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Wednesday 13 November 2019

Brilliant Bray win

Ladies minor 'B' football final - Bray Emmets 7-11, Baltinglass 6-13

Andrew Ryan at Laragh GAA Club

A last-minute Laura Butler free clinched the 2019 Minor 'B' Football Championship for Bray Emmets, following a remarkable 13-goal extravaganza that was somewhat overshadowed by a nasty injury suffered by Baltinglass goalkeeper Mabel Leigh.

Bray found themselves in a commanding 15-point lead after a first-half in which proceedings were delayed for over an hour as a result of Leigh's neck injury.

Baltinglass shook off the potential effect that their concern for their teammate will have had, instead mounting a hitherto unthought of comeback to turn the game around going into the dying embers.

However, Laura Butler, who had scored a pair of first-half goals, scored a last-gasp free to hand the minor title to John Ryan's side.

The bright sun that hung over a mildly chilly day foreshadowed a game that would ignite as the match went on Sunday afternoon. Bray Emmets spent the entirety of the opening half an hour in complete control. Carla Lennon kicked off proceedings with a point, before Shauna Ryan got the first goal of the day inside less than five minutes.

Síofra Adams reduced the gap to one-point with Baltinglass' first goal, only for Laura Butler to combine with Carla Lennon to smash home. The incisive Orla O'Keeffe found Ellen O'Doherty unmarked in the Baltinglass square to grab Bray Emmets' third goal, and the game's fourth, in just nine minutes of the first-half.

The game's fifth goal came just four minutes later. After Butler and Lennon had increased Bray's points tally, Butler notched her second goal of the day; gathering possession, turning, and firing the ball into the back of the net. Bray Emmets were cold, calculating, and clinical in front of goal, and it was showing on the scoreboard

The game would come to a screeching halt with 21 minutes on the clock. Orla O'Keeffe went for goal and accidentally collided with Baltinglass goalkeeper Mabel Leigh, who landed awkwardly. The game was immediately stopped by the referee, and Leigh received treatment from physios for an hour before an ambulance arrived.

The young goalie was treated for another 10 minutes before she was carried off to the hospital in the ambulance, with a suspected neck injury.

Once action restarted, Bray Emmets picked up where they left off, as Baltinglass were left visibly reeling by what had happened to their teammate. O'Keeffe teed up Amy Butler for Bray's fifth of the day, before a sixth goal, this time by Carla Lennon, sent Bray into half-time with a commanding 6-07 to 2-04 lead.

Whatever was said at half-time had an impact on a Baltinglass team that put in a stirring second-half performance to mount a comeback, only for moments of quality to win the day for Bray.

Leah Arnold scored Balto's third goal, before quickfire points from the increasingly influential Ella Parke reduced the arrears to 6-08 to 3-06.

Eight minutes later, Parke closed the gap to within just five points with a pair of goals, the first of which coming off good combination play with substitute Beibhinn Wilkins. Parke almost had a hattrick before the half was ten minutes old, only for Kayleigh Broderick to clear her shot off the Bray line.

Riona Stephenson split the posts to make the score 6-09 to 5-08 with 43 minutes on the clock, as the drama went up a notch. Bray made a move to quell Baltinglass' momentum when Lennon dispatched the ball into the top right corner of the Baltinglass net.

Baltinglass would not be denied in their pursuit of an unlikely comeback, however. Parke, Ciara O'Brien, and Stephenson all pointed before Parke fired into the back of the net to reduce the gap from 15 points at half-time, to just the single point with six minutes to go.

The momentum was well-and-truly on the side of Baltinglass, and their second-half performance paid off when Parke slotted a pair of frees to hand them the lead with just two minutes left, having been 15 points down at the start of the half.

However, Bray Emmets would not be denied in the end. Emily Cahill ventured up from half-back to level matters before the clinical Laura Butler finally settled matters with a free deep in injury-time.

Scorers: Bray Emmets: Laura Butler 2-6 (3f), Ellen O'Doherty 2-0, Carla Lennon 1-2, Amy Butler 1-1, Shauna Ryan 1-0, Emily Cahill 0-1, Saoirse Canavan 0-1.

Baltinglass: Ella Parke 3-6 (2f), Siofra Adams 2-2, Lea Arnold 1-0, Ciara O'Brien 0-3, Riona Stephenson 0-2.

Bray Emmets: Rachel Messitt; Erica Brieton, Emma Doyle, Kayleigh Broderick; Emily Cahill, Emily Deveney, Orla O'Keeffe; Alice Fitzgerald, Shauna Ryan; Saoirse Canavan (for Aoife Canavan), Laura Butler, Ella Shanley; Ellen O'Doherty (for Alison O'Doherty), Carla Lennon, Amy Butler.

Baltinglass: Mabel Leigh (for Beibhinn Wilkins); Jayja Malone (for Caoimhe Peggs), Jessica Moore, Zoe Edwards; Hannah McHugh, Emily Hannifan, Niamh O'Brien; Shefali Daly-Danne, Kubarat Montomi; Kate Brown, Ciara O'Brien, Lea Arnold; Riona Stephenson (for Leah Sheridan), Ella Parke, Síofra Adams.

Referee: Con O Ceadaigh

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