Two-in-a-row for Garrycastle
April 30, 2010
Garrycastle's back-to-back senior championship successes and Mullingar Shamrocks' first intermediate title were among the highlights of the ladies football club year.
In what was another busy year on the Westmeath ladies football club scene, Garrycastle retained their senior championship crown, Mullingar Shamrocks finally got their hands on the intermediate title, while Ballycomoyle stormed to their first junior championship triumph.
Garrycastle also acquitted themselves well in the Leinster club intermediate championship by reaching the provincial final, while Mullingar Shamrocks went to the Leinster junior semi-final where they were beaten by Wexford champions St. James'.
Overall, ladies football is making great strides in the Lake County with the recent formation of a new club in Streamstown bringing the total number of clubs to 19. As recently as the 1980s, Westmeath had just two ladies football clubs (Rochfortbridge and Coralstown), but things have clearly come a long way since then.
Garrycastle showed their mettle by recovering from a first round defeat by Killucan to wins back-to-back senior championships for the first time. Coralstown/Kinnegad, the club of former Ladies Gaelic Football Association president Geraldine Giles, also lost their opening game to 2008 runners-up Milltown, but like Garrycastle, they recovered impressively to reach the final in Rosemount at the end of August.
In their respective semi-finals, Garrycastle edged out Milltown by 1-14 to 2-9, while a last-gasp goal by veteran Caroline O'Hara gave Coralstown/Kinnegad a dramatic 2-12 to 2-11 victory over neighbours Killucan.
The final was a closely contested affair which only really came to life in the final 10 minutes. Garrycastle got off to a dream start when Lisa Fitzpatrick netted in the eighth minute after a sweeping move by the champions. Coralstown responded with a pointed Maud-Ann Foley free before Denise Murtagh restored Garrycastle's three-point lead.
The Athlone side extended their advantage with further scores from Fitzpatrick and Murtagh before Foley replied with her second free. But another Fitzpatrick point in stoppage-time gave Garrycastle a 1-4 to 0-2 lead at the interval.
Two Foley points after the restart narrowed the gap to three, but despite strong pressure from Coralstown, Garrycastle were next to score through Murtagh. After missing several opportunities, the challengers' persistence was finally rewarded when Nuala Farrell goaled three minutes from the end to set up a grandstand finish.
But, crucially, they were unable to get back onto level terms and Garrycastle confidently closed out the game with three points in quick succession from Sarah Dolan and Denise Murtagh (two) to seal a 1-8 to 1-4 victory.
Garrycastle subsequently embarked on an exciting run in the Leinster club intermediate championship which culminated in a 1-4 to 2-11 defeat to St. Brigid's in the final in Athy, Co. Kildare. The scoreline didn't do justice to losers' efforts as they were well in contention until midway through the second half when the Blanchardstown side grabbed their second goal to open up a seven-point lead. From then on, the Dublin side dominated as the youngster and less experienced Garrycastle girls faded out of the game.
Earlier, Sarah Dolan had given the Westmeath champions an excellent start when she sent a free directly to the net in the 11th minute, but St. Brigid's recovered to lead by 1-6 to 1-2 at the break and they never looked back after Noelle Healy scored their second goal in the 43rd minute.
The story of the intermediate championship was Mullingar Shamrocks' breakthrough success at the fourth time of asking. Played as the curtain-raiser to senior final, the Springfield outfit defeated a determined Kilbeggan Shamrocks in an exciting decider by 3-9 to 2-7 to finally secure their place in the senior ranks. Kilbeggan led by 0-2 to 0-1 early on, but Mullingar took control after Karen Hegarty set up Nadine Conway for the opening goal after 21 minutes.
Ahead by 1-5 to 0-4 at the interval, the Mullingar girls extended their lead on the restart when Conway grabbed her second goal following a fine move involving Lisa Burke and Emma Conway. Kilbeggan looked to be drifting out of the game until the 42nd minute when Edel McCormack goaled to bring them back into contention.
But Mullingar steadied the ship and when Carole Finch scored their third goal in the 54th minute, they were eight points to the good. Kilbeggan rallied in the closing stages and were rewarded with a goal from their top-scorer Fiona Claffey, but Mullingar still had five points to spare at the final whistle.
In the Leinster junior championship, Shamrocks accounted for Dromard of Longford by 3-11 to 0-3 before losing to St. James' of Wexford by 3-16 to 1-9 at the semi-final stage.
Mullingar will take the place of the once-mighty Rochfortbridge in this year's senior championship following the 'Bridge's relegation to the intermediate ranks. The multiple county and provincial champions made the drop after losing a relegation playoff to neighbours Tyrrellspass after a replay in Ballinagore.
In the junior championship, there was joy for Ballycomoyle who landed their first adult title following an emphatic 5-11 to 0-2 victory over Loughnavalley at St. Loman's Lakepoint Park. Former Coralstown player Celeste Dermody was the star of the show, scoring 3-6 in a player of the match display.
No one could have predicted such a one-sided final after Fiona Ruane gave Loughnavalley an early lead. But they only managed one further score as Ballycomoyle took over to lead by 1-6 to 0-2 at the break, with their goal coming from Ruth Daniels.
It continued to be one-way traffic in the second half with the experienced Dermody leading the young Loughnavalley defence a merry dance. Daniels also found the net for a second time to secure the easiest of wins for the north county outfit.
Garrycastle underlined their dominance of the senior scene when they added the senior cup to their championship crown with a 1-16 to 2-7 win over Tyrrellspass at Moate. However, they were pushed all the way by a spirited Tyrrellspass team who were denied an equalising goal when Nicky Feery's shot was blocked by corner back Amy Duncan with four minutes remaining. Following that let-off, Garrycastle went back on the attack and cemented their win thanks to a point from wing back Vicki McEnery.
It was also a good year at underage level for the Athlone club who won both the minor and under 16 'A' titles. In the minor final, they defeated Tyrrellspass, while Milltown were their victims in the under 16 decider. Former senior kingpins St. Loman's took the minor 'B' crown following a 2-5 to 2-4 victory over Milltown and Clann Gaels were 6-8 to 3-12 winners of Ballycomoyle in the minor 'C' final.
There was also disappointment for Ballycomoyle in the under 16 'B' final as they succumbed to Mullingar Shamrocks. Coralstown/Kinnegad defeated their neighbours The Downs to land the 'C' title, while Loughnavalley gained some consolation for their junior final collapse when goals from Shauna Murtagh, Tammy Commons, Jill Draper and Leanne Campbell helped them to a 4-4 to 4-1 victory over St. Paul's in the 'D' final.
Moate All-Whites were the 'top dogs' at under 14 and under 12 level. They claimed the under 14 'A' championship at The Downs' expense, and also beat Athlone in the Feile na nOg final. They were victorious over Rochfortbridge in the under 12 'A' decider.
Ballycomoyle captured the under 14 'B' title following a 5-9 to 2-2 victory over Clann Gaels, with full forward Aoife Gallagher accounting for 2-5 of their tally. Coralstown/Kinnegad beat St. Loman's in the under 14 'C' final, while Ballinagore claimed their first ever title in ladies football when they got the better of Killucan in the 'D' final.
In the under 12 'B' final, Tyrrellspass were winners over St. Loman's, Coralstown/Kinnegad beat Garrycastle in the 'C' final, while Killucan accounted for Shandonagh in the 'D' decider.
The Garrycastle team which retained the senior championship was: Claire Gaffey; Aimee Duncan, Lorraine Duncan, Karen Farrell; Eimear Murphy, Orla Connaughton, Laura Brennan; Aoife McCormack, Anne Duignan; Lisa Fitzpatrick, Denise Murtagh, Ciara McCormack; Aine McCormack (captain), Sinead Walker, Aoife Dolan. Subs used: Sarah Dolan, Jennifer Byrne and Meadbh Flynn.
Mullingar Shamrocks' intermediate championship winning line-up was: Gemma Leahy; Lorna Morris, Louise Begley, Emily Turkington; Jean Kenny, Niamh Spellman, Linda Gilmartin; Aoife O'Brien, Elaine Faughan; Emma Morris, Lisa Burke (captain), Aine Melody; Karen Hegarty, Carole Finch, Nadine Conway.
The Ballycomoyle team which won their first junior championship was: Sinead Gallagher; Clodagh O'Neill, Elizabeth Hannon, Mary Quinn; Cariosa O'Neill, Karen Coyle, Jane Coyle; Hazel Whyte, Jane Walsh; Ruth Daniels, Orla Doolin, Ashling Farrelly; Celeste Dermody, Alma Hayden, Sabrina Dermody. Subs used: Keri Flynn, Claire Cheevers, Therese O'Keeffe, Carmel Coyle and Olivia Kenny.
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