2023 Fr Vincent Lawless Cup Final – Shamrocks v Athleague

It was an exciting weekend for two camogie clubs across Galway and Roscommon for the Fr Vincent Lawless cup final on Sunday November 19th. It was an historic weekend for Connacht Club Camogie as the first Connacht Camogie finals were held in the iconic Dome.

Fr. Vincent Lawless Cup 2023

Shamrocks v Athleague
19 Nov, 12:30pm
Venue: Connacht GAA Dome, Bekan
Ref: Noel Quinn

FT: Shamrocks 7-17 Athleague 1-11
Player of the Match: Niamh McInerney, Shamrocks

Shamrocks Intermediate Team – 2023 Connacht Intermediate Champions

Back Row (L-R): Shannon Ridge (Vice-Captain), Andrea Comar, Aisling Coen, Ava Lawless, Mary Larkin, Caoimhe Lynch, Amy Morgan, Caroline Lawless, Leanne Lawless, Jessica Waldron, Miranda Comar, Leah O’ Halloran, Katie Gilchrist.

Front Row (L-R): Emma Lyons, Shauna Murray, Niamh McInerney, Ciara McClearn, Avril Donoghue, Katie Donoghue, Ciara Donoghue, Ally Hesnan, Rachel McInerney, Sarah Devine, Lonnie Drennan, Leah Fallon, Emily Lawless.

Photo credit: Joe Keane

Match Report

By Sarah Gaughran (Connacht Camogie PRO)
3-4 in the final 13 minutes of the first half was key to Shamrocks victory in the Fr Lawless Cup Final against Athleague in the Connacht GAA Air Dome on Sunday. Shamrocks ability to score goals was pivotal too as they put seven past Athleague on Sunday.

It was an evenly matched contest in the opening 20 minutes. Katie Donohue through a free and Niamh McInerny opened the the scoring in the opening few minutes. It looked like Athleague sparked into action. Tara Naughton opened her sides accounts with a free. Then a long ball in from Kelly Hopkins wasn’t dealt with in the full back line for Shamrocks and Naughton made no mistake in taking the opportunity to blast the ball into the back of the Shamrocks net. Shamrocks didn’t drop the heads however as McInerny set up Emily Lawless to get their opening score of the game. The experience of some of the Athleague players began to shine Naughton through a free, Niamh Conway, and Fitzmaurice all pointed for Roscommon side, giving them a two point lead. Two McInerney points came brought the sides level. Hopkins through a free and Fitzmaurice from play brought the Roscommon side back into the lead again by the 18th minute of the half. From here on, the youthful Shamrocks began to get a good grip on the game in the middle third. McInerney, who had been so accurate throughout the contest added two more points to her tally. Goals from Katie Gilchrist (2) and Lawless were key to Shamrocks victory as they headed in 11 points ahead at half time in a scoreline of 4-8 to 1-6.

Athleague were going to need a massive second half performance but Shamrocks got off to a dream start as Gilchrist bagged her hat-trick in the opening minute. Naughton tried to keep Athleague in touch but Emily Lawless, Ava Lawless, Donohue and Gilchrist all added points to Shamrocks tally to extend their lead even further heading into the final quarter. Hopkins and O’Brien continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over for Athleague but Shamrocks dominance continued as they finished out the final ten minutes, outscoring their opponents 2-5 to a point. Gilchrist bagged her fourth goal of the day after she got onto a rebound after McInerney was denied by Paula Daly in the Athleague net. Shamrocks captain, Donohue added her sides seventh goal of the game in injury time as they ran out 7-17 to 1-11 winners on the day.

Shamrocks will be delighted that they have pushed on from their county victory against Mountbellew Moylough. Their goal scoring threat was evident in the game and their younger players like Emily Lawless, are really beginning to find their stride, something they are hoping will help them get over the line on the 2nd/3rd of December against the Munster champions. Athleague will have to regroup as they head into the AIB All Ireland Junior Championship Semi final on the same weekend.

SHAMROCKS: C. McClearn; A. Morgan, A. Donoghue, A. Coen; S. Murray, A. Hesnan, M. Larkin; S. Ridge (0-1), C. Lawless; N. McInerney (0-5), K. Gilchrist (4-2, 0-2 frees), L. Drennan; A. Lawless (0-2), K. Donoghue (1-5, 0-2 frees), E. Lawless (2-1).
Subs: S. Devine, for Coen (37 mins), L. O’Halloran (0-1), for Drennan (37 mins), C. Donoghue, for A. Lawless (53 mins), M. Comar, for Murray (55 mins), J. Waldron, for Gilchrist (57 mins).

ATHLEAGUE: P. Daly; J. Flynn, E. Daly Donnelly, C. Whyte Lennon; É Dowd, C. Carr, A. O’Brien; É Ní Chumhaill, K. Hopkins (0-2, 0-1 free); N. Conway (0-1), R. Fitzmaurice (0-2), C. Dowd; R. Brennan, T. Naughton (1-5, four frees), T. O’Brien (0-1).
Subs: H. Gavin, for Flynn (37 mins), A. McDermott, for Brennan (46 mins), E. O’Roarke, for Daly Donnelly (47 mins, inj), N. Farrell, for Conway (54 mins), J. McCormack, for Dowd (58 mins).


Match Preview

The last final to take place in the Connacht GAA Air Dome will be on Sunday the 19th of November at 12PM when Athleague of Roscommon will take on Shamrocks of Galway in the Fr Vincent Lawless cup final. Athleague are back in the final for the first time since 2021 after they overcame 2022 Roscommon Senior A Champions, St Dominics. The experienced side, who won this very competition in the delayed 2020 final, due to Covid-19, against Clarinbridge of Galway and the 2016 final against Craughwell from Galway, will be hoping to add another title to their role of honour this year. Just like Oran in the Roscommon Senior B Final, Athleague had to use their experience as they came from a goal down at half time in the Senior A final to overcome St Dominics on a scoreline of 1-9 to 1-6 on the 22nd of October. This victory set up a semi final pairing against a strong Tooreen outfit in the Fr Lawless Semi Final. Athleague pushed on even further from their final victory as they overcame Tooreen comfortably on a Scoreline of 3-7 to 0-5 to book their place in the 2023 Fr Vincent Lawless Final. Taking on Athleague will be Shamrocks. Shamrocks have fallen short at the semi final stages of the Galway Intermediate Championship in 2021 and 2022 to Salthill Knocknacarra, winners of the Fr Lawless cup in 2021. Like Liam Mellows, they were also determined to put the disappointment of the previous two years behind them. They were the standout side of the Galway Intermediate Championship but they needed to dig deep in the Galway final in order to overcome Mountbellew Moylough. The sides went in deadlocked at half time but an Emily Lawless goal was key to their success as they ran out 1-10 to 0-6 winners on the day. Shamrocks are a youthful side while Athleague have plenty of experience in this competition. Both sides can finish out games strongly so their will be very little between the sides on Sunday as they take to the field in the Connacht GAA Air Dome.