TG4 All-Ireland Ladies junior football championship final
By Jackie Cahill at Lannleire Pavilion, Dunleer
AISLING Maguire sent over a sensational 84th minute winner against London to send Fermanagh into the TG4 All-Ireland ladies junior football championship final on September 24.
Maguire struck with the final kick of the game to settle an enthralling semi-final at the Lannleire pavilion in Dunleer.
The game looked destined for a replay before Maguire took possession some 25 metres from goal, and curled over a right-footed winner.
That score settled a tie that had been level nine times, as Fermanagh came from four points down in extra-time to get over the line.
Fermanagh had an 11-point haul from corner forward Eimear Smyth – including a late equaliser before Maguire’s intervention.
Nuala McManus also chipped in with 1-4 while London were well served by former Mayo player Lisa Cafferkey, who collected nine points, including five from play.
London looked set for victory at the end of regulation time after netting three second half goals – before McManus levelled matters as her lobbed effort deceived the otherwise brilliant Marie King in the Exiles’ goal.
The McManus goal arrived in the 61st minute and had the scores level at 1-16 to 3-10.
Hannah Noonan, captain Helen Hughes and Ailish Healy raised green flags in the second half for London but it still wasn’t enough to get the job done in regulation time.
It looked like Healy’s goal, in the 58th minute, would be the decisive score, particularly with Fermanagh down to 14 players after skipper Áine McGovern was sin-binned.
But there was still time for that late intervention from McManus – and the game went to extra-time.
London had led by 0-9 to 0-7 at the break, with Lisa Cafferkey looking particularly good at full-forward.
She scored three points, including two from play, but also registered three of London’s six first half wides.
Former Dublin player Noonan was also influential for London, with two points from play, as Smyth kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Erne County.
Fermanagh also had the better goal chances in the first half, as King did well to keep out Sharon Murphy’s early effort, before denying Nuala McManus late in the first half.
Smyth popped over two early frees as Fermanagh, playing against a slight breeze, opened well but the first half was a tit-for-tat affair, with the sides level four times in greasy conditions.
London moved 0-7 to 0-5 clear with points from Cafferkey and Catriona McGahan (free) – and they would hold a similar lead twice more before half-time.
King kept McManus at bay with that crucial save as the clock ticked down, before Smyth lofted over her third free of the half to leave Fermanagh within touching distance at the interval.
King did well early in the second half to keep out Murphy again but she would concede that late effort to McManus – as Fermanagh levelled it up in sensational fashion.
But London steadied themselves to lead by three points after the first period of extra-time 3-15 to 1-18, having been four clear with some fine shooting.
In a see-saw battle, Fermanagh responded with two points from Aisling Woods to kickstart the second period – before the Brookeborough forward was sin-binned.
The odds looked firmly stacked against Fermanagh but they managed to score three late points to sneak it by one – with sub Bláithín Bogue, Smyth and Maguire on target.
London would finish with 14 players when Carol Hegarty was yellow-carded in the dying seconds.
Scorers for Fermanagh – E Smyth 0-11 (6f), N McManus 1-4, L Maguire 0-3, A Woods 0-2, A Maguire, Á McGovern, S Murphy (f) & B Bogue 0-1 each.
Scorers for London – L Cafferkey 0-9 (4f), H Noonan 1-2, H Hughes & A Healy 1-0 each, C McGahan 0-3 (2f), E McManus, A Herbert & N Daly 0-1 each.
Fermanagh – R Gleeson; E Campbell, C Murphy, Naomi McManus; M Connolly, S Hamilton, A Maguire; M McDonald, Á McGovern; R O’Reilly, A Woods, L Maguire; E Smyth, S Murphy, Nuala McManus.
Subs – D McManus for Campbell (48), B Bogue for O’Reilly (51), O’Reilly for McGovern (60), O Leonard for Nuala McManus (69), McGovern for McDonald (80).
London – M King; A Greene, F Morrissey, N O’Brien; H Hughes, E McManus, A Healy; A Burke, H Noonan; N Daly, R Mills, C McGahan; P Marmion, L Cafferkey, C Hegarty.
Subs – C Brennan for Burke (51), A Herbert for McManus (53), N Cocoman for Mills (77).
Ref – A Gallagher (Dublin).