Cooley make it a double
COOLEY Kickhams completed the League and Championship double with a narrow three-point win over holders Stabannon in the Ladies Senior League final in the Clans. In a game of two very contrasting styles Cooley edged home despite Stabannon's resilience and hard work.
With only 28 seconds on the clock Grace Lynch made a statement of intent with the game's opening point for Stabannon. Rather than let the early setback phase them Cooley launched a long ball up field to Eibhlin Rice, who turned past her marker on an arching run and from an impossible angle fired her shot into the top corner of the Stabannon goal.
Stabonnon stuck back with a close range free kick from Jenny McGuinness, but Cooley had luck on their side when Siobhan McDonald's long ball into the square bounced over Nadine Weldon's head for Cooley's second goal of the game.
Two more points in quick succession from Sarah Jane O'Reilly and Lisa Maguire on nine minutes extended Cooley's lead further, as direct long balls from the back line caught Stabannon on the break. Ciara McMahon's mercurial individual point added to Stabannon's total, as she wove between several Cooley defenders to make space for her shot. With 14 minutes gone Eibhin Rice delivered another sucker blow to Stabannon. A perfectly weighted pass over the Stabannon defence from Aine Marie Murphy set Eibhlin Rice free in front of goal and she made no mistake to add to her tally.
Kim Lynch and Grace Rogers both increased Stabannon's total with a point apiece, but Cooley's last attack of the half could have killed off the game. Eibhlin Rice showing again just how dangerous she can be, as her thunderous shot flew past Nadine Weldon before crashing against the post and out of play. Ciara McMahon's second point of the game left the half time score 3-2 to 0-6 in Cooley's favour.
With a five point deficit Stabannon had their work cut out in the second half, but Jenny McGuinness led from the front claiming the half's first score on 34 minutes. Karen Kane cancelled it out moments later, but that would be Cooley's last score of the game. Jenny McGuinness continued to lead Stabannon efforts with three points in a row. Cooley began to increasingly find themselves unable to turn attacks into scores, but their defensive efforts were second to none.
Aine McGee added another point for Stabannon to bring the difference to four points and it was 'back to the wall' stuff for Cooley at that stage.
Stabannon tried desperately to break free on goal, but efforts from Jenny McGuinness and Grace Rogers were both forced wide as Cooley held out to land the double.
Cooley: Corin Rice, Laura Grills, Karen Kane, Michelle Connor, Sonya Sheehan, Patsy McGuinness, Patricia Marmion, Siobhan McDonald, Kate Rafferty, Rita McShane, Aine Marie Murphy, Catherine Page, Sarah Jane O'Reilly, Lisa Maguire, Eibhline Rice.
Stabannon: Nadine Weldon, Orlaigh Byrne, Andrea Carney, Donnagh Giggins, Bronnagh McGrane, Anne Marie Lynch, Carol Cluskey, Aine McGee, Grace Lynch, Kim Lynch, Jenny McGuinness, Mary Maloney, Ciara McMahon, Grace Rogers, Danielle Sharkey.