Queen’s Purcell Shield Champions 2018

Purcell Shield Final : Queen’s 0-18 NUI Maynooth 0-17

Séamas McAleenan

A super first half from Queen’s saw them lift the Purcell Shield title on Wednesday evening just about holding off the challenge of NUI Maynooth in Inniskeen. Although both teams set up with a sweeper, the Belfast college played a running game that opened up the Maynooth defence particularly during the opening half by the end of which the northerners led by 0-11 to 0-5. Catherine O’Hare and Alannah Savage were excellent in the full back line while the link play of Dervla O’Kane, Meabhdh Laverty and Mairead McNicholl created plenty of opening and earned frees that the experienced Catherine McGourty tapped over.

Maynooth kept in touch through Kildare’s free-taker Melissa Lyons and Wexford senior player Linda Bolger, while Dublin’s Eve Talbot saw a lot of action in their half-back line. Catherine McGourty and Dervla O’Kane scored the first two points of the second half to make the gap eight points and this eventually forced Maynooth to move one of their sweepers out and the game opened up considerably. Maynooth’s main scorer Melissa Lyons though had to go off with an injury having stacked up nine points and Bolger took over from placed balls. Queen’s never really looked like losing although they could have killed off the game when Mairead McNicholl got in behind the defence but the Swatragh girl’s shot was brilliantly saved. Nevertheless Queen’s were able to run down the clock for victory – although it was disappointing that neither the Shield nor medals were available for presentation

Queen’s : Seophra O’Connell, Catherine O’Hare, Alannah Savage, Aine Mullholland, Roisin Cassidy, Rebecca Bradley, Orlagh O’Kane, Meabhdh Laverty 0-2, Eimear Hayes 0-1, Aimee McAleenan 0-1, Dervla O’Kane 0-2, Mairead McNicholl 0-2, Catherine McGourty 0-10, 0-6, Sarah Armstrong  Subs : Maeve Lofthouse for Sarah Armstrong (53), Aine McGill for Orlagh O’Kane

NUI Maynooth scorers : Melissa Lyons 0-10, 0-9 frees, Linda Bolger 0-5, 0-3 frees, Eve Talbot 0-2.