It was by far the toughest test the Milford side have had in their two year success story as their captain Elaine O’Riordan said immediately after the game.
“Oh jeez yeah that was our toughest game both mentally and physically over the last couple of years,” she said.
“But we knew it was going to be tough like, they are Ulster champions and have won two All-Irelands as well. It was tough conditions out there; they are a good strong team, very fast, hungry like ourselves.
“They were blocking and hooking and worked hard right to the end.
“The goal helped early on, it was by no means a classic, scrappy enough I suppose but we’ll take it, all those lucky breaks count on the day.
“Early in the second half when they came back to three we said, look, we won’t panic and were able to respond with another point each time, that was really big for us.”
It was indeed and that really did make the difference. Eoghan Rua needed a break from somewhere in that second half but despite a couple of efforts from Grace McMullan and Katie Mullan they just could not find a way to break down a stubborn defence well marshalled by Maria Walsh and centre back Anna Geary, particularly in the second half.
The strong physical presence and no little skill of midfielder Ashling Thompson dominated around this sector for Milford while up front corner forwards Marie O’Neill and Maria Thompson along with Deirdre O’Reilly, they contributed 1-7 from play between them, were always a handful.
There was no lack of effort from the Eoghan Rua side with captain and centre back Meabh McGoldrick and midfielder Maureen Heneghan in the thick of the battle throughout.
Still Eoghan Rua manager Joe Passmore summed up after the game. “Full credit to Milford, they are a very good team, but look I’m proud of how the players went about it out there, I couldn’t have asked for more from them,” he said.
“They have worked so hard. I’m delighted to see such a good crowd down to support the girls. Yeah of course we are all very disappointed, we were coming down here to win the game and we thought we could.
“Probably right now the girls won’t see this but I think they showed they can compete at this level and we weren’t that far away.
“It’s the first time we have played at this level, that team Milford have been around now for a couple of years and have been beating everyone by big scores, I heard some of them saying coming off the pitch that this was the toughest game they have had in all that time, not much consolation for us but we know we are not that far away, we’ll take a bit of a break now, this group absolutely deserves that,’ Joe added.