Ulster Ladies PPS Senior ‘A’ Championship Final: Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblayney 0-10 Loreto College Cavan 1-5
Our Lady’s Castleblayney made history by winning their first Ulster Senior A schools’ title, triumphing over defending champions Loreto Cavan in an epic battle held in Donagh last Saturday February 3rd. This victory marked a significant breakthrough for Castleblayney, who had faced Loreto Cavan in five of the last six finals, with the latter emerging victorious on each occasion. With a commanding 0-8 to 0-1 halftime lead, Castleblayney capitalised on the wind advantage, led by the outstanding performance of midfielder Niamh Flanagan, the Ulster Schools Young Player of the Year, who contributed five crucial points in the first half. Joint captains Laura Grimes and Hazel Hughes, along with Caoimhe Kelly, also made notable scoring contributions.
Despite Loreto Cavan's efforts to stage a comeback in the second half, Castleblayney's formidable defensive structure and adept counter-attacking style continued to pose challenges. A Laura Grimes score for Our Lady’s extended the lead, and although Loreto rallied with four unanswered points, they fell short, trailing 0-10 to 0-5. Niamh Flanagan, awarded the player of the match, secured her sixth point, doubling the lead to 0-10 to 0-5. In the dying moments, a Sarah Clarke penalty brought Loreto Cavan within three points, but it proved a mere consolation goal. Our Lady’s Castleblayney emerged as deserved champions, marking an historic day where the final was played on a Saturday for the first time, further highlighted by a live stream of the momentous event.
Principal Mr. Kelly who coaches the team along with Mr. Nolan and Ms. Kerr expressed the significance of this victory, stating, "This victory goes beyond the scoreboard; it symbolises the resilience, dedication, and teamwork of our staff and students. The journey to this title has been long and challenging, but it reflects the spirit of our school. We are immensely proud of all our players and coaches for their efforts over this past number of years in helping us to achieve this historic milestone and we have no doubt that the strong tradition of Ladies GAA in our school will continue to go from strength to strength.’
Team: Annie Carroll, Lucy Carey, Tara Renaghan, Dervla Cawley, Emma Hughes, Laura Grimes 0.02, Abbie Leer, Hazel Hughes 0.01, Niamh Flanagan 0.06, Ferne Duffy, Caoimhe Kelly 0.01, Edel Murphy, Katie Mc Adam, Alison Gilliland, Ellie Flanagan. Subs used: Macy Treanor, Ellie Devlin, Aimee Donnelly & Alannah Mc Gahon
Photograph 1: Joint Captains Hazel Hughes and Laura Grimes receiving the Ulster A title from Ulster Ladies GAA President Gerry Doherty
Photograph 2: Player of the Match Niamh Flanagan receiving her award from Ulster Ladies GAA President Gerry Doherty
Photograph 3: Our Lady’s Secondary School Ulster Ladies A Champions 2024