Tuesday 21 May 2019

Shels back on top

Shelmalier 7-10 Clonee 0-9

Deirdre Fox receives the Noel Quill Memorial Cup from Liz Quill and Denis Nolan (Chairman)
Deirdre Fox receives the Noel Quill Memorial Cup from Liz Quill and Denis Nolan (Chairman)
The Shelmalier squad after winning the Senior championship title for the 24th time

Dean Goodison

Goal-hungry Shelmalier proved far too powerful for a disappointing Clonee in the Senior ladies' football championship final in Farmleigh on Saturday.

The Hollymount club sleepwalked through their semi-final with Adamstown but were a different beast in this contest.

Right from the first minute they attacked this game like they knew they were up against a worthy foe, and they simply smothered the life out of the challenge.

They dominated most areas of the field. In defence Shelmalier restricted a full-forward line with plenty of potential to limited clear chances.

Kellie Kearney's energy in the middle third proved particularly important, and the forwards were far more clinical than they were in the semi-final.

In that kind of form Clonee needed everyone and everything they could muster. However, Elaine McCabe, sent-off in the semi, was a huge loss defensively for a side which just didn't look as combative as the one which sent 2017 champions St. Anne's packing in the penultimate round.

At the other end of the field, without Caitríona Murray, things just weren't sharp enough. They did have chances, a couple of really good ones in the first-half in particular, but all of those had to find the net with the form Shelmalier were in and that just didn't happen.

Kearney sent Sarah Harding-Kenny away for a tidily-finished opening goal in the third minute.

Youngster Ailis Neville got her confidence-boosting point in the eighth minute but, after a couple of wides, Clonee opened their account from a Liz Evered free.

Marguerite Doyle's run created the chance for Claire O'Rourke to get another score back in the 14th minute, but Shelmalier ended the first quarter with a bang when Clara Donnelly slipped Leona Tector in and she rattled the net.

Áine Cosgrave's point made it 2-1 to 0-3 and Clonee should have been right back in the game when Teghan Furlong won the resulting kick-out and put Caroline Murphy into the clear, but the experienced attacker fired her right foot shot wide with just Deirdre Fox to beat.

It probably didn't matter in the end but the miss felt like a big turning point and a massive let-off for the Shels, that and the sin-binning of Claire O'Rourke in the 23rd minute.

The champions took advantage of the situation just like quality teams do, by kicking on and putting distance between themselves and their rivals.

Deirdre McMahon and Tector kicked points that Marguerite Doyle countered before Neville took on the last defender, beat her and drilled a cracking finish low to the net.

When McMahon linked up with Donnelly and scored her side's fourth goal of the half, the writing was on the wall (4-3 to 0-4).

Harding-Kenny was creator for goal number five early in the second-half - McMahon was finisher again - and then raised a white flag too.

Murphy and Liz Evered pointed at the other end but it was a struggle to compete on a goal-getting basis.

Tector popped over a pair of points to end the third quarter (5-7 to 0-6) and then netted for the second time after the excellent Sarah Harding-Kenny sent her away once again.

When the county teenager took on and beat defender and 'keeper for her second major in the 48th minute, things were in danger of getting out of hand.

The brave Anna Doyle injured herself trying to prevent that Shelmalier green flag and Caroline Murphy went back in goal as the replacement.

She could do nothing about points from Neville, McMahon and Donnelly as the Wexford District side showed a little mercy.

Both Evereds, Liz and Ali, added late points to make the scoreboard look a small bit better, but the Shelmalier name was on the cup for the 24th time by that stage, with minds not too far from drifting towards provincial dreams.

Shelmalier: Deirdre Fox (capt.); Shauna Murphy, Sadbh McCarthy, Ceara O'Brien; Kellie Kearney (0-1), Michelle Harding, Eleanor Neville; Eadaoin Fitzgerald, Róisín Murphy; Clara Donnelly (0-1), Sarah Harding-Kenny (2-1), Siobhán Cloake; Ailis Neville (1-2), Leona Tector (2-3, 0-1 free), Deirdre McMahon (2-2). Subs. - Deirdre Byrne for Tector (49), also Lisa Quill, Michelle Doyle, Jessie Harding, Enya Byrne, Bridget Curran, Fiona Kinsella, Lauren Murphy, Chloe Mythen, Róisín Tobin, Caroline Curran, Gemma McCabe, Mikaela Lanigan, Maeve Doyle, Siobhán Doolan, Maeve Quill.

Clonee: Anna Doyle; Brídín Doyle, Mairéad Lancaster, Danielle Hayden; Róisín Fitzgerald, Mary O'Neill (capt.), Marguerite Doyle (0-1); Cathy Kavanagh, Claire O'Rourke (0-1); Áine Cosgrave (0-1), Teghan Furlong, Ann Byrne; Liz Evered (0-4, 2 frees), Caroline Murphy (0-1), Ali Evered (0-1). Subs. - Sharon Sunderland for Fitzgerald (31), Niamh O'Leary for Cosgrave (42), Aisling O'Rourke for Byrne (51), Nicola Kinsella for A. Doyle, inj. (51), Trish Murphy for Hayden (60+3), Charlene Hayden for C. O'Rourke (60+3), Aoife Kehoe for L. Evered (60+3), also Marie McDonald, Katie O'Toole.

Referee: Barry Redmond (Clonard).

Gorey Guardian