TG4 All-Ireland Ladies IFC semi-final
By Jackie Cahill at Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan
TYRONE manager Gerry Moane hailed a “massive effort” from his charges as they booked a TG4 All-Ireland ladies intermediate final clash with Tipperary on September 24.
The Red Hands were too good for Sligo at Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan on Saturday, as Niamh O’Neill led the way with a 1-4 haul.
But what was arguably more impressive was Tyrone’s defensive display, as goalkeeper Shannon Lynch sparkled with a number of fine saves, including a penalty stop from Denise McGrath in the second half.
Tyrone’s rearguard was superbly marshalled by captain Neamh Woods, who is a survivor from the 2010 senior final loss to Dublin, while corner back Caoileann Conway was also excellent.
Despite five points from the impressive Ciara Gorman, Sligo fell to a second successive semi-final defeat, and Moane reflected: “Semi-finals are a bad place to be when you lose – and you’d feel for Sligo because they lost last year after extra-time (against Kildare).
“But we came here to do a job, win the game and get to the All-Ireland final.
“We’ve done that and it was a massive effort against a very physical and very good Sligo team.”
Sligo will rue a tally of 14 wides, including nine in the first half, but Tyrone wasted a glut of goal chances before they finally broke through with the last play of the opening half.
Niamh Hughes made inroads with a devastating run from deep before transferring to experienced forward Gemma Begley, who picked out O’Neill for a palmed finish.
That score saw Tyrone lead by 1-7 to 0-7, having played against a significant breeze, and they kicked on from there.
Lynch did brilliantly to deny Sligo’s Sinéad McTiernan and Laura-Ann Laffey with a fantastic double save, before stopping McGrath’s 44th-minute penalty.
Tyrone also had a big second half performance from Gráinne Rafferty, who landed three classy points from play.
Sligo goalkeeper and captain Noelle Gormley was also excellent on the day – and her heroics between the sticks kept the score down.
Scorers for Tyrone – N O’Neill 1-4 (0-1f), G Begley (2f) & G Rafferty 0-3 each, N Woods, M Mallon, N Hughes, M Canavan (f), E Hegarty & L Quinn 0-1 each.
Scorers for Sligo – C Gorman 0-5 (1f), S O’Reilly 0-2, E O’Reilly, L.A. Laffey, L Casey & N Brennan 0-1 each.
Tyrone – S Lynch; E Brennan, J Barrett, C Conway; N Woods, E.L. Mulgrew, C Hunter; M Mallon, E.J. Gervin; N Hughes, M Canavan, E Smyth; N O’Neill, G Begley, G Rafferty.
Subs – L Quinn for Canavan (h.t.), E Hegarty for Smyth (44), S Quinn Cunningham for Barrett (54), N McGirr for Hughes (57), R McCrory for Rafferty (59).
Sligo – N Gormley; E Flanagan, E O’Loughlin, J Mulligan; L Boles, E Codd, R Goodwin; B Byrne, S Reynolds; Á Gormley, S O’Reilly, L.A. Laffey; C Gorman, E O’Reilly, D McGrath.
Subs – S McTiernan for E O’Reilly (h.t.), K Walsh for Laffey (42), N Brennan for McGrath (48), L Casey for Á Gormley (52), M McNamara for Flanagan (55).
Ref – B Rice (Down).