Clean sweep for Parnells Ladies

Parnells Ladies Gaelic football team complete clean sweep

Ladies Senior League Final

Parnells 7-10
Holloway Gaels 3-06

By Damian Dolan
at Greenford

Parnells Ladies completed a clean sweep in London by adding the Senior League title to their trophy haul, but they were made to work for it by a spirited Holloway Gaels side.

With the Intermediate Championship and Mary Feehan Cup already in the bag, as well three sevens competitions including an All Ireland, victory means Parnells rounded their year off on a winning note.

Their Provincial semi-final exit at the hands of Dunedin Connollys, however, was the one blemish, and the overwhelming disappointment of a season most clubs would look upon with unbridled envy.

It was Parnells’ first outing since that loss, while Holloway themselves were missing a few key players, but deploying two sweepers they frustrated Parnells in the opening quarter.

Time and time again the foraging blue shirts were smothered by a hard-working red sea in the final third, and the ball overturned.

Parnells Ladies Gaelic football team complete clean sweep

After 18 minutes, Holloway led 0-2 to 0-1 before their world caved in around them as Parnells conjured two goals in a four-minute spell.

First, All Ireland Junior Player of the Year nominee Lisa Cafferky buried a free into the top left-hand corner of the goal, past the plethora of red shirts on the goal-line, and then Rebecca Mills finished a fine solo run by planting one into the opposite corner of Sheila Walsh’s net.

Five minutes later it got even worse for Holloway when Shauna Munnelly drifted into space on the right, and when picked out placed her low shot into the far corner past Walsh.

It seemed like the floodgates were about to open, but Holloway hit back immediately when Cliona Twohig got a toe to the ball to nick it past the onrushing Maria King, before finishing into an empty net.

Parnells Ladies Gaelic football team complete clean sweep

Only the alertness of King, who was quick off her line to save well at the feet of Maria McClure, prevented Holloway from adding a second goal, and Parnells took at 3-2 to 1-4 lead into half-time.

Cafferky wasted no time at the start of the second half in increasing Parnells’ lead, but Holloway were still very much up for the contest and Marian O’Donnell read Niamh O’Brien’s pass, and she set up McClure to beat King from close range.

When Trish McCarthy pointed the gap was down to just one, but that was as close as Holloway would get.

Cafferky and Renee Murphy picked their way through the Holloway defence for the former to claim her second goal of the game, and Parnells’ fourth.

Holloway were unlucky to see Marion O’Donnell’s shot come back off the Parnells’ crossbar, and when Catriona McGahan then added goal number five Parnells finally had breathing space, and a 5-5 to 2-5 lead.

Parnells Ladies Gaelic football team complete clean sweep

Goal number six came courtesy of the excellent Murphy who got the goal her performance deserved, but while the game may have gone Holloway never stopped working and in McClure and Marian O’Donnell they always posed a threat, and the duo combined for the latter to goal.

All that was left was for Cafferky to complete for hat-trick in injury-time, and for captain Polly Marmion to lift the Joe Fryday Cup.

Parnells: Maria King; Nicole O’Brien, Niamh O’Brien, Choimhe O’Grady; Renee Murphy (1-1), Ciara Dempsey, Polly Marmion; Helen Hughes, Hannah Noonan; Rebecca Mills (1-0), Aoife Herbert, Sinead Carroll; Catriona McGahan (1-4, 2f), Lisa Cafferky (3-5, 1-1f), Shauna Munnelly (1-0). Subs: Shannon Daly for Munnelly.

Holloway Gaels: Sheila Walsh; Aine Maguire, Sylvia O’Sullivan, Martha Jordan; Emma Shorthall, Karen Treacy, Clare Cullen; Trish McCarthy (0-1), Cliona Twohig (1-2); Caroline McKay, Emma McShane, Enya O’Donnell; Mary-Ellen Cannon (0-1), Maria McClure (1-1), Marian O’Donnell (1-1, 1f). Subs: Sarah Malone for Enya O’Donnell, Aishling Clifford for Marian O’Donnell.

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