Ballymacnab 1-7 Granemore 0-7
St Brenda’s Ballymacnab retained their Senior Championship crown with a three-point win over neighbours Granemore on Wednesday evening.
They had come through an equally tough encounter last season, but the Nabs never say die attitude stood to them once again.
Madden were their opponents twelve months ago and also the opposition in the quarter final, with Ballymacnab advancing.
Sean Hughes guided his girls past Tullysaran to make the final where Granemore stood in their way of achieving the dream double.
A win over Middletown in the last four sent the St Mary’s club through to the showpiece and an interesting battle was guaranteed.
Ellie McKee’s goal three minutes after the throw in was the telling difference between the sides, although Granemore did fight back well to get back on level terms.
Rachael Merry was the main score-getter in the Granemore attack and it was the full forward who grabbed all of her sides scores in the opening half.
Eimear Smyth found the target from a free and could have claimed the games second goal after being fouled and awarded a penalty.
The shot was brilliantly turned away by the Granemore goalkeeper Ciarrai Devlin, but Smyth did slot over the resulting 45.
Laura Smyth worked hard to set up Aoibhin O’Hare, who split two final scores from Merry at the other end of the field.
This left the Nab on top at the half time break, with two points the difference between the sides, the score line 1-3 to 0-4.
The second half was stop-start with both sides failing to capitalise on their chances. The first score didn’t come until the 16th minute, with Merry grabbing her 5th.
Corrina Doyle finally landed the Granemore equaliser as the game entered the final ten minutes of action.
It was nip and tuck towards the end, but Ballymacnab came good, outscoring the opposition 0-3 to 0-1 during the race to the finish line.
Big credit must go to Ballymacnab stalwart Michelle McArdle, who was outstanding all evening long and rightly picked up the Player of the Match award.
With Smyth off the field due to injury, McArdle came forward to confidently take over the free-taking duties.
Granemore worked hard and pushed the Nab all the way. Merry was a constant threat up front while Ciara Hill performed brilliantly in the middle.
The goal was the key score and, in the end, it was the three-pointer that ultimately decided the encounter and crowned Ballymacnab champions once again.