Thursday 22 March 2018

Breen's late goal secures replay for never-say-die Kingdom girls

Kerry 2-13
Tyrone 3-10
All-Ireland Ladies SF semi-final

Jackie Cahill

KERRY captain Bernie Breen secured a replay for her team as the Kingdom and Tyrone fought out an epic stalemate at Ballymahon, Co Longford, on Saturday.

Breen rifled home a brilliant 56th-minute goal as Kerry, beaten Munster semi-finalists, earned a richly-deserved second chance to leave Dublin still awaiting their final opponents on September 26.

Kerry's never-say-die attitude was in evidence on more than one occasion in this thrilling semi-final as they came from six points behind to draw level at half-time, 1-6 apiece.

And their battling qualities came to the fore again in the second half as they hit back from the concession of two goals.

'Player of the Match' Joline Donnelly, who shot 1-6, put Tyrone 2-6 to 1-6 ahead less than two minutes after half-time as the corner-forward's looping shot found the back of the net.


But Kerry responded with a run of five unanswered points to lead by two before Mags O'Donoghue's 43rd-minute penalty was brilliantly saved by Shannon Lynch.

A goal then for championship surprise packets Kerry would have put them five points clear and their woe was compounded at the other end less than two minutes later when Cathy Donnelly cracked home a terrific Tyrone goal.

Now 3-6 to 1-11 clear, Tyrone went on to lead by three points, but Kerry hit back to cut the lead to a single point, 1-13 to 3-8, with three minutes remaining. A Gemma Begley free and Joline Donnelly's sixth point pushed Tyrone three clear again, but the Red Hands were reeled in by Breen's magnificent strike in the 56th minute.

Tyrone had looked the better side in the first half, but Kerry refused to yield, even when they fell 1-3 to 0-0 behind after eight minutes.

Kerry's response was a run of three unanswered points sparked by top scorer Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh, but Tyrone hit back with three of their own to lead by six points again, 1-6 to 0-3, by the 22nd minute. Kerry, once again, dug deep and a run of 1-3 in the remaining minutes of the half ensured parity at the midway point.

Kerry boss William O'Sullivan said: "Great credit is due to both sets of players; people might not realise looking in on TV but the heat was extreme and to go at that pace for 60 minutes is testament to the fitness of both sides."

Scorers -- Tyrone: J Donnelly 1-6 (0-1f), C Donnelly 1-1, S Connolly 1-0, A O'Kane 0-1, C McGahan 0-1, G Begley 0-1f. Kerry: L Ni Mhuircheartaigh 0-6f, L Scanlon 1-1, B Breen 1-1, S Houlihan 0-3f, L Galvin 0-1, P Dennehy 0-1.

Irish Independent

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