St Colmcille’s Kells’ Naoise Nic Oireachtaigh is challenged by Kilcloon’s Lauren Mooney and Sinead Melville during the Girls Div 1 final on Saturday. Photo: David Mullen/

Primary Schools Finals: Kilcloon NS rally late and complete remarkable rise

GIRLS DIV 1 Late goals and defensive fortitude the key to victory

With 10 minutes remaining Kilcloon NS's dreams of a remarkable Girls Div 1 title looked slim, but they never gave up hope and stunned St Colmcille's Kells with two goals in 30 seconds to win by 5-4 to 4-3 at Pairc Tailteann on Saturday.

Having won the Div 3 title in 2018 and the Div 2 crown in 2019, Kilcloon's dream's of a hat-trick looked dashed as the game wore on.

St Colmcille's looked destined for glory when they led by 4-3 to 2-3 early in the second-half and with a strong wind at their backs, but Kilcloon had other ideas.

Goals from Sarah Brady and Phobe Brocklebank saw them take an unlikely lead and then they defended heroically in the closing stages, but Brocklebank put the issue beyond doubt with a breakaway fifth goal 30 seconds into injury-time.

Scores weren't as free-flowing as in other games, but there was no shortage of thrills and spills in the opening half as the dominance edged one way and then the other.

It was St Colmcille's who started on top and they opened the scoring in the fourth minute with Héilí Ní Thuama gathering a quick free from Éabha Nic Cliú before firing over.

Another storming run from Ní Thuama yielded a second point for the Kells number eight, but Kilcloon continued to be a threat and they went close when Brocklebank was denied by a save and the post in one almighty goalmouth scramble.

Boosted by that let-off St Colmcille's pounced for the opening goal in the 12th minute when Ní Thuama's long ball bounced off the crossbar and into the waiting hands of Sophie Ní Ghriofa who applied the finish from close range to make it 1-2 to 0-0.

That goal sparked Kilcloon into life and they were quickly back in the game with Abby Lohan converting a free before she then added a point from play after great work by Millie Hoashi.

St Colmcille's continued to look dangerous and Naoise Nic Oireachtaigh, Clodagh De Bhuitléir and Sophie Ní Ghriofa were denied by great Kilcoon defending, but it was Kilcloon who struck next.

A long ball forward looked to be going wide until Sarah Brady got a vital touch to deflect to the net, but it was St Colmcille's who led at the break when Clodagh De Bhuitléir pointed to ensure a 1-3 to 1-2 interval lead.

Substitute Amelia Ruddy gave Kilcloon the perfect start to the second-half with a goal, but then St Colmcille's looked to have taken a huge step to victory when they hit three goals in 90 seconds.

Roibín Ní Chiadhra got the first with an easy finish and then Naoise Nic Oireachtaigh reacted quickest to find the net after Ní Thuama's effort had hit the post and then Ní Thuama bagged the third when her lobbed ball bounced into the top corner to make it 4-3 to 2-2.

When Aimee Ní Loinsigh tipped Lohan's shot over the bar it looked certain to be St Colmcille's day, but Kilcloon had other ideas with Lohan converting the free before the goal rush came to conclude another thriller.

Kilcloon NS - Ameilie O’Shea; Georgia Barker, Kate Teahan; Ruby Whelan, Lauren Mooney, Abby Aherne; Sinéad Melville, Millie Hoashi; Sarah Brady (2-0), Abby Lohan (0-4 two frees), Kate Kennelly; Phoebe Brocklebank (2-0), Annabel Kelleher. Subs - Jane Crehan, Elizabeth Moriarty, Hannah Joyce, Rosanna Parkes, Siúin O’Toole, Ruby Lynch, Eibhlinn Satelle, Amelia Ruddy (1-0), Aanya O’Reilly. Mentors - Shauna Ennis, Ken Keogan, Tomás Barker.

St Colmcille's NS Kells - Aimee Ní Loinsigh; Cáitín Ní Raghailligh, Cáit Mac Manúis; Cáilín Abiodun, Eilís Ní Cheallacháin, Cara Ní Mhuirí; Isabelle Abdelhamid, Héilí Ní Thuama (1-2); Roibín Ní Chiadhra (1-0), Éabha Nic Cliú, Naoise Nic Oireachtaigh (1-0); Clodagh De Bhuitléir (0-1), Sophie Ní Ghriofa (1-0). Subs - Saoirse Ní Míocháin, Róisín Ní Chléirigh, Éire Nic an Airchinnigh, Cuileann Fearaile-Nic Shiúrtáin, Gift Okoye, Scarlett Nic Eabhráin-Ullacháin, Lorna Ní Brádaigh, Niamh Ní Thiarnaigh, Cáitín Ní Bhroinn, Céila Uí Ghréacháin, Caroline O’Rorke. Mentors - Maeve Briody, Paula Newman, Alan Cox.

Referee - Cathal O Bric (Boyerstown NS)