Blessington emerge victorious from real thriller
THE second of the Intermediate semi-finals was played in a windy Baltinglass last Saturday. Coolkenno started brightly with a goal by Anna Nolan but this was to be the only time that Blessington were led throughout the match.
Blessington, driven on by Orla and Jess Carroll took control and were 1-07 to 1-01 ahead when substitute Niamh Carroll joined the fray. Carroll who had arrived home from Australia showed no rustiness and scored a vital goal approaching halftime.
Not to be outdone Coolkenno replied with a goal by hard working full forward Fiona Byrne. The half time score read Blessington 3-10 to Coolkenno's 3-03.
However Blessington had played with a gale force wind and spectators wondered if the lead was enough.
They were answered right at the start of the half as Coolkenno, pushed on by midfielders Ann Cumiskey and Amy Bermingham reduced the lead to two points with a goal by Mayghan Doyle.
At this stage, Coolkenno's Richelle Doyle was sin binned by referee Keith Tighe for a high tackle on Niamh Carroll following persistent fouling and Blessington in this period scored a vital goal from Jess Carroll.
Coolkenno fought back and with five minutes to go levelled matters with a second goal by Byrne.
It looked as if a draw might be on the cards but in a foray forward the ball was released to Niamh Carroll and she held off two defenders before finishing to the net to earn Blessington a shot at An Tochar in the Intermediate final.
Both sets of midfielders Ann Cumiskey and Amy Bermingham for Coolkenno and Jacqueline Finnegan and Orla Carroll for Blessington had great games.
Coolkenno were best served by backs Hannah Byrne, Jo Doyle and Lisa Cumiskey while their forwards Fiona Byrne, Nadine Nolan, Mayghan Doyle and Rebecca Bowes worked tirelessly throughout the game.
In the Blessington camp Maura Reid, whose commitment was shown by remained for the match while her squad of athletes travelled to the Community Games finals in Athlone, was immense at full back while Niamh Carroll, Jess Carroll, Molly Cullen and Carly Ellis worked hard for the blue and white in what was a great team display of support and hard work.
Players on both sides fought tooth and nail right to the final whistle in what was a good hard sporting game with victory going to Blessington on a final score of 5-12 to 5-10.