Late Rally fails to spoil St Nathys day

Late Rally fails to dampen St Nathy’s Day.


St Nathy’s (Sligo) 3 – 10 Caherlistrane (Galway) 3 – 6

The Parishes of Bunnanadden, Coolaney and Mullinabreena were in
Party mood on Sunday night last as St Nathy’s were crowned Connacht
Intermediate Club Champions for the first time at Kilcoyne Park,
Tubbercurry following this four point victory over Galway Champions
Caherlistrane earlier in the afternoon. The early morning rain
made the pitch a little heavy and slipperier than normal but that
will hardly worry the Sligo Saints at this present moment as they
join Geevagh as the second club from the Yeats County to claim
the Intermediate Crown of Connacht.

Yet the newly crown champions had to withstand a late rally from
their opponents to secure the title following goals in the 25th
and 27th minutes to cut their lead back to 4 points. Try as they
may that was as near as Caherlistrane were to get despite Mayo
Official Mel Kenny playing 7 minutes – which were justified given
the amount of stoppages – of injury time. The opening score of
the game arrived some ninety seconds in as a combination of Helen
McHugh, Sarah Murphy and Gillian O’Connor ended up with O’Connor
sending over. A Nathy’s response followed and by the 6th minute
they were in front thanks to a Sandra Scully brace of points.
Karen Lily added a third in the 8th minute to increase the lead
but some sixty seconds later they were in arrears again as the
losers struck for the opening goal and ironically the first goal
that St Nathy’s had conceded in this years Championship either
in County or province.

Galway county panelist Helen Mc Hugh was allowed to solo through
and hit an unstoppable shot past All Star goalkeeper Katrina Connolly.
Two minutes later and Connolly makes a great save from Mc Hugh
as the ball seemed destined for a second major. From this moment
on until two minutes before the break it was a Saints show as
the Sligo title bearers moved into top gear and gradually moved
clear. Ailis Leonard set the wheels in motion as she popped over
a point in the12th minute. Over the next few minutes Aileen Hannon,
Karen Lily and Etna Flanagan added points to stretch St Nathy’s
into a 3 point lead. Sandwiched in between the lily and Flanagan
points was a Helen McHugh miss. A Flanagan miss and a McHugh drop
short into the keepers arms followed shortly as the real drama
began to take its course. In a two minute spell between the 24th
and 26th minutes the winners struck for their two goals – ironically
both from members of the Sligo U – 16 Team – as first Sandra Scully
and then Ailish Leonard hit the target. Scully’s goal arrived
as she reacted fastest to a free that came of the post with her
rolling the ball into the net. The second arrived as Nathy’s cleared
their lines with Louise O’Donnell supplying the final pass to
Leonard who simply couldn’t miss. In between the goals Helen McHugh
blasted wide at the other end for the losers. Aileen Hannon added
a point soon after to give St Nathy’s a 2 – 8 to 1 – 1 lead by
the 27th minute. Towards the end Helen Mc Hugh added a second
point for Caherlistrane to leave them going in at the short whistle
nine points in arrears

Probably St Nathy’s biggest worry at the start of the second half
was how Caherlistrane would react to the half time talk. Within
the opening 6 minutes of the resumption they had got their answer
as the losers added 3 points to their tally through Sarah Murphy
twice and Helen Mc Hugh, add to that two misses as they ran the
leaders ragged. Slowly but surely St Nathy’s eased back into the
game, they were helped in no small way with the sin binning of
Mairead Murphy in the 8th minute for what looked like a harmless
enough foul but to be fair the referee had warned her earlier
and they may also have been a little extra movement of jaw action.
Less than a minute after the sin bin Aileen Hannon sent over St
Nathy’s opening point of the second half. At the other end Katrina
Connolly had to be alert to keep out a Helen McHugh effort. Play
switched again with the Caherlistrane keeper Hazel Hynes being
called upon to prevent St Nathy’s from claiming another goal.
In her efforts to prevent the score, she fouled the ball outside
her own area thus giving away a free. Karen Lily popped the resulting
free over giving St Nathy’s a double score advantage by the 13th
minute. Play swiftly switched to the other end with Martina Keane
– who had an outstanding game – intercepting a Caherlistrane attack,
fed Eithne O’Flaherty who in turn picked out Mairead Keane. Keane
sent in a long ball over the top to what appeared no man’s land,
on to it ran Ailish Leonard with an open field in front of her.
One thing on her mind! The back of Hazel Hynes’s net. Did she
miss or was it saved? Neither! The net rattled, the umpire went
for green and it looked game, set, match and an easy quarter hour
to go for St Nathy’s. How wrong people could be!

There was still a little life in Caherlistrane but not enough.
A full five minutes after the Leonard goal, Helen Mc Hugh converted
a free for Caherlistrane to reduce the gap to 10 with 10 minutes
plus a little injury time to play. That injury time would increase
as Eithne O’Flaherty had to be removed from the pitch. Play resumed
and with it the arrival of the double strikes from the Losers.
First Helen Mc Hugh scored a peach of a goal in the 25th minute,
less than 2 minutes later McHugh set up Sarah Murphy for a gem
to cut the Nathy’s lead back to four points. At this stage even
the scoreboard attendant had got confused as her had only three
points between them as the game ticked into injury time.

The biggest cheer of the day arrived in the Final minutes as St
Nathy’s introduced Noelle Gormley into the action. Gormley was
making her first appearance since breaking her ankle in July while
playing for Sligo against Laois in the All Ireland Championship
series. No doubt she will be a welcome addition for the forthcoming
games. As the Final whistle sounded the St Nathy’s mentors, players
and supporters one and all danced jigs and reels around Kilcoyne
Park. Following what have you, the Cup was presented by President
of Connacht Council, Mary Quinn to St Nathy’s Captain Aileen Hannon.
The same player received the VHI Healthcare player of the match
award, although she was pushed hard for the award by Tina Keane
and the terrible youngster pair in both corners Sandra Scully
and Ailish Leonard.

Next up for St Nathy’s is a trip to London and a date with Fr
Murphy’s in the VHI Healthcare All Ireland Club Quarter Final
on Sunday 28th October.

Scorers St Nathy’s: Ailish Leonard 2 – 1, Sandra Scully 1 – 2,
Karen Lilly 0 – 3, Aileen Hannon 0 – 3, Etna Flanagan 0 – 1.

Scorers Caherlistrane: Helen McHugh 2 – 3, Sarah Murphy 1 – 2,
Gillian O’Connor 0 – 1.

St Nathy’s: Katrina Connolly, Tina Keane, Louise Gormley, Yvonne
Roddy, Eithne O’Flaherty, Cammie Kennedy, Aisling Frizzell, Angela
Doohan, Aileen Hannon, Aine Gormley, Etna Flanagan, Karen Lilly,
Sandra Scully, Louise O’Donnell, Ailish Leonard. Subs used Denise
Scully for L Gormley, Ann M Coleman for O’Flaherty, Mairead Keane
for Kennedy and Noelle Gormley for Leonard.

Caherlistrane: Hazel Hynes, Debbie Gallagher, Catriona Kyne, Christina
Reilly, Deirdre Lawless, Martina Reilly, Leanne Fahy, Grainne
Ni Fhlartharta, Sarah Murphy, Gillian O’Connor, Helen McHugh,
Edel Gallagher, Johanna Greaney, Ann Marie Haire, Mairead Murphy.
Subs used: Louise Cradock for D Gallagher, Claire Burke for Greaney,
Nicola O’Connor for Lawless, Louise Reilly for Haire and D Lawless
for Burke.

Referee: Mel Kenny (Mayo)


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