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Captain Gribben leads the way as Clonduff seal first All-Ireland title in Croke Park

Down trio Paula Gribben, Fionnuala Carr and Sara-Louise Carr shone against Waterford’s Gailltír.

Paula Gribben starred at HQ.
Paula Gribben starred at HQ.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Clonduff (Down) 0-10

Gailltír (Waterford) 0-9

Emma Duffy reports from Croke Park

IT WAS AN intriguing battle that ebbed and flowed with both sides having their moments on the biggest stage, but Down’s Clonduff came out on top by a single point to lift a first-ever AIB All-Ireland intermediate club championship title in Croke Park.

Perhaps it was the county’s All-Ireland final heartbreak in September and the hurt that came from that which saw them edge Waterford kingpins Gailltír, but their experienced leaders stepped up when it mattered most — and that was key.

Captain Paula Gribben fired six points in a Player of the Match display, while the Carr sisters — Fionnuala and Sara-Louise — helped her in leading the charge, putting that hurt from the county scene to bed at the same venue with their beloved club.

While Gailltír’s never-say-die attitude was admirable on the day, it wasn’t to be for the Déise outfit led impeccably in testing conditions by Annie Fitzgerald.

It started off all Clonduff, with the Ulster side chalking five points on the scoreboard before Gailltír struck back and opened their account with 14 minutes on the clock.

Gribben was deadly accurate from the placed ball, striking three frees and a ’45 in the opening 10 minutes, with another point from Sara-Louise Carr sandwiched in between.

Clonduff came out hugely hungry and determined, putting the Gailltír defence under immense pressure before the Déise outfit finally broke their deadlock through two Annie Fitzgerald frees.

Annie Fitzgerald with Clare McGilligan and Jenna Boden Annie Fitzgerald was Gailltír's brightest spark. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Around the 20-minute mark, the Carr sisters combined for something special with Sara-Louise notching another from play before Fionnuala stepped up with a monstrous point from halfway to make it 0-7 to 0-2.

That, however would be Clonduff’s last score of the half and was perhaps the catalyst Gailltír needed to bite back, and well and truly find their rhythm.

Clodagh Carroll pointed from play before Fitzgerald added a ’45 and a free to make it 0-7 to 0-5 as half time approached. On top and thriving, they were awarded a penalty in additional time but Fitzgerald’s effort was kept off the line at the Hill 16 end.

Clonduff, once again, came out all guns blazing on the restart with Carr and Gribben (free) driving them four points ahead as they got their mojo back.

But once again, Gailltír were far from dead in a fiery second period with a fierce edge to it. They created three or four goal chances between 40 and 50 minutes, but their only converted shot was another Fitgerald free.

Several of referee John McDonald’s decisions were put under fire and questioned by the sizeable and spirited crowd in the Hogan Stand, as Gailltír simultaneously clawed their way back once again.

Shauna Fitzgerald and Clare McGilligan Gailltir's Shauna Fitzgerald and Clare McGilligan of Clonduff. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Fitzgerald smashed a free and another from play in the dying minutes of normal time, but Gribben split the posts from the dead ball at the other end for what looked to the the insurance point.

Aine Lyng responded into the Canal End with a stoppage-time free but Clonduff held on for a one-point win.

Scorers for Clonduff: Paula Gribben (0-6, 5f, 1 ’45), Sara-Louise Carr (0-3), Fionnuala Carr (0-1)

Scorers for Gailltír: Annie Fitzgerald (0-7, 6f, 1 ’45), Clodagh Carroll (0-1), Aine Lyng (0-1, 1f)


1. Karen Haughey

2. Nicola O’Hagan
3. Jenna Boden
21. Erin Rafferty

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5. Sarah Murphy
6. Fionnuala Carr
7. Clare McGilligan

8. Paula Gribben (captain)
9. Clara Cowan

10. Isabella O’Hare
11. Orla Gribben
12. Katie McGilligan

13. Beth Fitzpatrick
14. Sara-Louise Carr
15. Casssie Fitzpatrick


4. Elizabeth Wilson for Erin Rafferty (30)
17. Róisín Mulholland for Cassie Fitzpatrick (56)


1. Ciara Jackman

2. Emily Mahony
3. Margo Heffernan
4. Claire Dunne (captain)

5. Leah Sheridan
6. Emma Roche
7. Hannah Flynn

8. Shauna Fitzgerald
9. Áine Lyng

10. Clodagh Carroll
11. Katie Lynch
12. Annie Fitzgerald

26. Patricia Jackman
14. Anne Corcoran
15. Emer Walsh


18. Ciara O’Sullivan for Emer Walsh (HT)
17. Aoife Fitzgerald for Anne Corcoran (HT)
14. Anne Corcoran for Clodagh Carroll (58)

Referee: John McDonagh (Galway).

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to discuss the backlash to World Rugby’s league proposal, captaincy styles, sports psychology and more in The42 Rugby Weekly.

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About the author:

Emma Duffy

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