Orla Kilkenny was the toast of UL on Sunday when they captured their second ever Ashbourne Cup by defeating UCD on a convincing scoreline of 6-05 to UCD'S 1-08 in O'Toole Park, Crumlin.
Host college UCD got the best possible start with a Sharron Daly goal after only two minutes, however their purple patch was short lived as a very determined UL team began to motor fast. Senior Galway player Orla Kilkenny struck the first of her three goals four minutes later.
This was a real Galway effort for Ul as the fine pass was given to Kilkenny by Aislinn Connolly, daughter of the former hurler John who was there in the stand watching on. The forty five training sessions UL had under manager Tom Hennessy, a former Limerick hurler began to tell as two minutes later UCD were again stung with a Jeanettte Feighery goal to leave it UL 2-02 to UCD's 1-01.
Kilkenny was again on the spot three minutes later to fire home the third goal of the first half. UCD's management team then put Tipperary player Deirdre Mc Donnell on the inform Kilkenny. Mc Donnell, niece of Cork's Billy Morgan stuck to her like glue but the damage was done and thus UCD trailed 1-04 to UL's 3-04 at the break.
Playing against the wind in the second half the Dublin college who had great support including Brian Mullens were quick on to the score board with a Ciara Lucey free-kick.
However, UL who were chasing their second Ashbourne since their first ever in 1995 and who had over come the holders UCC in Saturday's semi-final answered immediately with a Jenny O'Leary point and then a second goal from Offaly's Jeanette Feighery, with goal number five coming from Róisín Corcoran some ten minutes later. UCD who were equally as fit as UL could only look on this great UL side who had several intercounty players on board piled on the pressure.
The Dubs best response was a point from play from Niamh O'Connor while Lucey who was sharp with the frees added a further two. But deep down in the corner Orla Kilkenny was still lurking for her hat -trick. With one minute of normal time remaining she crowned the day for herself and UL when she fired home their sixth goal and her third of the day.
UL's captain, Siobhán Ryan, a cousin of the former Tipperary hurler John Doyle and herself a senior Tipperary player, delighted in lifting the Ashbourne cup high to the large crowd in the centenary year of Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael.
Filed by Rob Wright