The Kerry club were victorious against Galway’s Clonbur.
Castleisland Desmonds (Kerry) 2-11
Clonbur (Galway) 1-6
LEANNE MANGAN’S ACCURACY from frees was the key ingredient as Castleisland Desmonds held off a concerted Clonbur rally in the second half to be crowned Tesco Homegrown All-Ireland intermediate club ladies football champions in Corofin yesterday.
Underground conditions were difficult at the Clare venue but that didn’t stop both sides serving up a treat to the big crowd in attendance.
The final margin was harsh on the Galway Gaeltacht girls, as Castleisland substitutes Elaine Guiney and Laoibhse Walmsley struck for a goal and a point from the game’s last two acts deep in injury-time.
There was no questioning the merit of the Desmonds’ success though, as they held the upper hand for the majority of proceedings and should have led by more than four points at the interval.
In the end, they held their nerve well to see off the Clonbur onslaught and captain Lorraine Scanlon was understandably exultant immediately afterwards.
“It’s fantastic,” beamed the Kerry star. “It’s what you dream about. To win an All-Ireland with your club, with the girls you grew up with, is unbelievable.
The support was fantastic. Castleisland was all decorated during the week and there was a great buzz around the town. Fair dues to the supporters, they came out in their droves today.
“Clonbur came at us strongly but we had a tough game in the semi-final that went to extra time and I’d say that stood to us. When it came down to it, the girls stood up today.
“This is one of the sweetest victories you could ever wish for.”
Desmonds were certainly the superior unit in the first half and when Mangan slotted her first free after just 30 seconds, they had a lead they never yielded.
Áine O’Connor and Scanlon had added to that score by the time Mairéad Seoighe got Clonbur off the mark with a 12th minute free taken in lovely languid fashion off the turf.
Both sides spurned opportunities but Clonbur could afford them less given that they were generally on the back foot.
Melissa Holland made a smart save from Lorna Seoighe but the problem for the former Galway All-Ireland winner was that she had to go too deep to gain possession.
By contrast, with so much ball going the other way and the likes of 16-year-old Andrea Murphy excelling as a ball-winner in the Castleisland half-forward line, the under-pressure Clonbur defence conceded frees that Mangan punished.
The full-forward did have a low shot for goal deflected just wide but her fourth successful free and fifth point in total of the first half made it 0-7 to 0-1.
Clonbur did finish the half strongly with points from Mairéad and Lorna Seoighe before half time to give them some hope however.
They looked dead and buried though when Mangan’s kick from 30 yards hopped into the net with O’Connor distracting Clonbur goalie Rita Ní Chearnaigh in the 38th minute.
By this stage, Lorna Seoighe was moved to full-forward and she scored a point before setting up substitute Michaela Ní Chearnaigh for a 45th minute goal that really galvinised the westerners.
It was a fantastically-composed finish by the 15-year-old, who was closed down initially but turned back onto her left to stitch an unstoppable shot beyond Holland. When Sinéad Nic Aodhagáin added a point four minutes later, it was a three-point game — 1-8 to 1-5.
A number of injury stoppages appeared to stall the Clonbur momentum however, and a couple of Mangan frees calmed the Kerry champions before the late injury-time flurry embellished the final margin.
Meanwhile, Murroe Boher clinched the Tesco Homegrown All-Ireland junior club ladies final with a 3-11 to 1-1 win over St Ciaran’s.
SCORERS: Castleisland Desmonds: L Mangan 1-7(0-6fs); E Guiney 1-0; R Cronin, L Sanlon, A O’Connor, L Walmsley 0-1 eachClonbur: M Ní Chearnaigh 1-0; S Ni Aodhagáin, M Seoighe(fs), L Seoighe(1f) 0-2 each
CASTLEISLAND DESMONDS: M Holland, M Shine, A Lyons, J Lynch, T Mangan, C Lynch, E Mangan, A Leonard, E Lynch, R Cronin, L Scanlon, A Murphy, S Murphy, L Mangan, A O’Connor. Subs: L Walmsley for S Murphy (55), E Guiney for O’Connor (60)
CLONBUR: R Ní Chearnaigh, A Nic Aodhagáin, T Ní Mhoráin, A Ní Charragáin, E de Bhallis, Aoife Seoighe, P Nic Gearailt, J Ní Mhoráin, S Nic Aodhagáin, K Uí Chatháin, L Seoighe, M Seoighe, C Seoighe, Aoibhinn Seoighe, A Ní Dhochartaigh. Subs: M Ní Chearnaigh for C Seoighe (42)
REFEREE: J Flood (Wexford)