THE ANNAGHDOWN club from Galway captured the Tesco Connacht Ladies Junior Championship in a windswept and rain sodden Elverys McHale Park in Castlebar on Sunday but not before they were made fight every inch of the way by a resilient St Farnan's side.
St. Farnan's captain Jacqui Mulligan won the toss and elected to play with the aid of the strong wind in the opening half, a decision which seemed fully justified as the Sligo champions took the game to their opponents from the off and were first on the scoreboard when corner forward Elaine Cawley kicked the opening point on two minutes. Mulligan and her midfield partner Geraldine Ruane were commanding the midfield exchanges and by the twelfth minute Cawley had added two more similar scores to stretch her side's lead to three.
The Galway champions finally opened their account courtesy of a good point from mid fielder Nicola Burke. Then in one of those moments which usually define games St. Farnan's corner forward Aishling Molloy came in at the end of a great move to finish to the net only to have the score disallowed following consultation between referee Mel Kenny and his umpires.
The Galway side led 1-3 to 0-5 and with conditions continuing to deteriorate in the second they slowly began to open the gap with points from Barrett (3) and Theresa Fahy.
With the game slipping from their grasp the St Farnan's management began to ring the changes committing their two most experienced players Mulligan and McNulty to more forward roles and introducing Ailbhe Dunne and Deirdre Kilgannon to add some fresh legs. Elaine Cawley, the team's top scorer on the day, kicked their only point of the half with ten minutes to go and despite a number of other well worked attacks they found the Annaghdown defence just too hard to break down.
Indeed it was the winners who got the final two scores of the game, both points, the first of which was fittingly from a placed ball from Player of the Match, Duggan, followed by a fine score from Barrett.
Overall the Galway side which held a slight edge for most of the game deserved their success but they will be slightly flattered with their six point winning margin. For their part the losers, as in previous games, once again showed remarkable courage, especially in the second half by refusing to roll over and except the inevitable as many teams in their situation would have done. Final score – St Farnan's 0-6, Annaghdown 1-9.