2nd half goals win it for Leitrim


2nd half goals win it for Leitrim


By Daragh Ó Conchúir Leitrim 3-7 Clare 2-9

Three second half goals helped Leitrim secure the narrowest victories
over Clare in yesterday’s breathtaking TG4 All-Ireland IFC semi-final
at Kingspan Breffni Park. Clare wasted a late opportunity to equalise,
when taking a quick free from in front of the posts that captain
Majella Griffin would surely have fancied converting. It was typical
of the drama provided by a game that burst into life in the latter
period with a total of five goals. Michelle Reynolds began the
spree with a powerful, low shot to the corner of the net in the
34th minute to give her side the lead but when Griffin fired a
bullet beyond Louise Loughlin at the other end 10 minutes later,
it was advantage Clare, 1-7 to 1-6. Leitrim’s riposte was instant
and match-winning. First Reynolds notched up her second goal in
stunning fashion, winning the ball close to the sideline before
rounding her marker and firing an unstoppable shot to the net
although Denise Walsh did get her fingertips to it.

Within seconds Eileen Donoghue pounced on a friendly rebound and
suddenly Leitrim were five points clear. Clare were not done though
and when Marie Kelly held her nerve well to slide home despite
being surrounded by Leitrim defenders, the game was back in the
melting pot, only for the Munster side to spurn that late chance.
They had led by a point at the interval despite playing second
fiddle for much of the opening period. Griffin got them off the
mark with a third minute point but Leitrim held the upper hand
around the middle third, although it took them almost nine minutes
to record their first score by virtue of an Ann Marie Cox free.

Cox saw her well struck penalty kick fly just outside the post
soon afterwards but undeterred converted another free from the
next attack and when the rampaging Donoghue ended a strong run
with a point last year’s junior finalists were two points clear.
Griffin halved the deficit with a good score and Marie Kelly toe-poked
a golden opportunity wide when put in the clear by a glorious
Áine Kelly pass but Leitrim responded well with Cox once again
hitting the target from a free. Clare finished strongly however
with three points from the influential Griffin (free), Niamh Keane
and Áine Kelly to go in at the break 0-5 to 0-4 ahead. It was
to prove an insufficient advantage in the end.

Leitrim: L Loughlin; C Holohan, S Brennan, M McKeon; C Tyrell,
L Brennan, T Mylott; M Quinn, A Brennan; C Plunkett, A Conlon,
E McGlade; AM Cox 0-6 (4fs), E Donoghue 1-1, M Reynolds 2-0. Sub:
S Quinn for McGlade (ht); C Plunkett for Conlon (42); McGlade
for Plunkett (51).

Clare: D Walsh; L Kelly, C Considine, C Cleary; S Kelly, J Kennedy,
G Lynch; L Henchy, U Downes; N Keane 0-1, M Griffin 1-4 (0-1f),
M Kelly 1-1; A Kelly 0-2, F Lafferty 0-1, H Quinn. Sub: M Delaney
for Kennedy (38); B Kelly for Quinn (51).

Referee: E Jones (Tyrone).


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