Latest Laois Sport: Willow make Mountmellick ladies weep
Ladies Division gets off to cracking start with an entertaining 5-goal contest in Conor Davis Park
Summer Competition Week 1 Women’s Group
Mountmellick United 2 Willow Park 3
The visitors rolled into Conor Davis Park with an awesome reputation and, right from the off, left the large attendance at Mountmellick United’s ground under no illusions as to the size of the task facing the Laois outfit. The Athlone side monopolised possession from the first whistle and soon had Mountmellick pinned back. Anna Grant was getting on a lot of ball in Willow Park’s midfield and she had the vision and passing range to hurt her opponents. The Laois side were, at times, guilty of having their backline pushed on too high up the park. That allowed Grant to angle in diagonal balls to the electric duo of Erin Prender and Holly Corrig Cassidy.
Corrig Cassidy, in particular, was to give the home side a torrid time. Her first shot on target saw Jennifer Parkinson make a great save. Willow Park were now able to use the space between Mountmellick’s backline and Parkinson to feed through balls into for Corrig Cassidy to run onto. That space allowed the electric striker to have a twenty-metre run on goal before shooting across Parkinson and into the far corner for the game’s opening goal.
Heroic defending from Linda Lee and some inspired goalkeeping kept Corrig Cassidy from notching a quick fire hat-trick as the half progressed. Further up the park Amy Coss and Orla Carroll were the pick of the home players as Mountmellick United tried to live off scraps of possession. The home crowd were relieved to see Corrig Cassidy pull her shot badly wide when put through by a Grant free. A rare foray forward for the hosts saw Carroll with a half chance but Aoife Gill got to it in the visitors goals to snuff out the danger. The hosts then saw Coss slip in a great through ball but it resulted in a free out for the visitors.
Again Willow Park poured forward in response but some inspired defending from the home side kept them out. Then an inswinging Willow Park corner was somehow headed clear by Kiahara Dempsey as the visitors edged closer to a second goal. Just as it seemed certain Mountmellick United would go into the half-time break trailing by a goal the half’s last attack in the dying seconds saw the host grab a great equaliser. A Mountmellick corner found Amy Coss unmarked and she made no mistake with her header from six yards out as the half-time whistle sounded.
The second half opened with almost constant Willow Park pressure on Parkinson’s goals. Indeed Parkinson was soon called upon to pull off a great save from Corrig Cassidy’s rasper of a shot. All that pressure soon told on an overworked home defence. A corner for the visitors was cleared out. However the ball broke to Savannah Cassidy and her fierce right-footed shot, after a scintillating run, gave Parkinson no chance in the home goals.
Any hopes that Mountmellick had of keeping the deficit to just one goal as the water break loomed were soon blown apart. A Willow Park free from out on their right flank evaded the Mountmellick cover and Sharon Mannion managed to get a toe to it and send it looping over Parkinson for their side’s third goal. Far from being beaten however the hosts came out after the water break in determined fashion. The introduction of Ciara Marston and Jacinta Nevin soon saw the home side get more quality possession around the middle of the park. Indeed one can only guess at what impact this duo could have had if named in the starting side.
That increased amount of quality ball for the hosts was soon converted into a stunning goal. A period of sustained possession for the home side saw the ball played out to Ciara Marston in the middle. The midfielder didn’t hesitate but caught the ball so perfectly with her weaker left foot. The large crowd was shellshocked when her stupendous shot, from all of thirty-five yards out, flew past Gill in the away goals. Alas for the crowd that marvellous goal late on was the last of the scoring and so Willow Park held out for a deserved win.
For the visitors Corrig Cassidy was unplayable at times. Erin Prender (in the opening half), Roisin McNamara (on her debut,) Anna Grant (throughout), Shanina Ward, Sharon Mannion and Savannah Cassidy (all late on) shone for the visitors. For the home outfit Jenny Parkinson was immense in goals. Linda Lee was a colossus at the back while Orla Carroll and Amy Coss did well with limited possession. Jacinta Nevin and Ciara Marston were very impressive when introduced and look likely to start the next day out. Our Laois People ‘Player of the Match’ was Willow Park’s Holly Corrig Cassidy.
- JENNY PARKINSON
- AMY GREHAN
- JAMIE LALOR
- LINDA LEE
- SINEAD O’ROURKE
- CLODAGH BROGAN
- ORLA CARROLL
- AMY COSS
- SUSAN LEE
- CAOIMHE KENNA
- KIAHARA DEMPSEY
- CIARA MARSTON for Dempsey (55’)
- LISA GUINANE for Grehan (63’)
- JACINTA NEVIN for S. Lee (65’)
- BRONAGH CARROLL for Brogan (82’)
- REBECCA KIRWAN for Lalor (82’)