Goals crucial as Old Leighlin Crowned Junior Club Champions

Leinster Junior Club Final Replay

Old Leighlin (Carlow) 2-08
Castleknock (Dublin) 1-10

From Aisling Clery, Leinster LGFA PRO

Two goals in six minutes paved the way for an Old Leighlin victory in last Saturday’s Leinster Junior Final replay, played in front of a large crowd in Athy. After the sides finished level on the previous weekend, supporters answered their respective clubs call for support and turned out in big numbers. However 1-08 for Player of the Match, Hannah Hanlon, wasn’t enough to bring the David McCabe Cup to the Capital and it will instead reside in Carlow this winter.

The opening half was a low scoring one with both sides squandering chances and defence on edge after last weekend’s thrilling encounter. After her outstanding performance last week, Rachel Sawyer was first to score, splitting the posts in the opening minute. The sides were evenly split, with defences standing strong. Castleknock were to finish the half the stronger though, Hanlon hitting her third and fourth scores respectively as the Dublin Champions crept into a three point lead. However it was Old Leighlin that had the last score of the half, Aoife Roche’s effort skimming over the crossbar, leaving a two point gap at the break; 0-06 to 0-04.

The teams traded scores early on in the second half, Aoibhinn Gilmartin pointing before Hanlon split the posts to regain Castleknock’s two point lead. A sinbinning for Lauren O’Neill was a devastating blow for Castleknock as they were reduced to 14 with Old Leighlin upping the temp. The teams once again traded scores but the sucker punch came on 14 mins when Emma Brennan blasted to the net and Old Leighlin led by 1.

In the battle of the free takers, both Sawyer and Hanlon were sublime, Sawyer’s third free of the game sneaking Old Leighlin into a one point lead with ten minutes left to play. Then came the killer blow, Old Leighlin awarded a penalty – keeper Nicole Hanley stepped up and hit the net with a flourish. For the first time in the game, the Carlow Champions led by 4. Hanlon and Gilmartin swapped scores and deep into injury time Castleknock were awarded a free. With time running out, Hanlon did the impossible; found a gap in the Carlow defence that crowded the goal-line and crucially raised a green flag, leaving just one between the teams. Unfortunately, time was up and Old Leighlin crept over the line, winning by a single point., 2-08 to 1-10.

The Carlow Champions will now go on to play Connacht Champions Tourlestrane from Sligo next weekend in the All Ireland semi final.

OLD LEIGHLIN: Nicole Hanley (1-00, pen), Roisin Maher, Anne Roche (C), Amy Hanley, Eleanor Meaney, Ellen Atkinson, Michelle Dermody, Muireann O’Sullivan, Caoimhe O’Neill, Rachel Sawyer (0-03, 3f), Shauna O’Neill, Niamh Forde (0-01), Aoife Roche (0-01), Aoibhinn Gilmartin (0-03, 1f), Emma Brennan (1-00)

Subs: Eleanor Purcell for Meaney, Laura Regan for Roche, Ella Meaney for A. Hanley, Eimear Meaney for O’Neill.

CASTLEKNOCK: Amy Mahony, Orlaith Higgins, Jenny Hickey, Sinead Comerford, Nicola Fagan, Aisling Mahony, Louise Mahony, Denise Convery (C), Lauren O’Neill, Laura Carolan, Aisling O’Connor (0-01), Hannah Hanlon (1-08, 7f), Aoife Whelan, Ciara Burgess (0-01), Jessica Comerford.

Subs: Ciara Murray for O’Connor.

Ref: Sarah Stanley


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