All-Ireland Ladies Club Football (JFC) Semi-Final
Emmett Og: 4-10
Dunedin Connollys: 1-9
Dunedin ladies challenge for All-Ireland Intermediate honours ended among the drumlins of North Monaghan on Saturday last as hosts Emmett Og proved too strong for the Edinburgh side.
A chill wind blew down from the rolling hills that shaped this scribe’s very being and Connolly’s failure to make the most of it in the opening half would prove costly.
With a large home support behind them, Emmett Og pressed forward early on but tenacious defending by Sarah McEvoy and her colleagues restricted them to a single point in the opening five minutes, a free from Laura Boylan.
The visitors soon found their stride and Sue O Sullivan got her side’s opener after seven minutes in which Karen Feeney quickly followed up.
Pressing up on Darine Morgan’s kick-outs was proving effective and by the end of the first quarter, Mhairi Harper and another from O Sullivan had put the visitors three ahead.
O’Sullivan, Feeney, Rosanne Heeley and Miriam Crowley were to the fore in most of the good work. Their details are dominance wasn’t to last though as the Ulster champions worked their way back into the game and the ball carrying strength of Chloe McBride and Ellen McCarron posed a constant threat.
The former drew a free which Laura Boylan converted followed by the latter shooting over from out on the left. Mairead Vaughan capitalised on a defensive error to restore the gap to two.
A significant moment arrived just inside the final ten minutes of the half when captain Feeney was sin-binned and Dunedin were forced onto the back foot.
As in the opening minutes they defended heroically and indeed made a quick break for Vaughan to hit her second point. The dam broke through as the clock ran down when McBride finished off another surging run by rifling the ball to the roof of the net.
It got worse for the Scottish side when McBride again orchestrated a move which ended with McCarron drilling the ball home. Suddenly a three-point lead was a three-point deficit as they went in for the break.
Laura Boylan struck for a home point immediately from the restart but quickly Rosanne Heeley and Caoilfhionn Deeney reduced the gap to two from placed balls.
Already having to deal with the strong wind Connolly’s were hit by another irresistible force Ellen McCarron comes from pedigree stock, daughter of two-time all-star Ray and sister of current Monaghan star Jack she ripped through the visitors’ defence to hit a goal and two points in a two-minute blitz.
McBride and Bridin Tierney added points and a sublime effort from Boylan more or less put the game to bed.
The All Britain champions continued to display all the pride and character that brought them this far and Sue Sullivan netted after Deeney’s free came off the bar ten minutes out but the winners had the barricades in place to see the game safely out.
They broke away to hit a last-minute goal from McBride and the day was done
It has been a splendid season for Dunedin ladies and they can walk away from here with their heads high after a battling display. The quality of their play has earned many plaudits and the emergence of young local talents such as Emily Hutson and Mhairi Harper bodes for a very promising future.
Emmett Og: Darine Morgan, Rebecca Hughes, Aine McQuaid, Katie Anita Newell, Nicole Rooney, Chloe McBride(2-1), Maeve Monaghan, Marion McCarville, Ella Daly, Ellen Leonard, Ellen McCarron(2-3), Kerry Nolan, Fearne Monaghan, Bridin Tierney(0-1), Laura Boylan (0-5,3f)
Subs: Charlotte McMenamin for Kerry Nolan.
Dunedin Connollys: Sinead Loftus, Emily Hutson, Sarah McEvoy, Aisling Rogerson, Kate Reidy, Joanne McCormick, Ellen Kelly, Rosanna Heeney(0-1f),Miriam Crowley, Karen Feeney(0-1),Sue O Sullivan(1-3),Mhairi Harper(0-1),Ann Marie Leen, Caoilfhionn Deeney(0-1,f),Mairead Vaughan(0-2)
Subs: Laura Sinnott for Mairead Vaughan.