THERE was a strong Carlow flavour to the successful DCU team as they came out on top in an all-Dublin final to get their hands on the Ashbourne Cup for the first time in the competition’s long history at the WIT Arena in Carriganore, beating UCD by 1-14 to 0-5.
DCU were managed by Seamus Kelly of Mount Leinster Rangers, while his clubmate Seamus O’Brien was a coach. Catherine Kavanagh (Mount Leinster Rangers) was the goalkeeper and had a fine game in keeping a cleansheet, and Kate Garry Murphy (Naomh Bríd) was also part of the squad.
Though UCD have a successful record in the top grade of third level camogie competition, they had not been triumphant since 2008 and the final pairing was a fresh one after the dominance of WIT and UL in the past decade.
They had no answer to the ebullience of Niamh Deely at centre-back for the winners however, and her fellow Kilkenny native Jane Cass was also heavily influential.
DCU pulled inexorably clear in the second half and impressive Waterford attacker Abby Flynn put the icing on the cake with a simple finish for a goal in the 56th minute, after being set up with a hand-pass from Westmeath full-forward Ciara O’Looney. Cass’s Dicksboro clubmate Caoimhe Dowling had done well initially to gather possession initially.
That made it 1-13 to 0-4, which indicates the level of control Kelly’s side had exerted even prior to Flynn’s close-range finish.
Flynn’s pace and accurate shooting were a feature of DCU’s performance, the Gailltír sharpshooter finishing with a goal and five points to her name but in truth, the Glasnevin outfit were on top all over, with Ciara Phelan, Sarah Harding Kenny and skipper Ciara O’Connor among plenty others that stood out.
Sorcha Ryan battled hard at full-back as UCD never gave up but they couldn’t threaten from the time Fitzgerald opened the scoring.
Fitzgerald was among a quartet of players who notched up a brace of scores, Ava Lynskey, recent All-Ireland club final player of the match with St Rynagh’s Kate Kenny and O’Connor, who split the posts with the last puck of the sliotar from a free wide on the right sideline, the others, while the industrious O’Looney also registered a deserved score.
UCD just couldn’t make any inroads and were second best in most sectors of the pitch, relying on placed balls from Amelia Shaw, Niamh Comerford and Moira Barrett to get the scoreboard moving.