By Mike Fitzpatrick
Emerald Isle (Boston) 4-14, Breffni Blues (N.Y.) 2-1
Camogie is not such a regular occurrence at Gaelic Park these days, so it was an honor to witness this battle between the two best sides in the United States in the North American Camogie Final. New York opened the tie as the stronger side, taking advantage of the home advantage, and obviously the better support to go a goal ahead thanks to some fine work from Grace McMullen, who fired her side in front with a well-taken effort leaving Marie McGrail in the Boston goal with no chance. The next 15 minutes or so witnessed both sides attacking, though New York gaining slightly more of the play. New York captain Rosie O’Reilly slammed home a goal to the delight of the supporters in the stands, but unfortunately for the girls from the Big Apple, that was to be the last goal of the day for their side.
Paula Callaghan, the Boston full forward, really stole the show following O’Reilly’s effort, with every chance she had seeming to be converted into scores. Following a couple of points from her partner in attack, Fiona Corcoran, Callaghan slammed home a goal, and this was to be merely the first of her eight scores of the day. Boston became rampant in front of goal, with Val Fitzpatrick joining her teammates Corcoran, Callaghan and Annette O’Leary on the scoresheet before the break.
After the interval at halftime, New York appeared demoralized, Callaghan’s instincts up front for Boston proved to be the deciding factor for her side, leaving the experienced Ger Mahon with no chance of stopping her. New York’s O’Reilly and McMullen continued to scrap for every ball at the other end of the pitch but unfortunately their brave acts of defiance proved too little for their team. A long-distance opportunist volley from Gemma Keane proved to be the death knell for New York, with more points being scored late in the day from Callaghan and a goal from Liz O’Shea. New York will be disappointed with having lost out on the victory, having fought so hard, but Boston thoroughly deserved leaving the Big Apple with something for their efforts.
Boston: Marie McGrail, Annette O’Leary (0-1), Orla Slattery, Laura Connolly, Eleanor Brennan, Tina Roche, Gemma Keane (1-0), Helen O’Leary, Val Fitzpatrick (0-3), Fiona Corcoran (0-4), Paula Callaghan (2-6), Deirdre Coughlan. Subs: Liz O’Shea (1-0), Mary Ruane.
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New York: Ger Mahon, Silean Foley, Ita Farrelly, Marie Mahoney, Denise O’Boyle, Mary Brady, Rosie O’Reilly (1-1), Nicola Clegg, Susan Fitzpatrick, Grace McMullen (1-0), Verena Carey, Leona Fay. Subs: Fionnuala O’Connell, Pauline Boylan.