Glory for Longford as Slashers impress in Intermediate Final victory over Mullinahone All-Ireland Ladies Club Football Intermediate Championship Final

Longford Slashers 4-11

Mullinahone 2-8

By Daire Walsh

Grace Shannon struck a brace of goals to propel Longford Slashers towards an emphatic victory against Mullinahone in the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship decider at Croke Park on Saturday.

This was an historic triumph at GAA HQ as Slashers became the first team from the O’Farrell County to claim national success at adult club level in Ladies football.

Slashers had enjoyed a dream start as team captain Aisling Cosgrove poked the ball home for a fourth-minute goal following a precise pass from Kara Shannon.

While this was an early set-back for Mullinahone, the Munster champions did get up and running with two frees courtesy of Lorraine O’Shea. The tie remained delicately poised as a result of traded points between Slashers wing-back Clare Farrell and opposition attacker Aoibhe O’Shea (sister of Lorraine), before the Longford side created additional daylight through Jessica Barry and marauding defender Orla Nevin.

There was even more reason for Slashers to be cheerful on 23 minutes, when a speculative effort from Grace Shannon crept into the back of the Mullinahone net.

The impressive Nevin subsequently broke forward for a second point, and while Lorraine O’Shea knocked over another free at the far end of the Jones’ Road venue, Slashers ultimately led 2-4 to 0-4 at the interval.

This six-point gap remained intact after dead-ball specialists Lorraine O’Shea and Barry cancelled out each other on the resumption, but the Longford and Leinster supremos pulled further in front with a mini scoring blitz.

Preceding a point by wing-forward Kyana Lee, Grace Shannon got on the end of an intricate team move to clinically secure her second goal of the contest.

Although Aoibhe O’Shea interrupted this sequence with a fine point, unanswered scores from sisters Kate (two) and Grace Shannon left Mullinahone with too much of a mountain to climb.

Moving into the final-quarter, Aoibhe O’Shea and Kate Shannon swapped points in advance of Nevin rattling the net in ruthless fashion.

The tireless Lorraine O’Shea did offer Mullinahone considerable solace with superbly-taken goals in the 52nd and 56th minutes, but even though Chloe Gunn bagged a late point, last season’s All-Ireland Junior finalists couldn’t deny the magnificent Slashers.

Scorers – Longford Slashers: G Shannon 2-0, O Nevin 1-2, A Cosgrove 1-0, J Barry (2f), Kate Shannon 0-3 each, C Farrell, K Lee, Kara Shannon 0-1 each. Mullinahone: L O’Shea 2-4 (0-4f), A O’Shea 0-3, C Gunn 0-1.

Longford Slashers: E Casey; L Kenny, E Reilly, G Kenny; O Nevin, E O’Brien, C Farrell; A O’Brien, A Cosgrove; L Nolan, G Shannon, K Lee; Kate Shannon, J Barry, Kara Shannon.

Subs: J Glennon for Nolan (49), G O’Donnell for L Kenny (52).

Mullinahone: A Browning; E Horan, G Horan, A O’Brien; E Cody, M Walsh, J Brett; N Shelly, D Gaule; M Kenneally, L Dowling, K Egan; C Gunn, A O’Shea, L O’Shea.

Subs: L White for Egan (43), A Langton for Dowling (51), A Moloney for G Horan, C Egan for Kenneally, M Gillman for Gunn (all 59).

Ref – Gus Chapman (Sligo).

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