Tuesday 20 March 2018

Begley's salvo steers Tyrone into first final

Tyrone 1-9
Kerry 0-11
All-Ireland Ladies SFc s-f replay

Jackie Cahill

A new name will be inscribed on the Brendan Martin Cup after Tyrone beat Kerry in a hard-fought replay in Banagher to set up a September 26 final showdown against Dublin.

It will be Tyrone's first appearance in the final, while Dublin have been defeated three times in the decider -- in 2003, 2004 and 2009.

Tyrone had to do it the hard way as they came from three points down at half-time (1-2 to 0-8) to secure victory.

Gemma Begley, who top-scored for Tyrone, had the ball in the Kerry net after just 55 seconds to give the Red Hands an ideal start, but they were outscored by 0-8 to 0-2 for the remainder of the half as Kerry responded.

Tyrone also suffered an early blow when Neamh Woods received a yellow card for a challenge on Louise Galvin and spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

Kerry were level by the 12th minute -- 0-4 to 1-1 -- and moved a point in front with a superb Mags O'Donoghue score two minutes later.

They then had a goal correctly disallowed for a square ball in the 20th minute when Emma Sherwood fisted to the net from top-scorer Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh's free.

Catriona McGahan's 22nd-minute point for Tyrone levelled proceedings again but three unanswered points before half-time regain the initiative for Kerry.

After the break, Tyrone set about eating into Kerry's interval lead and full-forward Sarah Connolly shot the opening point of the second half.

By the 11th minute, Tyrone were level at 1-6 to 0-9 before Ni Mhuircheartaigh responded with her and Kerry's second point of the half.

With 11 minutes remaining, Tyrone sub Nina Murphy hit a shot off a post with just the goalkeeper to beat but Cathy Donnelly hauled the Red Hands level again with a point from play.

Scores from ace corner-forward Joline Donnelly (free) and Aisling O'Kane pushed Tyrone two points clear -- 1-9 to 0-10 -- with three minutes remaining.

Ni Mhuircheartaigh popped over her sixth point in the final minute, but Tyrone were able to hold on.

Tyrone coach Niall Colton reflected: "In the first match, we went 1-3 to 0-0 ahead and, at that point, maybe a bit of complacency set in.

"We didn't kick on and dominate but on Saturday, the girls were more switched on. Neamh Woods' sin-bin upset us and put us out of our stride but we knew what to expect from Kerry.

"The media were talking about Kerry being a surprise packet but Kerry beat Galway, Mayo and Armagh, three teams we didn't beat this year. Mayo had their troubles but Galway tanked us in the league and Armagh beat us in the Ulster championship.

"So, in that respect, we were fully focused and knew that we couldn't take our eye off them."

Scorers -- Tyrone: G Begley 1-3 (0-3f), J Donnelly 0-2 (0-1f), A O'Kane, C McGahan, S Connolly, C Donnelly 0-1 each. Kerry: L Ni Mhuircheartaigh 0-6 (0-4f), L Galvin 0-3, M O'Donoghue 0-2.

KERRY -- E Murphy; K Gleeson, A Leonard, A Lyons; E Sherwood, A Desmond, D Murphy; L Scanlon, B Breen; M O'Donoghue, S Joy, L Galvin; P Dennehy, L Ni Mhuircheartaigh, A Brosnan. Subs: S Houlihan for O'Donoghue (46), B Lane for Sherwood (56).

TYRONE -- S Lynch; E Teague, M Kelly, S McLaughlin; M Donnelly, N Woods, L Donnelly; S Quinn, S Donnelly; C Donnelly, G Begley, A O'Kane; C McGahan, S Connolly, J Donnelly. Subs: R Rafferty for Teague (h-t), N Murphy for McGahan (40).

Ref -- J Murray (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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