Monday, August 18, 2008

Ladies Senior Football Semi-Final: Boston Shamrocks v Roscommon

Roscommon 3-11 Shamrocks 2-13

Roscommon barely made it in the end, and have their goalkeeper, Niamh Kavanagh, to thank for a superb penalty save in the dying seconds to deny the Shamrocks what would have been another famous comeback to add to their list of comebacks down the years. For most of the game it looked like Roscommon would win comfortably, but the Shamrocks staged a second half comeback with two goals in as many minutes and five points in a row to push Roscommon to the very end. The comeback fell one point short of forcing extra time and Roscommon, who won their first game of the season, make it to the final against Tir na nOg.

Roscommon clear as the Shamrocks stage a late rally.

Roscommon got off to a great start to the game. Two goals in the first quarter put Roscommon in the drivers seat. While the Shamrocks were trying to find their footing Roscommon put on a fine display of football. Fiona Claffey and Caroline Benson each goaled in the opening period, while Maggie Fox and Karen Maloney pointed. Chances for the Shamrocks were few and far between. Aisling Jennings’ free taking got the Shamrocks on the scoreboard. By half time Roscommon led by 10 points, 2-8 to 0-4 and raised some eyebrows with their performance.

Roscommon opened the second half in full flow, and played some excellent football. Some great passing moves resulted in fine scores, a point from Karen Maloney was followed by a superb goal. Maloney fired the ball into the roof of the net after she was found running through. The result seemed inevitable. The Shamrocks began fighting back with about 20 minutes left in the game. The back line lifted their game and fought with determination for every ball; some great championship football. A goal came from Sinead Walsh, who netted following a great double save from Roscommon keeper, Niamh Kavanagh. Almost immediately afterwards Jennings added a second goal and Roscommon’s led was cut to six points. The Shamrocks now had belief, and began sending ball after ball in the direction of Roscommon’s goal. Leah Purcell pointed and four frees in a row from Jennings cut Roscommon’s lead to a point with five minutes left.

Sharon McGovern tried to rally her side to hold off the Shamrocks and won some great ball in the Roscommon forward line. Roscommon had a chance to extend their lead back to four points with the clock winding down after Erin McGirr was tripped in the box. McGirr’s shot hit the post and the rebound was sent wide. The excitement was building as the game reached it’s climax. Maloney added a point to Roscommon’s tally, the lead was now two points and in the last second the Shamrocks won a penalty, and a chance to win the game. Kavanagh made a fantastic save, diving to her left to put a well placed shot by Tara Kealy out for a ’45. Sinead Walsh got the Shamrocks back within a point, but her score proved to be the last kick of the game.

The Shamrocks almost made it back, but not quite.

As in many times past the ladies provided a great game of football, and it is Roscommon who will face Brighton’s Tir na nOg in the final next Sunday.

Roscommon: N. Kavanagh, L. Burns, J. O’Connell, P. Bourke, K. McManus, J. Rogers, J. Mulligan, E. McGirr, I. McNulty, Karen Maloney (1-5), Caroline Benson (1-1), S. McGovern (0-1), Maggie Fox (0-2), Fiona Claffey (1-2), L. Harte. Shamrocks: M. Harrisson, S. Killeen, J. Rock, S. Boylan, M. Cullen, S. McHugh, J. Branighan, M. Moolick, C. McEleaney, A. Doherty, Leah Purcell (0-1), J. Donnelly, T. Kealey, Aisling Jennings (1-11), Sinead Walsh (1-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

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