Tinryland Bennekerry 3-08
Old Leighlin 2-04
Bennekerry Tinryland are the 2021 Carlow ladies football county champions after a seven-point victory against Old Leighlin in IT Carlow on Saturday.
2021 Zucar golden boot winner Clíodhna Ní Shé starred throughout a tight affair and her tally of 2-03 proved vital in giving her side a memorable victory.
The Bennekerry Tinryland full forward opened the scoring with an early free in what was the only score of a tentative opening 10 minutes.
Centre forwards Rachel Sawyer and Roisin Byrne exchanged well-taken points from play prior to the first half water break. A Sawyer free from left of the goal was much-needed for the talented Old Leighlin forward following two efforts that had gone astray as she equalised midway through the half, 0-02 to 0-02.
That Sawyer free would be the final score of the half for Old Leighlin as they lost control of the game in what would prove a costly period for them, but a rewarding 15 minutes for Tinryland Bennekerry.
Corner forward Leah Mullins laid the ball off 30 metres from goal to Ní Shé who promptly got her first point from play. The intercounty star duly added another free to double her side’s lead.
However, the Trinity College student would leave her mark on this game either side of half-time.
Ní Shé won a penalty for her side after she was dragged back in the small square. She composed herself to take the penalty in first half additional time and strike low and hard to Old Leighlin goalkeeper Nicole Hanley’s right, giving Tinryland Bennekerry a 1-04 to 0-02 lead at the interval.
Ní Shé’s second was a goal more than worthy of gracing a game of this magnitude. Playing deeper than her number 14 jersey would suggest throughout the decider, Ní Shé picked the ball up close to the Old Leighlin ’65 and drove at a hapless defence before making no mistake with her left foot shot as she placed the ball across Hanley.
That gave them a 2-04 to 0-02 lead that Old Leighlin ultimately could not reduce as their opponents sat back in a rigid defensive shape for the remainder of the second half.
Old Leighlin did respond with a goal of their own and a point from corner forward Jenny Sawyer left a six-point gap between the teams entering the final quarter 2-06 to 1-03.
Two incredible long-range points from full back Fiona O’Sullivan extended Tirnyland Bennekerry’s lead once more and despite a Sawyer goal briefly gettinng her side back into the game, it would not be enough for Old Leighlin.
Centre forward Roisin Byrne, who finished with a personal tally of 1-02, found the back of the net with a close range finish and split the posts with another effort as Tinryland Bennekerry proved too strong and were deservedly crowned champions after a fine display.