Connacht Ladies 4-8 Tir na nOg 1-6
Connacht ladies broke the game wide open with four goals early in the second half having come up against a solid defensive wall in the first. The first half was tight with each side playing some excellent running football, however, the westerners had banged in three goals within the first five minutes of the second half to turn the game on its head, and see them through to the win.
|Tir na nOg' defended well in the first half.|
Superb defending was the hallmark of Tir na nOg’s first half performance. The full back line of Jenna Davoran, Alison Taylor, and Rachel Stapleton was outstanding, and the steady hands of Niamh Hynes also kept Connacht Ladies from netting in spite of having worked the ball inside the 21 on several occasions. At the other end, Nicola Horan stole in behind her marker to slip the ball past Jackie McDonagh and into the net after about 10 minutes as Tir na nOg delivered the goods at each end of the field. The teams matched each other in the points column, Connacht eventually figured out the effort from range was more likely to produce results. Jane Ward, Catriona Foley and Tori McLaughlin on the mark for Connacht, while for Tir na nOg it was Louise Bergin, Fiona Morrissey, Sinead Bannon and Horan pointing. The goal was all that stood between the teams at the break.
|Emily Hannon tries to win possession for Connacht Ladies.|
Within 5 minutes of the restart Connacht Ladies had turned the game on its head with 3 quick goals. Aimee McGuckin stole in behind her defender and collected the ball over the top to fire home for the first, Jane Ward reached highest to punch the second one home, and Nicola Donnelly’s floated effort drifted into the far corner of the net – with an added air of good fortune. With points added from Foley and Donnelly, all of a sudden, Tir na nOg found themselves behind by eight points.
Shauna Jackson, who entered the game as a substitute, pointed from a free after 20 minutes, Tir na nOg’s first score of the second half. The Brighton based side had failed to take advantage of a decent handful of chances to score, both from play and from free kicks up to that point. The result was sealed with a fantastic Connacht goal after Tori McLaughlin and Ruth Cox combined to see Foley in with just the keeper to beat, and with just minutes to do there was 11 points in it. Tir na nOg spirits flagged, and the result was in the bag for Connacht Ladies. Connacht ladies on top of the table, while Tir na nOg will be figuring out how to maintain form for the full 60 minutes.
Tir na nOg: N. Hynes, J. Davoran, A. Taylor, R. Stapleton, F. Ni Bhriain, N. Daly, S. Trusiak, F. Morissey, J. Hyland, S. Bannon, C. Nee, L. Bergin, C. Ryan, R. Stapleton, N. Horan. Connacht Ladies: J. McDonagh, J. O’Grady, J. McDonald, K. Lynch, T. McLaughlin, H. Potts, A. Griffin, C. McMahon, C. Fitzpatrick, C. Foley, N. Donnelly, R. Cox, E. Hannon, A. McLaughlin, J. Ward.
By Rory O'Donnell