and experience and Elaine Duffy producing a number of saves.
However, CL MacHale Rovers conjured up one last assault down the home stretch, rattling off five points without reply. They ultimately fell short though as Kilmovee Shamrocks picked up their first title since 2003.
*Pictured above, Aoife Brennan in action for Carnacon against Moy Davitts in the Mayo ladies senior club championship final at Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar. Photo: Michael Donnelly