McClean’s side far too strong for Laois champions
St Conleth’s 1-5
Tinahely proved that they are more than at home in the Senior ranks of the Leinster club football championship when they demolished the Laois champions in their own backyard last Sunday afternoon thanks to a sizzling performance from Seamus McClean’s charges.
St Conleth’s may have hoped that home advantage would serve them well in this encounter with a meeting with Meath’s Dunboyne the prize for the winner but despite a bright start for the home side it wasn’t long before the class of the Tinahely side came rampaging to the fore.
Star attacker Laura Hogan contributed a stunning 3-8 to the party and she was ably assisted by team captain Jackie Kinch, Aimee Maher, Aoife Gorman and Sarah Hogan to name just a few.
After the new Laois champions started impressively in Portarlington on Sunday it all went pear-shaped by half-time and that was even with Tinahely playing into the cold breeze from the throw in.
After the hosts tore down field Alanna Havill found space opening up in front of her and she gave her side the perfect beginning with a great goal. When St Conleth’s added a brace of points from Aoife Kirrane and free taker Sarah Walsh, it was looking comfortable for the Laois champions.
But Tinahely haven’t won seven Wicklow titles on the trot and a Leinster Intermediate title only recently to be overly disturbed or deflated by the bright start. They wide on their first attack but suddenly they found their touch, kicking three points in the space of four minutes. When Laura Hogan landed her second point the visitors were settling in and the ease at which they found space was a concern for the local supporters.
Then a great ball from Tinahely midfielder Aoife Gorman, who was causing havoc for the Saints, picked out the well-placed Laura Hogan and she slotted the ball into the right-hand corner of the net. Now the home side trailed for the first time, but little did we think they would never again get their noses back in front.
Twenty minutes in Marie Byrne pulled back a point from play and at the first water break the visitors held a one-point advantage.
When the hosts failed to score in the second quarter the writing was on the wall. At the other end Tinahely were not doing much better and in injury time they kicked a brace of points to lead 1-6 to 1-3 at the break.
The Laois champions had much to mull over before returning and they must have hoped they could rediscover the form that gave them the Laois title just a few weeks ago.
Two players were replaced and Niamh Cullen, who replaced her sister, swung over a lovely point inside the opening minute to give the big home following some hope. Instead, by the time St Conleth’s would score again, the roof had fallen in.
The Tinahely midfield were dominating and after kicking four points in quick succession the danger woman in attack, Laura Hogan, struck for a pair of goals in less than two minutes.
By the time the teams went to the second water break the game as contest had ended and the St Conleth’s mentors looked helpless but encouraged their charges not to give up and they did not.
St Conleth’s sustained a few injuries, but Tinahely had eased up, kicking two late points from Eimear O’Brien and Emily Mulhall. With almost the last kick of the game Loretta Gilbert slammed home her side’s fourth goal and they now progress to the business end of the senior championship with the Meath champions visiting Tinahely this Sunday afternoon at 1.30pm.
Senior quarter-final results:
St Conleths (Laois) 1-5, Tinahely 4-14; Dunboyne (Meath) 3-16, Milltown (Westmeath) 1-7; Eadestown (Kildare) 0-10, Foxrock Cabinteely (Dublin) 0-12.
Semi-final fixtures (both games at 1.30pm: Tinahely v Dunboyne (Meath); Foxrock Cabinteely (Dublin) v Tullamore (Offaly). Games will be streamed live on Leinster LGFA Social Media.
TINAHELY: Shona Byrne; Ciara Stokes, Sarah Hogan, Roisin Byrne; Aimee Maher, Áine Byrne, Shannah Goetelen; Jessie Byrne-Nolan, Aoife Gorman (0-1); Sarah Byrne (1-1), Eimear O’Brien, Emily Mulhall; Ciara Byrne (1-1), Jackie Kinch (0-2), Laura Hogan (1-9). Subs: Loretta Gilbert (1-0) for O’Brien (45m), Lacy Jane Shannon for Maher (50m).
ST CONLETH’S: Naomi Luttrell; Aine Haberlin, Mary Cotter, Nicole Havill; Fiona Dempsey, Aimee Kelly, Nicole Byrne; Claire Fox, Aoife Kirrane (0-1); Marie Byrne (0-1), Alanna Havill (1-1), Shifra Havill; Sarah Walsh (0-1), Eva Galvin, Sinead Cullen. Subs: Niamh Cullen (0-1) for S. Cullen (h/t), Kimberley Webster for Sarah Walsh (h/t), Rebecca Aine Haberlin (47m), Michelle Byrne for M. Byrne (49m), Kate O’Reilly for N. Byrne (50m, inj).
Referee: J Murphy