Boston Shamrocks 5-5 Connacht Ladies 1-11
Boston Shamrocks secured the Ladies senior football championship with a four goal second half salvo. Connacht Ladies held a 2 point half time lead, but before the second half was 10 minutes old were looking at an eight point deficit. Kelly Boyce Jordan at wing back, and Mairead O’Driscoll, and Sara Jane McDonald in the forward line, were full of running and the Shamrocks eventually broke down the Connacht defences to deliver the first title in 4 years.
|Boston Shamrocks had an unbeaten season and captured all 3 trophies in 2016.|
It was a hotly contested first half with Connacht Ladies not letting the Shamrocks settle into any kind of rhythm, and really held the advantage on the balance of play. The westerners defended in numbers and when in possession attacked with speed. Aisling Reynolds at full forward looked dangerous in the early going and opened the scoring for her side. Shortly afterwards she set up a score for Roisin Curran. The Shamrocks eventually started to put pressure on the Connacht Ladies goal, and Maria Bannon netted after being found by Mariead O’Driscoll with a ball across the face of goal.
|Two happy Shamrocks veterans.|
The defending champions responded well however, Ruth Cox got the score right back following a sweeping downfield move. The Shamrocks pointed three times on the trot through Rebecca Mongan, Sara Jane McDonald and Aoife Darcey, but their opponents continued to keep up the pace. Rose Boyle and Reynolds were very involved in the forward line, however shooting let the Connacht Ladies down on a handful of occasions. Connacht held a two point lead at the break after Reynolds and Ruth Cox pointed and must have felt confident heading into the second period.
The second half saw the Shamrocks vaunted attacking line come into its own and take advantage of the sin binning of Roisin Boyce, banging in three goals in quick succession. Aisleen Cunningham had moved to the middle of the field and after netting a goal, was involved in another tremendous goal that was finished by O’Driscoll. With Sara Jane McDonald and O’Driscoll running well in the forwards, and Kelly Boyce-Jordan covering ground from wing back, Leanne McCrystal finished off another move for the Shamrocks with a 3 pointer to put them into an 11 point lead.
After Boyce reentered play, Connacht had a player advantage as Cunningham was sin binned for a high tackle. There were 10 minutes to try and claw back the large gap. Connacht Ladies pulled two points back through Reynolds and Jane Ward, and had a goal chance after Ailbhe Finnerty was pulled down in the box. Reynolds tried to place the ball but it curled the wrong side of the crossbar. The Shamrocks defence was alert to Connacht’s efforts as the westerners pushed for a goal, and saw out the game to reclaim their first title since 2012.
Shamrocks: L. Crowley, C. McEleaney, L. Larkin, C. McCormack, K. Boyce-Jordan, M. Collins, M. Hagan, L. Kiernan, L. McCrystal, S. McDonald, A. Cunningham, R. Mongan. Subs: S. McDonnell, B. Maguire.
Connacht: J. McDonagh, C. Boyle, A. Egan, H. Ennis, E. Hannon, M. Peel, S. Cleary, J. Ward, R. Boyce, R. Curren, R. Boyle, A. Leahy, M. Mullen, A. Reynolds, R. Cox. Subs: A. Kerr, M. Kelly, A Finnerty.
By Rory O'Donnell