‘From the Sideline’: Ladies Intermediate Semi-final
Laois LGFA Intermediate Championship Semi-Final
Skies darken o’er Ballyroan as hosts’ championship dream dies
Shanahoe 2-11 Ballyroan 1-07
Ten minutes into this feisty encounter and Ballyroan seemed destined to win and carve a path to the Intermediate final. The home side were more than shading matters in midfield where Andrea Moran stood out in the opening period. Moran got on a lot of ball and fed a half-forward line of the McWeys; Eimear and Eimile, and Faye McEvoy, which threatened to rip Shanahoe to shreds.
Indeed Moran opened the scoring with a fine score. Shanhoe’s response was a poor wide from a Mary Griffen free. Ballyroan were now rampant and it took some heroic tracking back from nominal Shanahoe full forward Alice Walsh to break up Ballyroan’s attacks. Nominal as Alice obviously had a brief to station herself out the field and break up Ballyroan’s flow while also getting on the ball herself. Her selflessness and incredible work rate would soon be mirrored by all her teammates. Again and again Ballyroan threatened to add to their scoring tally but last-ditch tackling kept them at bay.
Against the run of play Jeanne de Tootquet capitalised on a very poor clearance by Ballyroan custodian Shona Phelan to notch the equaliser. Ballyroan soon recaptured the lead through a Kate Whelan free. Rachel Fitzgerald was then put through on goal after a sublime pass from Emily Mulhall in midfield but the corner forward screwed her shot left and wide of the goals. Faye McEvoy was also getting on a lot of ball and had the warning bells sounding loudly in the heart of the Shanahoe defence. Fitzgerald soon had another wide notched up as Ballyroan continued to boss proceedings.
Slowly but surely Shanahoe began to look the more cohesive side in attack and defence, Great defending from the host’s full back Clodagh Dunne denied the visitors an equaliser. Eventually Jane Madden notched the equalising point. Shanahoe then edged into the lead when savage work from Alice Walsh won her side a free which was duly pointed. That lead was soon doubled as Shanahoe began to outwork the opposition.
Ballyroan soon reduced the deficit to a minimum from another placed ball after play was called back after a Fitzgerald wide. Worryingly for Ballyroan’s management Shanahoe’s next score was a superb effort from front to back up the length of the field with not a finger being laid on any of the rampaging Shanahoe players. Just as the visitors were convinced they’d take a two-point lead into the half-time break Ballyroan landed a sucker punch with a superb goal from the boot of Eimile McWey.
The home side got the opening point of the second half through Katie Whelan. This only served as a prelude to a period of total Shanahoe dominance. Indeed this purple patch for the visiting outfit saw Ballyroan held scoreless for the guts of twenty minutes. Led by the tireless Alice Walsh Shanahoe just reeled off score after score. Indeed Walsh’s telepathic interplay with the rampaging Griffen was the highlight of this period. Walsh’s superbly flighted ball saw Griffen in on goal and the all-action centre-back made no mistake. Shanahoe were now outworking their opponents and had the cutting edge to make that difference in work rate count on the scoreboard. The visitors then got a controversial goal when a delightful ball from right to left saw Paige Hyland free in front of goals. She slotted it but did appear to be in the square.
Things soon went from bad to worse when Ballyroan’s influential Eimear McWey was sinbinned. Try as they might Ballyroan could not break down an incredibly hard-working Shanahoe defence as full time loomed ever nearer. So it was that Shanahoe get a chance to relive former glories when they size up to Park-Ratheniska’s challenge in the upcoming final.
For a much harder working and cohesive Shanahoe side Kate Jacob, Lisa Dunne, Jane Madden and Mary Griffen really caught the eye with all-action displays. For a young Ballyroan side Andrea Moran, Eimear McWey, Eimile McWey and Faye McEvoy all played well early on before fading late in the second half. However Shanahoe’s Alice Walsh was a deserving recipient of the ‘Player of the Match’ accolade. Her tireless work, calmness on the ball and eye for a pass and a score marked her out as Shanahoe’s talisman. It says much of her galvanising influence that even when she had to go off late on with a nasty-looking hand injury her teammates kept up their impressive display.
BALLYROAN: Shona Phelan, Caoimhe Delaney, Clodagh Dunne, Emma Cass; Leah Kelly,Sarah McMahon, Isabelle McWey; Andrea Moran, Emily Mulhall; Eimear McWey, Emile McWey, Faye McEvoy; Rachel Fitzgerald, Kate Whelan, Finola Kehoe. Subs: Liadan Greally for Kehoe (38), Jennifer Cass for Delaney (41), Ellen Donoghue for I. McWey (50). Unused Subs: Orlaith McWey, Leah Kelly, Amy Fitzpatrick, Millie Thomas, Roisin Fitzgerald, Anna McWey, Alannah Brennan, Rhiannon McEoy, Rachel Cass, Sarah Delaney, Jessica Brennan, Clodagh Gee
SHANAHOE: Eimear Barry, Hannah Bailey, Katie Reddin, Valerie Lalor; Issy Finlay, Leanne Hyland, Emma Finlay; Aoife Finlay, Jeanne De Tootquet, Maggie Fitzpatrick, Mary Griffin, Alice Walsh; Kate Jacob, Lisa Tynan, Jane Madden. Subs: Laura Finlay for Fitzpatrick (37), Paige Hyland for Madden (37), Grainne Phelan for Walsh (51), Marian Ferns for Lalor (51). Unused Subs: Aisling Chester, Chloe Cuddy, Muireann Brophy, Mairead Sinnott, Leanne Hyland, Sarah Hennessy, Cliona Power, Martha Guilfoyle, Clodagh MInerney, Rachel Clooney, Lottie O’ Toole
SCORERS – Ballyroan: Kate Whelan 0-5 (4 f), EmileMcWey 1-0, Andrea Moran & Liadan Greally 0-1 each. Shanahoe: Mary Griffin 1-4 (2 f), Paige Hyland 1-0, Lisa Dunne 0-3, Alice Walsh 0-2, Jane Madden, & Jeanne De Tootquet 0-1 each.