London GAA: London worthy champions in Coventry
An utterly dominant display from the London Ladies saw them crowned All Britain champions despite the efforts of a talented Lancashire side. London will now face Carlow in the All Ireland Junior quarter final at Greenford on August 21.
Lancashire also progress to the All Ireland series and will play Derry at home on the same weekend.
London got off to an ideal start after corner forward Fiona Morrissey earned them their first of nine goals after just 15 seconds. Her initial shot was saved by Louise O’Neill, but she continued her run and forced the ball into the back of the net.
Gemma Taylor increased the lead next with two pointed frees before Hannah Noonan, who orchestrated much of London’s impressive passing movement from the centre of the pitch set up captain Sinead McCooey for the next point leaving it 1-3 to nil. Morrissey won the ball from the resultant kick-out next and offloaded to Helen Hughes for her first point.
Morrissey would get another point after full-forward and Parnells captain Niamh Murphy managed to get the ball away to her under pressure from her defender. Lancashire had their first attempt on goal next, after six minutes, but unfortunately their point attempt went wide. London capitalised on the miss and Morrissey got another score, before London shot their first wide on ten minutes.
Good passing between Morrissey and Murphy set up the impressive Aine Gormley for her first point, and some great defending by Emma Sawyers saved London from conceding a goal after some great play by Cliona Gannon and Danielle Farrell.
A brilliant ball in from Jeanette Maguire to Farrell saw the corner forward get a goal on 13 minutes as she sent her shot beyond the reach of Lucy Hawkes.
But London would cancel it out immediately as Bridget Gallagher charged in on goal, and although O’Neill managed to get her fingertips to it Murphy reacted quickest to the rebound and kicked the ball off of the ground to give her side a 2-7 to 1-0 lead.
Another impressive pass from Lancashire, this time through Shaunagh Carderry, set up Clodagh Gormely on goal, but she was brought down, allowing Farrell to score her side’s first free.
Noonan would cancel it out with her own pointed free, before herself and Hughes paired up with some excellent play from midfield, before the former Dublin footballer found space to run around her defender and give London their third goal.
London would have another goal opportunity through Bridget Gallagher which O’Neill stopped impressively, but soon after Hughes’ pass to Aine Gormely saw her make a brilliant run, taking on three tackles before putting her shot over the bar. Morrissey would set up Hughes for the next point, before some quick passing around the outside of the square from Noonan and Murphy released Hughes for her next score.
Despite some great play from Lancashire’s midfield to the pacy forwards London kept composed and cleared up any danger in the first half, forcing Lancashire to play long balls that started to prove ineffective. London would get another goal next as a pinpoint accurate kick from the boot of Noonan from long range found Morrissey who handpassed to Murphy at close range to the nets, before she claimed her second three-pointer to close the first half.
London picked up where they left off after the break, with Gemma Taylor winning a free in the opening minute before Gormley pointed the resultant free. Lancashire responded immediately, and reaped the fruits of playing a more direct game as Jen Noone and Clodagh Gormley orchestrated a one-two passing movement as they headed towards goal before the Oisins corner-forward scored the point.
London were awarded a penalty next, and McCooey’s initial shot was saved by O’Neill but the captain did not give up on the goal chance and rushed on the loose ball fastest to put in the back of the net.
A brilliant run down the right wing by Annie Ryan came before a brilliant pass to Noone, who got the better of Sawyers on the goal line, and as she looked up Farrell was waiting on the far post to handpass into the back of the net for Lancashire’s second goal.
It would prove to be the start of a purple period for their side, as a Gormley pass to Ailish McLoughlin resulted in a powerful shot over the bar, and the John Mitchels player’s attempt was so strong that it was not hindered or forced wide by the block from her marker. Noone would add another one in a five minute spell that Lancashire utterly dominated possession and territory, but London would come back with their next attacking opportunity, as McCooey scored the next penalty directly from the spot this time, low to the keeper’s right.
They would get another goal through their fullforward Murphy after she again linked up well with club teammate Noonan for London’s seventh, and they would add another point through Morrissey after Gormely caught the ball left of goal to set up the Tir Chonaill Gaels player.
Murphy would get the next point, before Noonan would get a goal after Gormely’s shot was saved, and the roles were reversed soon afterwards when Noonan set up Gormely for her next point. A long ball from McCooey set Noonan up for another point, before a huge kick from Bridget Gallagher allowed the Fulham Irish player to get her name on the scoresheet.
Lancashire would get two more consolation points as the match came to a close, before London rounded off the game through a point from their captain.
Provincial chairman Tommie Donoghue said after the game that Lancashire are more than capable of testing their next opponents Derry despite the Britain final’s scoreline, and that the team were missing some key players. London have been hard at training since February after setting their sights on the British League title, while Lancashire’s preparations have started more recently.
Lancashire played well in spells and there is no denying that there is talent on the team, and Donoghue was quick to point out that it could mean an All British All Ireland final as London and Lancashire cannot meet before then.
LONDON: Lucy Hawkes, Catherine Barrett, Emma Sawyers, Shauna Henry, Ursula Murphy, Sarah Quinn, Kirby Gilgunn, Hannah Noonan (1-2), Helen Hughes (0-2), Sinead McCooey (2-2, 1 pen), Aine Gormely (0-4, 1f), Bridget Gallagher (0-1), Fiona Morrissey (1-3), Niamh Murphy (3-0), Gemma Taylor (0-2, 2f)
LANCASHIRE: Louise O’Neill, Claire Shaw, Niamh Cahill, Annie Ryan, Nichola Hurst, Siobhan Polly, Jeanette Maguire, Lauren Delaney, Ailish McLoughlin (0-1), Shaunagh Carderry, Brenda Barr (01,1f), Cliona Gannon, Danielle Farrell (2-1, 1f), Clodagh Gormley, Jen Noone (0-2)