Leinster joy for Tinahely!
Stellar second half showing ensures double delight
TINAHELY produced a stellar second half performance to edge Westmeath opponents Ballycomoyle and advance to the quarter-finals of the Leinster ladies football Junior championship with a thrilling one-point victory in Tinahely on Saturday afternoon.
Things didn’t look promising for the Wicklow women when the visitor’s star player Ruth Daniels bagged the second of her two goals on the stroke of half time to put the Westmeath team ahead by six at the break.
But driven on by a huge performance from full-back Áine O’Keefe Tinahely clawed their way back into the game in the second half, conceding just one point in that period and bagging a crucial goal of their own through an Emily O’Reilly long range effort.
The game started ominously for the Wicklow women though as Daniels showed signs of what was to come in the first half.
She received a long ball on the 45 before sharply turning her marker and ghosted in towards goal, unleashing an unstoppable shot in off the underside of the crossbar to give Ballycomoyle the perfect start.
Tinahely looked threatening going forward themselves with Tríona Byrne and Eimear O’Brien piercing through the Westmeath cover with surging runs. O’Brien was on hand to settle Tinahely into the game as she pointed a free from the edge of the D.
Tinahely settled into the game and worked some good plays but at times were their own worst enemy as a couple of over hit passes saw moves break down in promising positions.
A first goal was agonisingly close when the Westmeath keeper fumbled Emma Katus’ shot before redeeming herself and saving the rebound. A pair of Emily O’Reilly points in as many minutes brought Tinahely within a couple but at the other end Daniels and Mary Quinn kept Ballycomoyle ticking over.
Tinahely made a few positional switches at the back which seemed to pay dividends with Shannagh Gogtelen now marshalling Daniels and Áine O’Keeffe lording play at full back, along with a couple of great turnovers by Sarah Tyrell, and they now looked like a solid unit.
But on the stroke of half time a momentary lapse allowed Daniels exchange a quick one two from a close in free before burying the leather in the top corner.
Tinahely had clawed their way into the game well but the goal brought the deficit to six points and it looked likely it might be a decisive blow just on half time.
But huge credit must go to the Tinahely ladies who, for the second week in a row, showed massive resolve and upped their intensity and performance hugely in the second half.
The two Eimear’s, O’Brien and McCrea, cut the deficit to four five minutes upon the restart and all over the pitch Tinahely began getting on top. Shannagh Goetelen and Kate Hatton combined well a couple of times to dispossess Ruth Daniels and this quietening of Ballycomoyle’s main threat really spurred Tinahely on.
From one such turnover the ball was worked to Katus who dashed through the centre and pointed from 25 yards to leave just three points between the sides once more.
The away side still looked dangerous at the other end as Sabrina Dermody missed a goal chance, although she was under severe pressure from Rebecca Kelly.
But in the 48th minute the Ballycomoyle net was rattled. Tinahely worked the ball well from the back and found Emily O’Reilly in space on the right side of the 21, 15 yards in from the touchline.
The full-forward arced a high ball into the square which deceived Alma Hayden and nestled in the top left corner to bring the sides level with just over 10 minutes to play.
Eimear O’Brien edged Tinahely in front with a free from distance and although Shannon Farrelly soon levelled matters once more Tinahely were not to be denied as Emma Katus sent over what was to be the winning point.
Tinahely played out most of the final ten minutes with 14 players as Niamh Dillon was sin binned but a combination of heroic defending and a couple of bone crunching tackles kept the Westmeath side at bay.
Áine O’Keefe once more made a vital interception as Daniel’s ran through with Alanna Davison and Dervla Byrne also making crucial tackles.
In the end Tinahely held on as their journey continues and they now look forward to a quarter-final meeting in a couple of weeks’ time.
Scorers - Tinahely: Emily O’Reilly 1-2, Eimear O’Brien 0-4 (0-3f), Emma Katus 0-2, Eimear McCrea 0-1.
Ballycomoyle: Ruth Daniels 2-3, Mary Quinn 0-1, Rebecca Ayres 0-1.
Tinahely: Aoife O’Neill, Rebecca Kelly, Áine O’Keefe, Sarah Tyrell, Shannagh Gogtelen, Kate Hatton, Síofra Byrne, Dervla Byrne, Tríona Byrne, Eimear O’Brien, Emma Katus, Abby Doyle, Maude Green, Emily O’Reilly, Eimear McCrea. Subs: Niamh Dillon for Maude Greene, Alanna Davison for Sarah Tyrell, Emma Doyle for Emily O’Reilly.
Ballycomoyle: Alma Hayden, Niamh Smyth, Aoife Flynn, Niamh McCarthy, Rebecca Craig, Aoife Gallagher, Ally Murphy, Shannon Farrelly, Laura Kilcoyne, Rebecca Ayres, Ruth Daniels, Sarah Fagan, Sabrina Dermody, Mary Quinn, Celeste Dermody. Subs: Shauna Coughlan for Celesie Dermody, Libby Hannon for Rebecca Craig, Shaunagh Maher for Sarah Dermody, Rebecca Craig for Shannon Farrelly.
Referee: Maurice Mulcachy (Dublin).