Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ladies Senior Football: Tir na nOg v Connacht Ladies

Tir na nOg 1-8 Connacht Ladies 3-7

Connacht Ladies drew first blood in the Ladies Senior Football championship with a victory over a battling Tir na nOg team.  Center forward, Aisling Reynolds was the center of their forward activities, while the back line held up when pressured by the Brighton side.  It was a victory soured by a serious injury to Maria Kelly who had to be brought to the hospital for treatment. 

Connacht Ladies came through in the second half
to claim both points.
Two first half goals put Connacht Ladies in the driver’s seat.  Aisling Reynolds was instrumental of much of the positive things happening for the westerners.  At wing forward Reynolds finished a lovely move to net and put the Westerners into a four point lead.  Tir na nOg had got off to the better start with points from Danielle Pugh, Emma Connolly, and Niamh Daly, Daly pointing from a very tight angle.  The Brighton team were moving the ball well and seemed to have found an early groove.

Connacht ladies came back into the game in a big way, however, Reynolds popped over three frees in a row as the Tir na nOg back line were forced into fouls.  Then came the goal, and was soon followed by a second from Maria Kelly.  The defending champions were looking good and the back line tightened things up, with Honor Ennis at corner back working hard.  Niamh Brick stemmed the Connacht tide just before the break with a well worked point, and at the break Connacht held a 2-5 to 0-4 lead.

Tir na nOg started the second period well, and early on we inside on three occasions as the spaces behind the opponents rearguard started to open up.  Caroline Nee first blazed a low shot past the far post, then Niamh Crowe was in and her shot was saved by Jackie McDonagh.  The rebound was put over the bar by Crowe, and finally Nee was put in and finished her shot into the back of the net.  After the flurry the Connacht Ladies lead had been reduced to two points.

Play was stopped for a lengthy period following an injury to Maria Kelly for whom an ambulance was required.   Following the stoppage Connacht ladies restored their advantage with a goal and a point from Reynolds.  There were good saves at either end from McDonagh and Niamh Hynes before Roisin Boyce made it a three score game with a point.  Tir na nOg had it all to do to pull it out of the bag.

Connacht Ladies, however, maintained the advantage and really should have added to the tally, however some wayward shooting meant that the door was left open.  Trudi McLaughlin reduced the deficit to the two goals with a few minutes left, and Tir na nOg tried to work the ball into the danger zone for a goal, however, with Jane Ward helping out in the back line Connacht Ladies held firm.

Tir na nOg:  N. Hynes, M. Sayers, R. Stapleton, C. Murphy, N. Daly, A. McKenna, M. Murphy, E. Connolly, D. Pugh, C. Dalton, C. Nee, T. McLaughlin, N. Brick, A. Leady, M. Mullan.  Connacht:  J. McDonagh, H. Kilgallon, H. Ennis, A. Kerr, S. Cleary, A. Sheridan, C. Boyle, R. Boyce, M. Other, A. Finnerty, A. Reynolds, R. McElligott, J. Ward, N. Crowe, C. Ryan.

By Rory O'Donnell

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