Aghada up ante in sec­ond half

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport - Aghada Cor­duff

A BLIS­TER­ING sec­ond-half per­for­mance from Aghada gave them a his­toric All-Ire­land ti­tle on Satur­day, as they proved far too strong for Cor­duff in Crett­yard.

Trail­ing by a point at half-time, the Cork cham­pi­ons were un­playable af­ter the changeover as their in­ten­sity lev­els over­whelmed their op­po­nents.

With Han­nah Looney charg­ing for­ward from mid­field time af­ter time, and Player of the Game Roisin Phe­lan bat­ten­ing down the hatches at cen­tre­back, there was no route to vic­tory for Cor­duff. It caps a truly in­cred­i­ble year for Aghada, who have now won ev­ery­thing they pos­si­bly could have in 2017. The rest of the clubs in Cork should be­ware too, be­cause with 13 of their start­ing 15 aged 20 or younger, this Aghada team are well po­si­tioned to progress even fur­ther.

Cor­duff had looked sprightly and dan­ger­ous on the at­tack in the early stages, but their im­pres­sive start would not yield any scores, as they kicked three wides in the open­ing five min­utes.

Nei­ther side were helped by a very heavy pitch, which made hop­ping the a fu­tile ex­er­cise, and the open­ing min­utes were blighted by lost pos­ses­sion.

Aghada fi­nally started to come into the game as we ap­proached the 10-minute mark. Lau­ren McAl­lis­ter and Aileen McGrath both came close to be­ing played through on goal, only for Cor­duff keeper Sinead Lough­lin to spring from her line to clear the ball sec­onds be­fore ei­ther of them could gain pos­ses­sion.

How­ever, Aghada’s grow­ing con­fi­dence was soon re­warded with the open­ing score of the game. Emma Farmer’s free from 40 yards picked out Looney in front of goal, and she made space for her­self be­fore split­ting the posts for a fine score.

Scores were in­cred­i­bly hard to come by in the first half, as the oc­ca­sion and con­di­tions clearly af­fected both teams. The Cork cham­pi­ons would not score again be­fore the break, as Cor­duff even­tu­ally found their own route to goal.

Their first score will have up­set Aghada, as they had a nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage at the time fol­low­ing a sin-bin­ning for Elena McE­naney. Nonethe­less, Cor­duff cap­tain Laura McE­naney burst onto a ball 30 yards out, dropped her right shoul­der to cre­ate some space and fired over a won­der­ful score.

That left the teams tied at 0-1 apiece with the half al­most over, but Cor­duff would edge ahead be­fore the in­ter­val. Aghada’s Katie O’Farrell was rather harshly pe­nalised for charg­ing as she tried to bring the ball out of the full­back line and Cor­duff were awarded a free. Eva Woods took it, and from 20 yards out, she made no mis­take to see the Ul­ster cham­pi­ons lead 0-2 to 0-1 at half-time.

The game was there for one of the teams to take con­trol in the sec­ond half, and it was Aghada who showed the nec­es­sary de­sire. From the throwin, Looney won pos­ses­sion and took off like a thor­ough­bred through the heart of the Cor­duff de­fence. She set up Farmer for a shot at goal, which was saved, but play was called back for a free. Farmer tapped over the placed ball, and Aghada were up and run­ning.

Farmer pushed them ahead with another point mo­ments later, which was even­tu­ally can­celled out by a McEn­ball aney free for Cor­duff. How­ever, that was the last score the Ul­ster cham­pi­ons reg­is­tered, as Aghada kicked for home. The im­pres­sive Farmer rat­tled off three points with­out re­ply to see her team lead by dou­ble scores, 0-6 to 03, and then came the clincher.

Looney’s quick free from the left wing found Chris­tine Mo­ran on the right side of the penalty area, and her pre­cise shot found the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

It was all a for­mal­ity now, but Aghada fin­ished with a flour­ish, as a pa­tient team move in the fi­nal minute al­lowed Clare Walsh to rat­tle in a sec­ond goal, as Aghada claimed a de­served vic­tory.

Aghada play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter their All-Ire­land Ladies Foot­ball Ju­nior Club Cham­pi­onship fi­nal win over and Cor­duff at Crett­yard in County Laois.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.