Staunton and Dowling strike late to net title for Carnacon
Carnacon 4-10 Kilkerrin-clonberne 2-13
Cora Staunton and Amy Dowling hit quick-fire late goals as Carnacon came from behind in sensational fashion to retain their Connacht ladies senior club football title yesterday.
Galway's Kilkerrin-Clonberne looked like winning the crown they last captured in 2015 as they held a three-point lead, 2-13 to 2-10, with time fast running out.
But when Carnacon needed her most, Australia-bound Mayo star Staunton, who scored 1-6, lobbed a close-range free to the net for the equalising goal.
And with extra-time looming, Dowling kept her nerve to slam a low drive beneath Lisa Murphy for the winner. It was a dramatic end to another titanic struggle, following on from last Sunday's epic stalemate at the same Ballyhaunis venue.
There were 11 goals in the drawn match and six more at the second time of asking, with Carnacon edging through to an All-Ireland semi-final clash with Tyrone's newly-crowned Ulster champions St Macartan's.
Staunton was yellow-carded late on, the second Carnacon player to be sin-binned after half-time, while Kilkerrin-Clonberne lost captain Louise Ward in the closing stages.
It looked like nothing would separate the sides once more but Carnacon, who had a player-of-the-match display from midfielder Fiona McHale, found late answers.
Kilkerrin-Clonberne led by 2-4 to 1-5 at half-time, with Hannah Noone and Siobhan Divilly netting within a minute of each other in the first half.
It was Carnacon who struck the first significant blow of the second half, when sub Emma Cosgrave netted to hand them a 2-6 to 2-5 lead in the 33rd minute, but there was plenty of intrigue in store for a big crowd. Midway through the second half, it was level at 2-8 apiece before Carnacon's Martha Carter was yellow-carded.
That looked like a fatal blow as Kilkerrin-Clonberne moved four clear, 2-13 to 2-9, with Chloe Miskell shooting a couple of glorious points. But after Marie Corbett's point brought Carnacon to within three, there was still time for a late double sucker-punch, as Staunton and Dowling struck to seal a 16th Connacht senior title.
SCORERS - Carnacon: C Staunton 1-6 (1-5f); A Dowling 1-1; B Bruton, E Cosgrave 1-0 each; M Carter, M Corbett, A Brennan 0-1 each. Kilkerrin-Clonberne: O Divilly 0-8 (5f); H Noone, S Divilly 1-0 each; C Miskell 0-3; N Ward, C Boyle 0-1 each.
Carnacon: M Higgins; S McGing, M Carter, S Larkin; B Bruton, M Corbett, D Hughes; F McHale, M McGing; E Flannery, A Dowling, A Brennan; M Larkin, C Staunton, L Dowling. Sub: E Cosgrave for Larkin (23).
Kilkerrin-Clonberne: L Murphy; A McStay Gibbons, S Gormally, S Mee; L Noone, C Dunleavy, C Costello; S Divilly, L Gannon; O Divilly, A Clarke, C Miskell; N Ward, L Ward, H Noone. Sub - C Boyle for McStay Gibbons (30+2).
Ref - G Chapman (Sligo).