All-Ireland C Football final
Donegal 1-14 Waterford 1-9
By Aisling Clery
A LATE goal from Abbie McGranaghan sealed a Zucar All Ireland U18 C title for Donegal at the expense of a spirited Waterford side at Kinnegad GAA in Co. Westmeath.
Donegal held a three point advantage at half-time and dominated possession in the second-half. However, a Kaci Brazil penalty brought the Deise back to within three of their opponents. Donegal held firm and McGranaghan’s goal late on was enough to secure victory.
In a bright and breezy Coralstown, Kinnegad, Waterford were the first to strike through Leah Browne who found herself all alone on the left wing and she finished defiantly. While early efforts fell into Waterford keeper Katelyn Gardner’s hands, Donegal did equalise through a Tara Geoghegan free on seven minutes.
The sides exchanged scores with Ava Walsh and Hannah McGrath both blasting over, the latter could have been a goal but McGrath chose the safer option. Katie Dowds instantly replied for Donegal, although Waterford added two points in quick succession from Aoibhe Shankey and Ava Connolly to restore their lead.
Donegal upped the gears and their pressure on the Waterford rearguard began to show. Eva Gallagher levelled matters for Donegal before a Rhianna McCready free ensured the Ulster side took the lead. With Niamh Harkin and her defence keeping Waterford at bay, Donegal added two further scores through Eva Gallagher and Aisling O’Neill to ensure Donegal lead by 0-7 to 0-4 at the break.
Donegal dominated possession in the third quarter and player of the match Ava Walsh was the first to add to the scoreboard in the second half. Donegal were unlucky not to be further ahead when Ulitah Boyle’s shot was punched over the bar by Waterford netminder Katelyn Gardner. Geoghegan and Walsh continued to heap pressure on the Deise defence and increased Donegal’s lead.
However, the Deise were resilient and Aoibhe Shankey led by example with a brilliant point midway through the half. This, along with a brace of scores from Leah Browne, reduced their deficit to six points. However when Kaci Brazil dispatched a penalty and Eimear O’Neill added a point, the gap was down to just two.
Donegal regrouped and on their next attack McGranaghan finished with aplomb to the net, securing the ZuCar All Ireland U-18 C title heads north for 2023.
Donegal: T. Geoghegan 0-4 (1f), A McGranahan 1-0, A Walsh 0-3, K Dowds 0-2, E Gallagher 0-2, U Boyle 0-1, A O’Neill 0-1, R McCready 0-1 (1f).
Waterford: K Brazil 1-0 (pen), L Browne 0-3 (1f), A Shankey 0-3, H McGrath 0-1, E O’Neill 0-1, A Connolly 0-1.
DONEGAL: A Randles; E Ward, A Temple Asokuh, R McCready; T.R. Mahon, S McGinley, N Harkin (C); U Boyle, R McColgan; E Gallagher, A Walsh, C Doherty; T Geoghegan, A O’Neill, K Dowds
Subs: E Neeson for Ward (23), A McGranaghan for McCready (37), A Porter for Harkin (44), M Bennett for Gallagher (48), N Boyle for Geoghegan (59).
WATERFORD: K Gardner; C Power, R Mackle, E Bolger; O Power, C Whelan Barrett, N Whelan; A Waring, L Ni Arta; K Brazil, H McGrath, L Browne; A Connolly, A Shankey (C), M Comerford
Subs: E Fitzgerald for Comerford (36), E O’Neill for Power (48).
Referee: David Hurson (Dublin).