Senior Ladies win Back to Back League Titles
An Charraig Mhór ladies retained their Division One League title with a hard fought win over Aodh Ruadh last Friday night at Pomeroy to bring their total of league titles to a remarkable 12 in the 20 year life of ladies football in the county. They were pushed all the way by a determined Aodh Ruadh outfit but in the end the vast experience and shear will to win within the Carrickmore panel allowed them to cross the line by the narrowest of margins.
Aodh Ruadh opened the scoring with a free from Aoife Mc Gahan after just a minute of play. Nicola Rafferty added to their tally with a well taken individual point after collecting and carrying the ball at the An Charraig Mhór defence. The Carmen girls responded quickly however with Gemma Begley starting to cause major problems for her opponents. She sent Claire Gallagher threw for a well taken goal as she drilled it low past Martina Dillon. The energetic Claire Gallagher won a free minute’s later to allow Gemma Begley to convert and she was on hand again to send Begley threw for a point from play as the clock hit the 7 minute mark. Eager to not let the deficit increase Aodh Ruadh pressed forward and was rewarded with another point from Aoife Mc Gahan. Carmen's response was immediate with the masterful Gemma Begley converting another free won by Kathy Mc Aleer. Dungannon failed to respond when a dogged Carmen defence simply refused to let them gain sight of the goals with a series of well time tackles and a fine display of tight marking. A free flowing move out of defence then saw Roisin Rafferty feed Begley who calmly found the net to increase her teams hold on the game midway through the second half. Yet again Aodh Ruadh sensing danger dug deep and refused to let the game slip from their grasp. A long range free converted by Emma Conlon proved inspirational as did an excellent score from some distance from Emma Mc Shane. Aodh Ruadhs period of domination increased and Carrickmore’s cause was dealt a major blow with the exit of the influential full-back, Cait Heagney, due to injury. Luckily they were able to call on the experienced Patricia Mc Gurk as her replacement. Elaine Coyle steadied the ship for the Carmen girls with a trademark left-footed free. As the half drew to a close Aodh Ruadh pressed forward to try to close the gap but a superb block from the tenacious Aideen Loughran denied them yet again. A second point for Emma Conlon brought the first halt to close with An Charraig Mhór leading on a scoreline of 2-4 to 0-6.
Aodh Ruadh began the second half with intent and pressed forward relentlessly. Only two great saves by the Carrickmore custodian Claire Donnelly denied them with Patricia McGurk on hand to collect and clear one dangerous rebound. It was end to end stuff at this stage with the services of the Aodh Ruadh goalie, Martina Dillon, also called into action when she made a great stop off a Gemma Begley shot. Aoife Mc Gahan broke the deadlock with a good point but the Carmen ladies answered with the reliable Elaine Coyle on hand to convert another free. However that was to mark the end of her teams scoring for quite a while with Aodh Ruadh digging deep in an attempt to wrestle the game from the Tyrone kingpins. A good move the length of the field saw substitute Niamh Mc Nulty find the net. They added a point of the boot of the impressive Aoife Mc Gahan and another from Nicola Rafferty from a good thirty yards out to draw the side’s level half way through the second half. With the tide turning in Aodh Ruadh’s favour, Carmen were dealt a severe blow with referee Gerard Trainor dismissing two of their players to the sin bin with a two minute spell. With them down to thirteen players and Aodh Ruadh now level on the scoreboard it looked like the Dungannon girls could drive their dominance home. A point from Emma Conlon seemed to be part of that script as they now pushed a point ahead. As the game entered the final chapter all in attendance could only envisage one outcome – an Aodh Ruadh win. Yet few would have allowed for the immeasurable spirit of the Carrickmore girls which was reflected in the return to the field of play Cait Heagney after going off badly injured in the first half. Yet again the resilient Eilish Gormley came to the rescue for An Charraig Mhór levelling matters with 26 minutes gone. The sure left foot of Elaine Coyle saw them push one up. However with players such as the ever youthful Carloine McGrath in their midst Aodh Ruadh were not prepared to leave it at they answered with Emma Conlon levelling matters after a Carmen attack was turned over in their defence. With things in the balance as the clock rolled round to 30 minutes few supporters were making their way out. It ended with heartbreak for Aodh Ruadh. Carmen seemed to be galvanised by the return to the field of Aoife Mc Guone and Kathy Mc Aleer their team mates having worked tirelessly despite Aodh Ruadhs numerical advantage. Now level on the scoreboard and in team numbers they pushed forward for a win. Gemma Begley calling on her vast reservoir of experience got on the ball. Driving towards the Aodh Ruadh goal she won a precious free. Elaine Coyle stepped up and calmly converted to get he win for Carrickmore.
On final analysis Carrickmore were able to seize victory in the final seconds due to the guile and experience of players who have been there so many times before coupled with a sprinkling of young players determined to emulate their more battle hardened team-mates. Refusal to panic and to play to the final whistle has served them so many times before and it did so again this time.
An Charraig Mhor Panel: Claire Donnelly, Aideen Loughran, Cathleen Heagney, Alanagh Treanor, Ursula McGee, Roisin Rafferty, Etaoine O'Kane, Maire Slane, Aoife McGuone, Sinead McAleer, Eilish Gormley, Kathy McAleer, Elaine Coyle, Gemma Begley, Claire Gallagher, Amy Cobane, Dearbhla Collins, Eleanor Fox, Nuala Fox, Emma Gormley, Nicole Hurson, Marie McAleer, Shauneen McAleer, Dearbhla McCallan, Niamh McElduff, Patricia McGurk, Connie McNally, Michaelene Mullan, Jessica Munroe. Manager Emmett O’Neill
Aodh Ruadh Panel: Martian Dillon, Ann Rea, Carol Mc Glinchey, Rebecca Barker, Caroline Mc Grath, Aileen Fox, Marian Vincent, Emma Conlon, Mary Cassidy, Emma Jane Gervin, Aoife Mc Gahan, Nicola Rafferty, Niamh Hughes, Emma Mc Shane, Louise Daly, Niamh Mc Nulty, Rachel Molloy, Cora Mc Nulty, Marian Barker, Pauline Barker, Lauren Burns , Louise Casey, Meabh Hughes, Anita Fox, Caira M Givern. Managers: Michael Rea and Eoin Rea.
Referee: Gerard Treanor
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