St Patrick’s 2-8 St Fechin’s 2-9
St Fechin’s had the outstanding Rachael Kinch to thank after qualifying for the Division 1 final at the expense of St Patrick’s at Lordship on Sunday morning.
The skilful centre-forward bagged herself 2-5, 1-4 of which came from free-kicks struck beautifully from the turf, and was an omnipresent threat, coming to the fore at crucial stages of a competitive contest.
Yet, while there was little disputing the deservedness of the visitors’ victory, Pat’s can look regretfully upon their poor finishing on occasions – albeit they hit just one wide more than Fechin’s, 9-8 – and the failure to take a gilt-edged goal chance in the closing play when Grace Treanor’s effort across the target evaded the claw of Kate Cumiskey with the net begging to be bulged.
Indeed, the excellent performances of goalkeeper Ellen Brodigan and full-back Rachel Beirth indicate just how much of the play took place inside Fechins’ defensive third. But with Pat’s so reliant on Kate Flood for scores, when her registry rate dropped, the outcome always seemed likely to favour the winners.
Having conceded an early goal when Kinch’s dead ball kick dropped into the net, Pat’s were on top for much of the first half, aided by a strong breeze that blew towards the Cooley end of Páirc Eamoin. Aisling O’Doherty, Flood and Grace Treanor pointed with young Niamh Holland converting a major with aplomb in the fifth minute to give Karen Fealy’s team the upperhand.
Sarah Moore responded with Fechins’ first white flag but three sweetly struck Flood frees pushed Pat’s five clear with half-time on the horizon. And while Kinch (free) and Catherine McGlew closed the interval gap to three, the Termonfeckin outfit faced into the second period down a player after Anna Redmond’s yellow card.
Notwithstanding their numerical disadvantage, by the time they were returned to their full complement, Fechin’s had taken the lead with Kinch bagging 1-1, her goal on 33 minutes coming from the highest drawer as she confidently picked out the bottom corner under pressure from three defenders.
Shayleen McDonagh put the Beaulieu women 2-5 to 1-6 in the clear subsequently but there was a twist to come as Flood’s dropping free found its way past Brodigan and Orla Brennan – another who impressed – to give Pat’s hope of a date with St Mochta’s in the divisional showpiece.
It was the hosts’ first score in 23 minutes but, ultimately, proved far from a turning point as Céire Nolan drove forward to level prior to Kinch restoring a one-point cushion which Flood cancelled out in the next attack.
Another blow would follow for Fechin’s in the form of a yellow for Orla McEvoy inside the closing 10 minutes – and the teams remained deadlocked in stoppage time after a further Flood free equalised Rebecca Howell’s strong run and conversion.
Fittingly, the winner would come from Kinch, who split the posts from an acute angle along the right flank.
St Patrick’s: Rebecca Lambe Fagan; Melissa O’Hanlon, Caoimhe Breen, Meadhbh Butterly; Denise Finnegan, Deirbhile O’Doherty, Saoirse Butterly; Áine Breen, Chloe Barry; Evelyn Donnelly, Grace Treanor 0-1, Aisling O’Doherty 0-1; Niamh Holland 1-0, Kate Cumiskey, Kate Flood 1-6 (1-5f). Subs: Kayleigh Goss, Aisling Dunne.
St Fechin’s: Ellen Brodigan; Anna Redmond, Rachel Beirth, Lynn Victory; Orla McEvoy, Jenny Mulrey, Orla Brennan; Céire Nolan 0-1, Róisín Kavanagh; Hayley McDonnell, Rachael Kinch 2-5 (1-4f), Sarah Moore 0-1; Catherine McGlew 0-1, Rebecca Howell 0-1, Shayleen McDonagh 0-1. Subs: Ailbhe Quinn, Ava Briscoe.
Referee: Declan Carolan (Newry Mitchel’s).