Orlagh Nolan scored 1-04 in a Player of the Match performance

Ballinteer St Johns squad celebrate after winning the Dublin LGFA Junior title, midfielder Orlagh Nolan won the player of the match award.
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By Nigel McCarthy

Orlagh Nolan put in a Player of the Match display to lead Ballinteer St Johns to the Dublin LGFA Junior A title on Friday night in St Margarets GAA club against St Judes.

The midfield star gave an all action display and must have covered every blade of grass at the north Dublin venue, Nolan’s ball winning ability, incisive runs, intelligent passing and scoring prowess which seen her finishing as top scorer on the night with a tally of 1-04 was a joy to behold.

Nolan though wasn’t the only Ballinteer player to shine in the final, the powerful running of Niamh Sweeney opened up the St Judes defence on a number of occasions, Grace Dent was a constant thorn in the side for the Judes defence with her movement and ability to evade her marker and take scores and half-back sisters Michelle and Niamh Carey were outstanding throughout, rock solid in their defensive duties and broke forward at every opportunity using their pace and guile to keep Ballinteer on the front foot.

For St Judes dual player Aoife Walsh despite being under constant pressure from a relentless Ballinteer side was excellent at full back putting in numerous blocks and interceptions throughout the game.

Cliona Nicoletti had the unenvious task of marking Orlagh Nolan and did a fine job against a player in inspired form with Nicoletti her constant shadow throughout. Hannah Hegarty another dual player and captain of the Dublin Senior Camogie team worked her socks off in the St Judes midfield engine room that was under immense pressure throughout and made some timely interceptions and used her cultured passing to try and stem the tide.

Up front Deirdre O’Shea and Niamh Kerr although feeding off scraps for most of the game were dangerous on the ball and took their chances when they came with O’Shea who hails from Laois finishing as St Judes top scorer on the night with 1-03 and Monaghan native Kerr chipping in with 0-02.

The game started with a flurry of action, St Judes won the throw-in and broke forward, the ball was fed into Emily Burke who’s effort just went wide. The Tymon North side were then grateful to keeper Aoife McAuliffe who pulled off two saves from goal bound shots from Grace Dent the second of which went out for a 45’ which was dispatched by Orlagh Nolan for the opening score of the final in the sixth minute.

A minute later and Ballinteer intercepted a ball in their own half, the ball was worked to Niamh Sweeney just inside the Judes half and the Dublin senior panel member went on a penetrating run and was then fouled, up stepped Nolan also a member of the Dublin senior panel to swing the ball over the bar.

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Judes finally got on the scoreboard in the ninth minute with a point from Deirdre O’ Shea after some good build up play. Grace Dent grabbed her first point of the evening after a good run down the right she cut inside to split the posts.

Ballinteer extended their lead to three moments later with Niamh Carey joining the attack from her half-back position and she was in the right place to finish off the move with a fine point.

At this stage it was one way traffic with Judes were struggling to get out of their own half and on sixteen minutes a quick exchange of passes between Orlagh Nolan and Grace Dent put Nolan in at the back post to finish to the net.

A point from Sadhbh Nic Uileagoid pushed Ballinteer further ahead and Judes desperately needed a response at the other end to stop their opponents from disappearing into the distance and Niamh Kerr obliged with a sublime point.

A point from Grace Dent was quickly cancelled out with an excellent point from Deirdre O’Shea after some determined work from Aisling Gannon to win possession.

But Ballinteer went straight back down the other end and Orlagh Nolan cut in along the end line and split the sticks from a tight angle.

With four minutes to the break Nolan won the resultant kick-out, drove forward and hit a pinpoint pass to Niamh Sweeney to the left of the goal and she drove a low hard shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net to leave the score 2-07 to 0-03.

Another point from Grace Dent in the 27th minute put eleven points between the teams and Judes faced an uphill battle to get back into the game.

Ballinteer though suffered a blow when Shauna Garvin was forced off with an injury and was replaced by Caoimhe Brennan.

An excellent move involving Ellie Young, Aoife Keyes, Lisa Morris and Niamh Kerr finished with an excellent point from Kerr for St Judes to reduce the deficit.

Ballinteer hit back with a point from Sweeney and just before the half time whistle Lisa Morris popped over a point for Judes to leave the score at the break 2-09 to 0-05 in Ballinteer’s favour.

Judes needed to start on the front foot in the second half but it was Ballinteer who drew first blood with a stunning point from Niamh Carey who ran through the centre of the Judes defence and hit a beauty between the posts.

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St Judes gathered a bit of momentum and hit two points in a row, the first a free from Ellie Young and the second another accurate effort from Deirdre O’Shea.

But again Judes were thankful to their keeper McAuliffe who pulled off an excellent save to deny Grace Dent a goal after good build up play involving Niamh Sweeney and Roisin Nic Uileagoid.

A converted free from Orlagh Nolan in the 42nd minute and a point two minutes later from Niamh Casy put eleven points between the sides with the score 2-12 to 0-07.

In fairness to St Judes they never dropped their heads and battled right to the end but they just couldn’t break down a resolute Ballinteer defence.

Grace Dent who impressed throughout the contest grabbed her fourth point of the final with nine minutes left on the clock and in the final minute of normal time Orlagh Nolan hit a free to unmarked substitute Belon Swords in between the Judes full-back and half-back line and Belon swung the ball over the bar.

There was still time for some late drama, Judes won a free deep in the Ballinteer half and up stepped Deirdre O’Shea to take it, she took a quick look at the goal and hit a looping shot into the top centre of the net despite a number of Ballinteer players on the goal line.

In the final attack of the game Ballinteer swept up field and Belon Swords put late substitute and team captain Caitriona O’Brien in on goal, but she was denied by another excellent save from St Judes keeper Aoife McAuliffe.

Seconds later the full-time whistle sounded and the celebrations began for Ballinteer St Johns who were deservedly crowned the 2020 Dublin LGFA Junior A club champions with the final score 2-14 to 1-07.

Orlagh Nolan presented with her Player of the Match award by Dublin LGFA chairman Joe Keane.
Image Credit: GAApics.com

Ballinteer St Johns Scorers: Orlagh Nolan 1-04 (1F, 1 45’), Niamh Sweeney 1-01, Grace Dent 0-04, Sadhbh Nic Uileagoid 0-01, Niamh Casey 0-01, Michelle Carey 0-01, Niamh Carey 0-01, Belen Swords 0-01.

St Judes Scorers: Deirdre O’Shea 1-03, Niamh Kerr 0-02, Ellie Young 0-01 (1F), Lisa Morris 0-01.

Ballinteer St Johns Substitutions:

20. Caoimhe Brennan for 14. Shauna Garvin (30th Min), 24. Belen Swords for 13. Roisin Nic Uileagoid (50th Min), 23. Caitriona O’Brien for 11. Niamh Sweeney (52nd Min).

St Judes Substitutions:

16. Aoife Rockett for 9. Aoife Keyes (42 Min), 17. Caoimhe O’Brien for 14. Niamh Kerr (54th Min).

Ballinteer St Johns

1. Roisin Kiernan, 2. Elaine Egan, 3. Eile Keenan, 4. Niamh Leahy, 5. Michelle Carey, 6. Niamh Carey, 7. Laoise Tully, 8. Orlagh Nolan, 9. Kate Barr, 10. Niamh Casey, 11. Niamh Sweeney, 12. Sadhbh Nic Uileagoid, 13. Roisin Nic Uileagoid, 14. Shauna Garvin, 15 Grace Dent.

Ballinteer St Johns Panel:

16: Emily Naughton, 18: Ruth Nolan, 19: Naoise Mooney, 20: Caoimhe Brennan, 21: Rachel Kavanagh, 22: Eavan Fitzgerald, 23: Caitriona O’Brien (C), 24: Belen Swords, 25: Grace McLoughlin, 26: Eleanor Aherne, 27: Deirbhle Nolan.

Ballinteer St Johns Management:

Eamonn Naughton (Manager), Alan Garvin (Mentor), Paul Leahy (Covid Officer), Clare Egan (FLO), Kelly Keane (Physio).

St Judes

25. Aoife McAuliffe, 2. Laura Doherty, 3. Aoife Walsh, 4. Emily Browne, 19. Clare Gannon, 6. Niamh Doherty, 7. Cliona Nicoletti, 8. Hannah Hegarty, 9. Aoife Keyes (C), 10. Ellie Young, 11. Deirdre O’Shea, 12. Aisling Gannon, 13. Lisa Morris, 14. Niamh Kerr, 15. Emily Burke.

St Judes Panel:

1: Sarah Thomas, 5: Roisin Connolly, 16: Aoife Rockett, 17: Caoimhe O’Brien, 18: Sophie Dunworth, 19: Clare Gannon, 20: Caitriona Devlin, 21: Jessie Collins, 22: Micah Collins, 23: Leisha Kennedy, 24: Lisa Fallon, 26: Ava Lewis, 27: Laura Martina, 28: Lauren Kearney, 29: Una Nerney, 30: Leah Butler.

St Judes Management:

Jeff Kane, Trevor Dunworth, Mick Nerney, Pauline Doherty, John Conlon, Clara McGann, Tom Murray.

Player of the Match: Orlagh Nolan.