LIsmore 1-09 Piltown 1-10
Piltown held off a late rally from champions Lismore to claim their first AIB All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship title in bitterly cold conditions at Croke Park on Sunday last March 1st.
Snow fell as the teams came out onto the pitch and did their warm-ups but had thankfully abated by the time referee Peter Dowd threw the sliotar in.
Lismore started well, with their half-back line particularly dominant but after Aoife Hannon landed an easy free Triona McGlone had been halted illegally, Piltown hit back with three points in two minutes.
Edel Long started the mini-flurry when her dropping shot was batted over Lismore goalkeeper, Tanya Morrissey. Alice Talbot landed a free from the next attack and Niamh Culleton slotted immediately after from the right flank.
Piltown were motoring and it got even better for them when Chloe Blackmore grabbed a 12th minute goal.
The move started when Sarah Fenton’s attempted clearance was blocked and after a wonderful bit of inter-play between Katie Power and Niamh Culleton, the sliotar ended with Blackmore, who drove low to the right corner of the Lismore net.
Lismore were not without chances but were ponderous in possession at times, getting blocked far too many times, while Piltown also filtered a lot of players behind the ball to deny them the space they normally thrive on.
The Waterford side were given a massive lifeline though when Aoife Hannon rocketed a 20m free to the Piltown net, despite the presence of 6 players between the posts, to leave them trailing by just 1-6 to 1-4 at half time.
Chloe Holden and Aoife Talbot quickly doubled the advantage after the restart and though Hannon hit a couple of excellent frees, Katie Power made it three before Piltown captain, Laura Norris landed a brilliant point to make it four once more with seven minutes remaining.
The Piltown defence had been completely dominant throughout, confining Lismore to two points from play. Irish soccer international, Karen Duggan and Kellyann Doyle were the standout performers.
Player of the match, Doyle was magnificent at left half-back, cutting out the supply repeatedly and then using the speed that has made her the U18 400m hurdles record-holder to turn defence into attack.
Lismore threw everything at them, with Grainne Kenneally an inspirational figure. Nicola Morrissey had a goal ruled out in the 57th minute as she was in the square when providing the finishing touch.
Hannon converted frees either side of a score from Kennelly to reduce the margin to the minimum but time ran out and it was Piltown’s day.
Piltown: A Talbot 0-4(3fs, 1 45); C Blackmore 1-0; L Norris 0-2; N Culleton, K Power (f), E Long, C Holden 0-1 each
Lismore: A Hannon 1-7(1-6fs); N Morrissey, G Kenneally 0-1 each
Piltown: A Norris, J Power, E Kenny, J Norris, D Phelan, K Duggan, K Doyle, L Norris, A Talbot, N Culleton, K Power, E Long, C Holden, C Blackmore, L Long. Sub: G Culleton for Talbot (47), L McCarthy for Holden (59), K Phelan for D Phelan (60+1)
Lismore: T Morrissey, N Molumphy, S Prendergast, M Russell, A Houlihan, S Kiernan, S Fenton, G Kenneally, S Curran, N Morrissey, A Hannon, S Williams, R Geoghegan, T McGlone, J Houlihan.
Subs: L Buckley for Williams (28), S Coughlan for Molumphy (ht), A O’Brien for Houlihan (46)
Referee: P Dowd (Meath)