Leitrim Ladies Senior Championship Final
A great secondhalf comeback from Cloone to come within a single point of the champions was not enough to prevent Aughawillan from securing the ladies senior title yet again on Saturday evening. The game was a first for the ladies board in staging their first floodlit final in Cloone where Aughawillan had to work very hard in the second half to retain their title. However they had laid the ground work for their victory in the opening quarter Scóring 1-4 before Cloone began to settle into the game.
With a player of the match performance from midfielder Sinead Brennan, the Cloone defence and in particular Annette Donnelly, Grainne Tiernan and Teresa Mylott all performed well. Brennans partner at midfield, Eileen Donohue worked hard all through the game but their forwards failed to make an impact with only Aoife Kelly and Aisling Brennan causing problems. Aughawillan as expected had very solid performances throughout the team with Eilish Quinn, Mary Fee, Catherine Holohan particularly good in defence. Maeve Quinn and Sarah McLoughlin won their share of ball at midfield and were particularly impressive going forward while Claire Plunkett, Nora McGovern and Sinead Quinn were the pick of the forwards.
Fresh from their Connacht Club outing the previous weekend, Aughawillan settled into the game early on. With less than a minute played, Michelle Kelleher found herself at the end of a loose ball on the ground and hit the back of the net to give the title holders the perfect start with a goal. They dominated the first quarter as Cloone struggled to find any rhythm in their play. Maeve Quinn increased the Aughawillan lead with a fine point from play after five minutes before Niamh McGlade?s shot went narrowly wide across the face of the goals. A Sarah McLoughlin effort then went over the bar following good build up play with Sinead Quinn involved. Cloone slowly began to get to the pace of the game but a number of attacks were easily cut out by Aughawillan with Cloone passing in the final third of the pitch going astray and full back Eilish Quinn?s excellent covering play. After ten minutes Cloone had their first meaningful attack but a shot onÓgoal from Aoife Kelly was well blocked by Quinn for a forty five but the resulting kick was comfortably dealt with by the defence. Nora McGovern, a replacement for Karen McGovern who was unable to start due to injury, hit a fine point from play following a Maeve Quinn wide after twelve minutes. Two minutes later a promising Cloone move was thwarted with a great Mary McKeon interception to set up another Aughawillan attack but Maeve Quinn?s effort went wide. From the kickout Sarah McLoughlin won the ball but was fouled and Quinn pointed the resulting free to leave Aughawillan seven points in front and Cloone yet to score. Cloone responded with two more attacks but again the Aughawillan defence were alert to the danger. Annette Colreavy and Sinead Brennan ended two more attacks with great blocking down and Brennan?s block led to sister Lorraine opening the Scóring for Cloone after twenty two minutes with a point from play. Two minutes later however, Sarah McLoughlin scored the point of the game with a huge effort from forty meters. With Eileen Donohue and Sinead Brennan beginning to hold their own at midfield, Cloone began to push forward again. Donohue was fouled by Maeve Quinn and Sinead Brennan pointed the thirty meter free. Brennan was unlucky a minute later to see her long range effort go narrowly wide. Cloone then had an excellent goal chance with Aisling Brennan and Aoife Kelly involved but Kelly?s final effort went just wide of the far post. The final action of the half involved Senead Brennan again with a great pass to Donohue but her effort was just wide of the target.
While conditions deteriorated in the second half as the rain started, the play was improved from both teams. Aughawillan had the first three attacks of the half with a Claire Plunkett wide, a good catch under pressure from Aisling Mitchell and a Nora McGovern miss. But with four minutes played Eileen Donohue broke through the defence and placed a perfect shot to the corner of the net to bring Cloone back into the game. From the kickout Donohue won possession but her point effort went wide. At the other end both Maeve Quinn and Sarah McLoughlin het two more wides as Cloone confidence began to grow. They attacked Aughawillan at every opportunity and Una Creegan scored a point from play to leave just two points between the teams entering the final quarter. Cloone had another great goal chance two minutes later but the massed Aughawillan defence scrambled the ball to safety. Claire Plunkett punished Cloone for these wasted opportunities at the other end following good work from Sinead Quinn. With Brennan and Donohue now dominating the midfield, Sinead Brennan hit over a huge free with ten minutes remaining and a minute later pointed again to leave a single point between the teams. Aughawillan were now under severe pressure and responded very well with points from Plunkett and McLoughlin as they went three points up again. But the Cloone revival was not yet over as they fought back again and Brennan pointed an easy free when Aoife Kelly was fouled. With the fulltime whistle only minutes away, Sinead Brennan crowned her player of the match performance with another great point from play to leave the minimum between the teams for the second time. As the excitement of the final minutes reached its height, Cloone keeper Aisling Mitchell was blocked with a clearance and the loose ball eventually came to Niamh McGlade who hit the all important goal to ensure Aughawillan retained their title. There was little time for any more action except an insurance point for the winners from McGlade with a superb effort over her shoulder.
Cloone: Aisling Mitchell, Grainne Tiernan, Carla Creegan, Annette Donnelly, Teresa Mylott, Louise Heslin, Noreen Colreavy, Sinead Brennan, Eileen Donnohue, Andrea Brirne, Aisling Brennan, Carmel Monaghan, Lorraine Brennan, Tara McCabe, Aoife Kelly. Subs: Patricia Beirne for McCabe, Una McKeon, Una Creegan, Aisling McCabe, Brenda Reynolds, Olivia Reynolds, Niamh Brennan, Andrea Kelly, Katie Moran, Catherine Murphy, Sinead Creegan
Aughawillan: Claire Rehilll Grainne McGlade, Eilish Quinn, Catherine Holohan, Mary Fee, Mary McKeon, Deirdre Quinn, Maeve Quinn, Sarah McLoughlin, Nora McGovern, Sinead Quinn, Claire Plunkett, Catriona Quinn, Niamh McGlade, Michelle Kellegher. Subs: Helen Cafferty, Sinead Maxwell, Josephine Maguire, Aisling Prior, Lucy Cross, Aoife Fox, Yvonne Williams, Laura Creamer, Anita Deane, Carol Deane, Karen McGovern, Eimear McGlade.
Referee: Sean McCartin
24-Oct-06 by Patricia Bohan