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Ladies denied at the death by Fanad smash and grab

Ladies Intermediate Football Championship
16 August 2020
Aodh Ruadh 2-8
Gaeil Fhánada 2-9
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

Aodh Ruadh will wonder how they lost this game after controlling exchanges for long stretches. Gaeil Fhánada looked to be feeling the effects of their 7.30am start, but they stayed in the match and managed to snatch the winning score at the very death.

Ballyshannon played a lot of good football and got their rewards in an impressive first half. A goal from Terri Gallagher and points from Áine Gilmore (5) and Caoimhe Keon gave the homesters a 1-6 to 0-4 at the interval. Gaeil Fhánada edged the third quarter, but Aodh Ruadh still lead by four after the last water break. When Briana Maher found the net it looked like the hosts had done enough for the win, but they hadn't counted on a late late show from the Gaels. They came right back with an answering goal of their own and added a second two minutes from time courtesy of sub Emma Friel.

As both sides went in search of the winning score it was Gaeil Fhánada who broke the deadlock, Miriam Murphy converting a free to claim what had looked like an unlikely victory for much of this match.

The game started with Gaeil Fhánada hitting a series of wides before Hannah Shiels found the range for the opening score four minutes in. A minute later Shiels was on the mark again from out on the left.

Aodh Ruadh could have answered in spectacular fashion, but Áine Gilmore's rasping drive hit the crossbar. They did get off the mark a few seconds later when Caoimhe Keon popped over. Then with nine minutes played, Áine Gilmore squeezed a shot inside the right upright.

Gaeil Fhánada quickly took back the initiative though with Siobhan Sweeney firing over.

The Ballyshannon girls responded with the game's first goal. Áine Gilmore's shot at the posts didn't have the legs, but Terri Gallagher was first to react and rattled a low drive past the Gaeil Fhánada netminder.

Then just before the water break, Aodh Ruadh were a goal to the good, Gilmore clipping over from close range after some good approach play.

The game's first score from a dead ball arrived after the water break, with Áine Gilmore tapping over from close in. On 22 minutes Gilmore followed that up with a shot from play. Shortly after there was two goals between the sides when Terri Gallagher slipped over.

On 27 minutes Gaeil Fhánada finally got back on the score board with Margaret Friel splitting the posts. That's how it stood at half time with Aodh Ruadh leading by 1-6 to 0-4

It was first blood to the visitors after the break with Miriam Murphy sending over. Shortly after Gaeil Fhánada could have had the ball in the net, but Bridín Maguire reacted well to deny Eibhlinn Shiels' low shot.

On 38 minutes the gap between the sides was down to two points with Miriam Murphy converting two frees in succession for the Gaels.

Just before the second water break Aodh Ruadh registered their first scores of the new half with Áine Gilmore getting in on the end of a counterattack score and then being fouled for a free which she then converted to make it 1-8 to 0-7.

The scores continued to be slow to come, but when they came they saw two green flags raised. First Orla Keon found Briana Maher with a pass and Maher danced around the tackles before drilling past Rosleen McGinley. Then Gaeil Fhánada raced the ball up the pitch to Aisling McDevitt and she did well to place her shot in the bottom corner.

With five minutes remaining the margin was down to a goal when Hannah Shiels pointed. Not long after it all square when Aisling McDevitt and Claire Friel combined to create an opening for substitute Emma Friel and she had the easy job of tapping the leveller to the net from a metre out to make it 2-8 apiece.

The game was into next-score-wins territory now, and it was Miriam Murphy who stepped up to hit the winner, lobbing over a 20 metre free to snatch victory for the visitors with the very last kick of the game.

This was a tough defeat for Aodh Ruadh after dominating much of the game, but Gaeil Fhánada deserve credit for doggedly staying in the contest.

Sarah Gallagher, Dearbhaile McNeill and Anna Rafferty were strong in defence for Aodh Ruadh, with Grainne Maguire also showing up well on her introduction. Up front Áine Gilmore caused the Gaels endless problems with her clever running, Terri Gallagher and Kate Cunningham also making sterling attacking contributions.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Bridín Maguire; Dearbhaile McNeill, Sarah Gallagher, Meabh McCloskey; Hannah Doherty, Anna Rafferty, Sarah Patton; Cáit Gillespie, Caoimhe Keon (0-1); Dearbhla O'Moore, Áine Gilmore (0-6, 2f), Rebecca Gillespie; Kate Cunningham, Meabh Rooney, Terri Gallagher (1-1).
Subs: Grainne Maguire for Meabh McCloskey 41 minutes; Rionach Sheerin for Anna Rafferty (inj) 44 minutes; Briana Maher (1-0) for Kate Cunningham 49 minutes; Orla Keon for Dearhbhla O'Moore 51 minutes.
Gaeil Fhánada
Rosleen McGinley; Meabh Duffy, Niamh McDevitt, Tori Gallagher; Margaret Friel (0-1), Hannah Shiels (0-3), Siobhan Sweeney (0-1); Orla McGonigle, Eimear Sweeney; Michelle McDevitt, Mirriam Murphy (0-4, 3f), Aoife Gibbons; Aisling McDevitt (1-0), Claire Friel, Eibhlinn Shiels.
Subs: Emma Friel (1-0)
Referee: Pat Walsh (Bundoran).

Last modified: Sunday, 16 August 2020 at 2:22pm