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Unstoppable Aherne leads Syls into final

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Sinead Aherne of St Sylvester's in action against Eimear Keenan of Kinawley Brian Boru during the currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Club Football Championship semi-final. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Sinead Aherne of St Sylvester's in action against Eimear Keenan of Kinawley Brian Boru during the currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Club Football Championship semi-final. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Sinead Aherne of St Sylvester's in action against Eimear Keenan of Kinawley Brian Boru during the currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Club Football Championship semi-final. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

fingalindependent

ST SYLVESTER’S 4-11

KINAWLEY2-5

Kinawley Brian Boru take their name from that of Ireland’s famed High King who met his end on Easter Friday 1014 in the Battle of the Clontarf.

Similarly the Fermanagh champions met their end a couple of miles up the road in another leafy Dublin suburb, with deadly assassin Sinead Aherne hitting them for 2-5 to send the Malahide girls through to the All-Ireland decider in just under two weeks’ time.

Such a tally would be brushed off by the accountant well used to number-crunching, and yet the 34 year old is still possessed with such sleight of foot that opposition defences are still wondering how to contain the seven-time All-Star.

Indeed with just under a minute gone at a sold-out Gaffney Park, Aherne collected possession from just inside the touchline and glided past a number of defenders before beating the keeper with a sublime finish.

Still recovering from that shock, Kinawley were then hit for a second goal six minutes later when Emma Sullivan took a pass off the excellent Nicole Owens and doubled her side’s advantage with a firm finish into the roof of the net.

The visitors, however, were soon into their stride, with points from Shauna Melanphy and their captain and danger player Joanne Doonan.

But with the well-oiled full back line snuffing out her threat to good effect, Syls were soon back in their element and following a score from Aherne, Sophie McGlynn then registered an impressive point off her left to restore the home side’s six point advantage at the water break.

The margin might have been more had not an Owens goal been cancelled out by match officials just before the break in play.

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Kinawley were handed a further lifeline after the resumption when Aine McManus, one of two changes to the original starting 15, slipped the ball past the advancing Sophie Brennan 18 minutes into the game.

But moments later Aherne was in for her second goal, and with Kim White keeping Doonan quiet at the other end, Sylvester’s turned in a very efficient last 10 minutes.

With Grace Twomey giving them an added scoring outlet from midfield, the home side would close out the half with scores from Aherne, Kate Sullivan and the aforementioned Twomey to lead by 3-6 to 1-3 at the interval.

And with Katie O’Sullivan added to the full-forward line in the second half, Sylvester’s lost none of their cutting thrust up front, with O’Sullivan snapping up a chance from the edge of the square on 38 minutes to move the Sylvester’s lead to 13 points.

Nonetheless the Kinawley threat was never too far away and after Aherne had pointed at the other end, Doonan found the back of the net at the second attempt after Brennan had blocked her initial effort.

That left it 4-9 to 2-4 at the final water break and from there the home side closed out the game with points from O’Sullivan and Sullivan.

Meeting Sylvester’s in the All-Ireland decider will be Connacht champions Castlebar Mitchells. They overcame Castleisland Desmonds 3-7 to 2-7 on Saturday following a dramatic final quarter played out in Josie Munnelly Park.

A rather fortuitous goal from Laura Brody set the ball rolling for Castlebar with 13 minutes remaining as they registered three goals in quick succession, with Niamh Hughes and Danielle Caldwell also raising green flags to put the game to bed.

St SYLVESTER’S: S Brennan; C Fitzpatrick, K White, L Harrold; L Murphy, D Lawless, E Lynch; N Owens, G Twomey 0-2; K Sullivan 0-2, E Sullivan 1-0, N Harney; S McGlynn 0-1, S Aherne 2-5(0-4f), L Ryan. Subs: G McGinty for E Sullivan (35), K O’Sullivan 1-1 for McGlynn (36), K Tanner for Harney (52), A McDonnell for Owens (55).

KINAWLEY: D Owens; C Breen, K Murphy, K Donnelly; E Keenan, C Murphy, C Leonard; R O’Reilly, A McGovern; L Doonan, A Haran, A McManus 1-0; S Melanaphy 0-1, J Doonan 1-3(0-2f), N McManus. Subs: G McCaffrey for Melanaphy (38), K Murphy 0-1 for Haran (45), M Murphy for L Doonan (49), K Magee for N McManus (58).

Referee: Declan Carolan (Armagh)


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