Galway Hold off Roscommon in Connacht Under 16 Final

The Roscommon U-16 ladies run in the A championship came to an end on Sunday evening last in Charlestown after an epic battle with Galway in the Connacht A final.  The girls put in a sterling performance all through the game the final score is rough justice on those bunch of very committed and eager girls. Both sides last met in the opening round of the championship in early May Galway ran out easy winners on that occasion, but credit to Jimmy Kerrane and his management team the came to Charlestown with a plan that they stuck to and almost reaped their just reward by capturing an A title at this grade for the first ever time but; alas, it was not to be.

Galway settled into the game quickly and run into a two point lead by the fourth minute with points from play from Riona Ní Fhlatharta and Leanne Coen in the first and fourth minutes respectively. But Roscommon soon found their rhythm and had it back on level terms by the tenth minute both points coming from Maveen Greenn frees after Caoimhe Lennon was fouled on both occasions. The first green flag of the evening came Roscommon’s way after a defence splitting move involving Niamh Feeney, Sinead Farrell saw Maveen Quinn through on goal her  initial effort hit the crossbar but she was quickest to respond to the rebound and the Eire Óg sharpshooter palmed the ball to the net in the tenth minute. While Roscommon were still celebrating Galway moved the ball quickly down the left flank and Amy Mee found herself in front of goal only for the heroics of Courtney M Gibbons that denied her a certain goal a save that drew gasps form the large crowd in the stand. Roscommon were in for a second goal in the twenty second minute only for Katie Daly to see her pile driver come crashing off the crossbar but Sinead Farrell was there to gather possession and delivered it back out field to Green who pointed from twenty meters, Quinn followed this up minutes later with a fine point from play which left five between the sides with twenty five minutes on the clock.

Roscommon were dealt a blow one minute later after a goal for Ní Fhlatharta was set up by Coen who was giving the Roscommon rear-guard lots to think about during the first half. Eimear O’Kane reduced the deficit to one in the twenty ninth minute with a sweet point despite the attention of three Roscommon backs. Two points from Niamh Feeney in the final two minutes of the half saw the Rossies head to the dressing room three points to the good. While Roscommon had the aid of a strong breeze in the first half the Roscommon supports wondered if it was enough considering the strength of the breeze.

From the throw in the ball was won by Katie Daly as she bore down on goal she was fouled and Quinn pointed the resulting free. Two minutes later Roscommon were in for another goal Shauna O’Connell solo run through the Galway defence but her goal bound effort was saved by the Galway net minder her quick delivery out to Chelsea Blade who inturn found Coen free inside and the tricky corner forward made no mistake as she squeezed the ball past Gibbons in the Roscommon goals from an acute angle. By the thirty sixth minutes the sides were on level terms after a point from play from Niamh Daly. Roscommon battled back and Shauna O’Connell had them back in front with a well taken point after being set up by Farrell.  Ní Fhlatharta levelled matters five minutes later with a fine individual score.

Possibly the turning point in the game came seconds later as influential fullback Niamh Farrell had to be linked off following an ankle injury.  Galway began to pile the pressure on the Roscommon goalmouth only to register three wide’s in a row this was due to the pressure their forwards were put under by the Roscommon backs. They finally found their way through only for Coen to see the ball take the paint from the butt of the post it was that close.

Galway hit the front for the second time of the game in the fifty third minute a point from play compliments of Niamh Ní Fhlatharta, Chelsea Blade added another one minute later from a twenty metre free, but Roscommon to their credit didn’t give up as Rachel Brady cut through the Galway rear-guard only to watch her goal bound effort go agonisingly wide of the left post. Coen put three between the sides in the sixty first minute two further points from Galway came in the dying minutes , Shauna Donnellan gave them the insurance score in the sixty fourth minute this was followed a minute later with a fine point from play by Caoimhe Keavney to leave it 2-10 to 1-08.

The Roscommon girls deserve great credit for their efforts and the defence are worthy of a mention for their heroic defending al afternoon.

Roscommon Team: Courtney M Gibbons, Leanne Ward, Niamh Farrell, Eiemear McNally, Elaine McDermott, Christina Beirne, Roisin Wynne, Shauna O’Connell,(0-1), Rachel Corcoran, Maveen Greene(1-05 three frees), Niamh Feeney (0-02), Caoimhe Lennon, Rachel Brady, Katie Daly, Sinead Farrell.

Subs: Rebecca Cox, Rachel McDermott,  Ellie May Coen, Emma O’Beirne, Rhiannon Cox, Aine O’Dowd, Niamh Flemming, Amy Quinn, Melissa Mattimore, Leah Malone, Rachel Maidment, Shannon Dowd, Amy Curley, Rachel Fitzmaurice, alanna Hanley.

Management: Jimmy Kerrane, Sean Creighton, Helen Feeney, Grace O’Brien.

Physio: Ann Farrell

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