Boston Shamrocks 4-6 Connacht Ladies 5-15
The best of five Ladies senior football championship opened with a win for the Connacht Ladies. Following a closely contested opening 45 minutes, the eventual winners pulled away, banging in 3 goals in almost as many minutes as the Shamrocks ran out of gas in the latter stages. Connacht played with Aisling Kerr as a sweeper and got some great performances from Melissa McCann at corner forward, Aoife Heffernan in the middle of the field, and Sinead McGovern at wing back.
|Aoife Heffernan with S. J. McDonald in Pursuit.|
It was a closely contested opening 30 minutes with the Connacht Ladies fielding a much stronger team than in their Orla Benson Cup Final 2 weeks ago. Connacht Ladies got off the mark with points from Sinead McGovern, one of 3 McGovern’s who lined out for the westerners and twin sister of wing forward Dearbhla, and one from Corkonian Aoife Heffernan. It was Sara Jane McDonald who got the Shamrocks off the mark with a goal, a looping shot from about 25 yards that found the back corner of the net, and it was game on.
The teams traded points before McDonald struck again with a major, and the Shamrocks held the lead about half way through the opening stanza. Connacht Ladies held an advantage in play and it was largely a rearguard action for the Shamrocks for the final 10 minutes of the half. Although there were some chances that went awry, there were several points picked off to retake the lead before the break. Jane Ward popped over some free kicks, while Emma McGovern (no relation to the other two) and Heffernan also tallied scores to put the Connacht Ladies ahead by 2 at the half, 0-10 to 2-2.
|Ciara Mallon tangles with Melissa McCann|
The second half saw the teams go back and forth with each team putting some nice passing moves together. Connacht extended their lead to 6 points early on. After Ward and McCann each pointed to a single point from McDonald for the Shamrocks, a Sinead McGovern run down the middle ended with a goal as the half back from Cavan finished well. Shamrocks responded in kind, after a great running move the ball ended in the hands of corner forward Ciara Murphy, and her shot came off the crossbar to Katie Stapleton who put the ball over the line.
The final quarter saw Connacht Ladies take a grip of the game and a quick 3 goals ended the affair as a contest. The first came from McCann who fielded brilliantly under pressure on the edge of the square and buried her shot. Shauna Hynes soon followed with another, and after Emma McGovern netted the third it was more or less game over.
Connacht: Jackie McDonagh, Catherine Cullen, Shauneen McAleer, Stephanie Gunn, Catherine Boyle, Katie Reidy, Sinead McGovern, Shauna Hynes, Aoife Heffernan, Dearbhla McGovern, Emma McGovern, Colette Folan, Aisling Kerr, Jane Ward, Melissa McCann.
Shamrocks: Stacey Fuller, Katie O’Sullivan, Ciara Mallon, Oonagh Shields, Erin Coady, Cailin Slattery, Anna Bolger, Laura Kiernan, Katie O’Donnell, Doireann Peeto, Katie Stapleton Sara Jane McDOnald, Ciara Murphy, Shannon Kelly, Valerie Courtney.
By Rory O'Donnell