Naomh Abán take Intermediate title after close encounter

AIB All-Ireland Intermediate Final
Naomh Abán take Intermediate title after close encounter
Naomh Aban 3-6 Parnells London 1-7.

In a tough tense battle, that was always close and exciting, Cork representatives Naomh Abán captured the All-Ireland Intermediate ladies Football Championship in ideal conditions at Portarlington on Saturday last. Parnells started very impressively and had the Cork girls reeling in the early stages, with their fine combination and surging runs. They led by 3 points after the opening quarter with the scores coming from Linda Finnegan, Geraldine Munnely and Sharon Lynch. Indeed for their dominance this was a paltry return, they were on top at midfield where Rhona O’Mahony, daughter of Galway manager John, and Monica Jordan, combined well. The Galetacht girls needed a score badly at this stage and it came from Katie Lynch who slotted over their opening point. Then Lisa McSweeny scored a smashing goal and also landed a point, to give the initiative to the Cork girls.

Parnells unperturbed fought back again. Strong running from Sharon Lynch, later named player of the match, Linda Finnegan and Evelyn Griffin were causing big problems for the overstretched Naomh Abán defence, 3 more points resulted from Evelyn Griffin and scorer in chief Linda Finnegan. The sides were level at the short whistle 1-3 to 0-6 and the Cork girls must have been well pleased to be on parity after their tentative start. Whoever said that the London girls could not compete at this level were gravely mistaken.

Fine effort.

A fine effort from a long range free from Caoimhe Creedon gave Naomh Abán the boost they needed a minute into the 2nd half. Parnells responded with a point from Monica Jordan, but again Caoimhe Creedon replied with another. It was end to end end stuff after that with many near misses for both sides. Then came the decisive score of the half, Anita Thompson won possession close to goal and sent an unstoppable shot, to the roof of the net in off the crossbar, Katie Lynch made it a 5 point game. A brilliant save from Ciara Lehane denied Sharon Lynch, when she looked certain to score after shaking off 3 defenders, seemed to have sealed the game.

Parnells were thrown a lifeline, when they were awarded a penalty, a minute into time added on, and when Linda Finnegan converted the pressure was on again. Naomh Abán responded well and with the last attack of the game they sealed the issue with a well taken goal from Ailbhe Lynch, which sent their large following wild with delight, which continued long after the referee blew the final whistle.

All the Naomh Abán girls were heroines and they all played their part in the triumph. History had been made and Cork Club had captured all the AIB National, Club titles on offer for 2003. The referee Brendan Gallagher, from Tyrone came in for a share of criticism for being over strict, which made the game very disjointed, but Naomh Abán won’t complain. Amid great scenes of excitement inspiring capt, Siobhan Ni Bhuacalla received the cup from Geraldine Giles President of the ladies Football association.

For the Naomh Abán management team of Jerry Lynch Coach and selectors Pat O’Sullivan and Tom Creedon it was dream come through and all were loud in their praise of the efforts the girls put in during the year to fashion such a tremendous success.

There was high praise all round as well for the way Parnells played, they were a credit to the Association in England and indeed if luck and a few decisions gone their way, they could have well prevailed. No doubt they will be back again and hopefully Stephen Lynch and Johnny Niblock will stay with them and we hope the girls will continue with the commitment they have shown.

The local club must be complimented for having everything in order for the occasion and so the curtain has come down on another exciting year for Ladies Football at National level and we look forward in anticipation to 2004.

Naomh Abán: Lisa McSweeeny 1-1 Anita Thompson 1-0. Ailbhe Lynch 1-0 Caoimhe Creedon 0-3 Katie Lynch 0-2
Parnells: Linda Finnnegan 1-3 Geraldine Munnelly 0-1 Evelyn Griffin 0-1 Monica Jordan 0-1

Naomh Abán: Ciara Ni Liathain, Cait Ni Concubhair, Fiona Ní Suilleabhain, Niamh Ní Scannell, Siobhan Ní Mhurchu, Siobhán Ní Buacala, Capt, Maire Ní Corcora, Eimear Ní Conaill. Lisa Ní Suibhne, Cait Ní Loinsig, Anita Ní Tomás, Caroline Ní Cartaigh, Caoimhe Ní Chriodaín, Alva Ní Loinsig. Brid Ní Concubhair, Noelle Ní Corcora, Cliodhna Ní Scannaill, Maire Ní Cartaigh, Maire Ní Corcora, Sile Ní Ceallaigh, Grainne Ní Luasa Maura Ní Riordain, Joanne Ní Cartaigh, Caroline De Barra, Isla Ní Suibhne.

Parnells: Anne Marie Mohan, Heelna Stephens, Maria King. Geraldine Clancy, Laura Harrison, Regina Byrne, Karen Halpenny, Rhona O”Mahony capt, Monica Jordan, Michelle Brennan, Sharon Lynch, Linda Finnegan, Geraldine Munnelly, Jackie McGowan, Evelyn Griffin, Joanne McGivern. Sonya Munnelly, Kate Leahy, Patricia O’Brien, Majella Moore, Stephanie Greaney.

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