Tullysaran claim first Senior Championship Title

September 21st, 2013 | club camogie

Tullysaran claim first Senior Championship Title

Tullysaran’s long wait for a first senior county title is over after a superb performance clinched a deserved victory over Ballymacnab in front of a huge crowd in Derrynoose.
The charismatic Colette McSorley led the way with an emphatic hat-trick and a dazzling display by gifted genius Siobhan Mackle lit up St Mochua’s Park on an uplifting night for club camogie, which appears in great health in spite of the county team’s disappointing summer.
In spite of taliswoman McSorley’s three goals, the Player of the Match award went to the best known of four Mackle sisters in the side for her exciting contribution and their aunt Dervla Mallon lifted the trophy as club captain.
The quintet can now look forward to provincial club championship campaigns in two sports – they recently won ladies foobtall’s Intermediate Championship with Grange, also via a replay – after this historic success as the dream came true in stunning style. A scappy victory would have sufficed in the circumstances, but this was so much more.
Before Friday night’s triumph, Tullysaran had never won the Armagh Championship and their huge hunger was undoubtedly a factor against the fabled Ballymacnab, a club with 15 such successes already under their belt.
Denied by a goal in injury-time of the original game in Madden at the start of the month, Tullysaran were determined to get over the line eventually this year after losing out to Keady in an enthralling trilogy last season.
On that occasion, they were beaten in a second replay but achieved a convincing victory this time in front of a fantastic four-figure crowd who were treated to plenty of exciting attacking camogie and many memorable moments.
As on the first day, Ballymacnab built an early lead and were three points to one up when Tullysaran showed the sort of heroic character which would ultimately win them that elusive first county title.
A save by goal-keeper Patricia McKinney was followed by a prolonged passage of fearless defending before the ferocious siege was lifted by skipper Mallon, the former Armagh gaelic great, who courageously claimed possession.
And a few minutes later it was the captain who began the move which sent Tullysaran spirits soaring, her run out of defence finding McSorley who took a magnificent clean catch before breaking superbly down the right and rifling over an imperious point.
The Nab replied by doubling their lead and edged ahead again after a couple of scores had drawn Tullysaran level, but the imposing McSorley – who had begun the evening taking up position at right half forward – soon struck with her first goal.
That put Tullysaran in front for the first time and it was a lead they never lost as Orchard ace McSorley followed up with a well-struck 45, a free and then her second goal entering injury-time, although it was immediately cancelled out by Michelle McGuigan hitting the net at the other end.
So there were four points in it at the interval, Tullysaran ahead by 2-6 to 1-5 and they threatened first after the resumption, but McSorley missed with a long-range free after a panic-inducing Siobhan Mackle was pulled down before she could get away.
Ballymacnab reduced the arrears to a single point but, rather than doubt over-taking Tullysaran, they simply stepped it up, Mackle showing searing pace to race clear for an inspiring point and McSorley clinically completing her hat-trick with a well-taken third goal.
The opposition scored the next point but McSorley cancelled it out with a free and then the two Mullens, Emma and Joanne, each raised the white flag in the space of a minute midway through the half.
An absolutely brilliant run by Siobhan Mackle, rounded off with a sizzling shot past the keeper extended Tullysaran’s advantage to double figures but even with such a healthy lead there weren’t going to be any chickens counted this time by Kevin Hughes’ side.
Nab made inroads into the deficit with a third goal and although McSorley landed a free to take her personal tally to 3-7, she missed the next one in between two more opposition points and also had a shot saved by keeper Catherine Toner.
However her team were in a near impregnable position with time ticking away and Tullysaran saw out the final few minutes before the eagerly-awaited whistle sparked delirious scenes of celebration.
Having done so much to put Tullysaran on the camogie map by winning high honours as an individual, former National Young Player of the Year McSorley – who has captained the Ulster team and Ireland in the Compromise Rules series – finally has silverware in club colours and it did feel like everything she’d dreamt it would be.
Although still a handful, livewire Joanne Mullen was a little less influential than in the original game but Tullysaran hardly lack attacking flair and this time it was the flashing feet of Siobhan Mackle which caused havoc for the Nab back division.
Mackle has already displayed her thrilling talents on the gaelic football field for Armagh, primarily as an impact player, and is rapidly emerging as one of the most exciting young sportswomen around.
As Mallon made clear in her victory speech, Ballymacnab have set the benchmark in Orchard camogie but a club’s first success is especially sweet and certainly no neutral could have begruded Tullysaran their happy ending after five attempts to win a county final in little over a year. It is unlikely to be their last triumph.
BALLYMACNAB: C Toner; C McGuigan, L Toner, M McCone; A Crilly, L Loughran, D McKee; H McGeown, C McKee; M McGuigan, A Lavery, L Smyth; M McParland, A O’Hare, E McParland. Subs – S Smith, J Lavery, H Gray, C McParland, E O’Hare, S Mallon, A Lennon, A McGivern, A Loughran, S McKee, O O’Hare, P Cosgrove, G Gray, C McKee.
TULLYSARAN: P McKinney; H Donnelly, D Mallon, A Donnelly; C Finnegan, E Hayes, C Mackle; G Curry, E Mullen; S Mackle, J Mullen, L Mackle; A Mackle, C McSorley, C McGahon. Subs – S Mallon, C Moen, C Devlin, S McGahan, A Kernan, C McLaughlin, K McGahan, N Kelly, K Mullen.

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