4th Toronto Championship Title for Durham Robert Emmets

Durham Robert Emmets Ladies entered into the Toronto GAA Championship final giving their opponents, St. Mikes, the respect they deserved in expecting a very competitive and challenging match. Even though a few key senior players such as Erinn Lynch and Ashley Visser were missing from the squad there was a calm confidence in the side knowing they had the talent to compete and challenge for the title.

Manager Elaine Mealiffe’s message was clear, ignore the occasion, focus on your abilities, compete until the game is over, work for each other to the finish line. In true Durham spirit, the team, captained by Ally Fox delivered such a performance. Durham got off to a great start with the first move up the pitch resulting in a quick goal for Tracey Lyng. From then the battle was on. The flow of the game was not a constant back and forth from end to end but rather each team getting bogged down in their own halves for good periods of time.

Durham’s back line had their hands full in dealing with St. Mikes tactics but determined rookie Brianne Rafter did a fantastic job neutralising St. Mikes roaming full back. The back line was steadied by veteran Trish Shaw while rookie Sara Julian rose to the job at hand. Captain Ally Fox was the driving force from the centre full back line, flanked by solid performances from Amanda Irwin and Kristi Alcorn. The tenacious midfield of Caroline Murphy and Alannah Wakefield provided the perfect combination of determination, skill and passion and was the key in their ability to affect the impact of St. Mikes midfield.

The combination of Murphy, Fox and Lorraine White in the middle of the pitch proved to be a vital trio. It was from their work together that they gained composure and launched our attacks. Great movement and support from half forwards Erika Healy and Heather Woodard opened up the St. Mikes half back line and allowed the space we needed to march forward. Once the ball reached the determined corner forward Sarah Gowdy there was always going to be the threat of an affective play happening. Tracey Lyng at full forward never disappointed when in possession of the ball. Always putting the keeper and full backs under pressure and the leading scorer with 2-1 on the day. Corner forward Maria Flanagan was relentless with her tackling and support play as was Shannon Bentham who, upon entering the game made a significant catch which resulted in a score. Lorraine White as always, provided Durham with two points from play to help steady the nerves. Caroline Murphy scored a penalty after Lyng was fouled in the area, and a point from play in the first half. Ally Fox once again produced a score from one of her trademark attacking runs from the half back line. Heather Woodard rounds out the scorers of the day getting a goal on the St. Mikes goal line in the second half which proved to be a significant boost to the Durham Ladies. All in all, a true team performance and focus and determination thru to the final whistle is what produced the win for Durham 4-5 to 2-10.

Durham Robert Emmets 2011 Toronto Championship Team

1. Shantal (Chippy) Brown

2. Brianne Rafter

3. Trish Shaw

4. Sara Julien

5. Kristi Alcorn

6. Ally Fox

7. Amanda Irwin

8. Caroline Murphy (Wexford)

9. Alannah Wakefield

10. Erika Healy

11. Lorraine White (Louth)

12. Heather Woodard

13. Sarah Gowdy

14. Tracey Lyng (Cavan)

15. Maria Flannagan (Offaly)

16. Shannon Bentham

Manager: Elaine Mealiffe

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