Boston Shamrocks 1-11 Tir na nOg 2-9
The Boston Shamrocks and Tir na nOg played a very exciting semi-final, a game in which either side could have won, each side gave everything, and in the end it was the narrowest of margins that separated the teams. Tir na nOg had a seven point advantage after the first half, and the Shamrocks stormed back in the second only to fall short at the very end.
Two goals and a point separated the teams at the half time break, and each team suffered a loss in personnel to injury. Towards the end of the half the Shamrocks’ Rebecca Kelly had to leave the field and Shauna Jackson also suffered a game ending injury, both appeared to be knee related. Jackson had opened the scoring with a goal from a long range effort that floated into the far corner of the net, Tir na nOg off to a flying start. Caroline Nee netted the second after getting on the end of a ball put across the face of goal by Fiona Morrissey and the Shamrocks had a lot of ground to make up.
|The Shamrocks' Sara Delahunt faces Louise Bergin.|
Tir na nOg held the edge in play for most of the half, driving forward through Louise Bergin, Nee, and Morrrissey. At the other end of the field Niamh Daly did well at wing back, while the full back line held their opponents in check. Points came from Jackson, Chloe Ryan, Morrissey, and Rebecca Stapleton. The Shamrocks pointed through Rebeccca Mongan, and Lisa Flynn as they generated chances, but often overplayed the ball. At the half it was a 2-6 to 0-5 lead in favour of the Brighton side.
The second half saw the Shamrocks come back into it. This time it was Tir na nOg who were breaking down in the opposing half of the field as Sinead Woods and Sarah Delahunt carried the game from midfield for the Shamrocks. Four points in the trot from Brid Devlin, Delahunt, and Leanne McCrystal brought the Shamrocks within a goal of their opponents as the clock ticked away.
|Alison Taylor breaks away from Ciara McCormack.|
Each side defended with immense determination in the critical last 10 minutes with the game in the balance. Lisa Brick held the fort for Tir na nOg and Bernadette Murray did likewise for the Shamrocks; either side wanted to be the one that let up. It was up and down the field as each side went looking for that critical score, legs tired and passes went astray and the closer the final whistle came, the more it felt that either side could win it, Shamroks with a winning score or Tir na nOg with an insurance.
It was Tir na nOg that made the breakthrough after Daly returned to the action following a spell in the sin bin. A pointed Chloe Ryan free was followed by a hard earned Shelly Walsh point to put two scores between the teams. Ryan’s would prove to be a critical score as in injury time Delahunt hit a goal for the Shamrocks – it came a few minutes too late. With the kickout the final whistle sounded and it will be Tir na nOg versus Connacht Ladies in a repeat of last year’s final.
Shamrocks: L. Burke, B. Devlin, S. McLaughlin, C. McEleaney, C. McCormack, B. Murray, A. McDonnell, S. Woods, S. Delahunt, L. Flavin, R. Mongan, L. McCrystal, S. O’Dowd, L. Flynn, R. Kelly. Tir na nOg: N. Hynes, J. Davoran, R. Stapleton, L. Brick, N. Daly, A. Taylor, F. NiBhriain, F. Morissey, C. Nee, R. Stapleton, C. Ryan, S. Truarsk, S. Walsh, L. Bergin, S. Jackson.
By Rory O'Donnell