Match report from Carlow LGFA
Carlow Ladies Footballers draw with Offaly in Division 4 of the League.
1-14 to 3-08 was how it finished up.
This was a highly exciting encounter played at championship intensity. Carlow ladies played with the aid of a strong wind in the first half, but it was Offaly who opened the scoring after 17 seconds through Grainne Egan. Clíodhna Ní Shé replied with a pointed free after 4 mins.
Then disaster struck for Carlow when Marie Byrne bursted through the Carlow defence and blasted a superb shot into the net giving Nicole Hanley in goal no chance. Clíodhna Ní Shé with 2 more points and 3 points from the impressive Aoife Carey of Offaly left the score Offaly 1-4 Carlow 0-3 after 13 mins.
Then it looked really bad for Carlow when Marie Byrne struck for her second goal after 14 mins. But this Carlow team faced similar adversity against Limerick last week and gritted their teeth and came back into the game through 2 more points from Clíodhna Ní Shé and one from the very impressive Rachel Sawyer who tormented the Offaly defence with her searing runs throughout the game. Aibhe Kiernan of the minor team this year played a blinder in her senior debut and brought a great save on 21 mins from the Offaly goalie with her shot that was goal bound deflected over the bar.
Carlow got on top midway through the first half and really brought the game to Offaly, with the centre field pairing of Caoimhe O’Neill and Niamh Forde making strong driving runs through the middle. The half time score was Offaly 2-4 Carlow 0-9.
Carlow played into a strong wind in the second half and it looked mission impossible when after 6 mins Grainne Egan hit a goal and point and another point from Emma Maher to leave it Offaly 3-6 to Carlow 0-9. But once again Mark Keating’s team showed their never say die attitude and a brilliant passing move saw Clíodhna Ní Shé palm the ball into the net. Two more points from Grainne Egan & Clíodhna Ní Shé and a brilliant point from another impressive minor, Beth Evesson from the O’Hanrahan’s club left it 3-8 to 1-12.
The game was now being played from end to end and excitement was at fever pitch in O’Connor Park, Tullamore. Two further points from the irrepressible Clíodhna Ní Shé leveled matters. Carlow and Offaly had chances to win it in the last two mins, but Carlow’s peformance deserved at the very least a draw. This was a very impressive showing by the Carlow girls against Offaly who play in the intermediate championship and augurs well for the remainder of the league campaign where promotion is now a very realistic target.
Every one of the girls who played gave it their all, the character of the team is just tremendous and considering Carlow were without the influential Sarah Doyle of St Brigid’s the result was all the more impressive. Roll on our next league game v Derry the 23rd February in IT Carlow!!
Nicole Hanley (Old Leighlin), Amy Hanley (Old Leighlin), Anne Roche (Old Leighlin), Oonagh Fitzpatrick, (Fenagh), Antoinette Dowling (Fenagh), Ellen Atkinson (Old Leighlin), Aoibhinn Gilmartin (Old Leighlin), Niamh Forde (Old Leighlin), Caoimhe O’Neill (Old Leighlin), Maria Kinsella (Fenagh), Rachel Sawyer (Old Leighlin, 0-1), Aibhe Kiernan (Clonmore, 0-1), Beth Evesson (O’Hanrahan’s, 0-1), Clíodhna Ní Shé (Bennekerry/Tinryland, 1-11, 0-7 frees), Niamh Kelly (Bennekerry/Tinryland).
Subs: Niamh Murphy (St Anne’s) for Fitzpatrick (15 mins), Emer Cawley (O’Hanrahan’s) for Kelly (50 mins). Shannon Cotter (Bennekerry/Tinryland), Ellen Murphy (Fenagh), Anna Doyle (St Brigid’s), Jasmine Dowling (Eire Og), Aoibhinn Brennan (St. Anne’s), Sarah Doyle (Bennekerry/Tinryland),