The Roscommon Ladies Football Intermediate side, sponsored by Ward Bros, returned to league action yesterday (Sunday) and against the odds came away with a terrific draw against a very fancied home side.<4>
By: Ollie Colgan
Played on an astro surface at the Meath GAA Centre of Excellence, in Dunganny, Roscommon were forced to make a change before the game started with chief scorer Natalie McHugh being replaced by Alice Kelly. This was a very keenly fought contest from start to finish and the game ebbed and flowed throughout. Roscommon were first off the mark after just thirty seconds with a fine point on the run from Jenny Higgins. Ailbhe McHugh levelled matters second later before Caoileann Beirne restored the lead for the visitors in the third minute. Moments later Joanne Cregg pounced for Roscommon’s first goal as she flicked the ball past Orlaigh McLoughlin after Sinead Kenny’s attempt at a point dropped short. Marie Keogh and Fiona O’Neill hit a point apiece to bring Roscommon’s lead back to two, before Jenny Higgins hit for her second point of the afternoon in the tenth minute.
The sides swapped points for the remainder of the half. Roscommon points coming from Aishling McAuliffe (2) Caoileann Beirne, and Gillian Dufficy, Meath scores coming from Emma White (2) Fiona O’Neill and Niamh O’Sullivan. At half-time it stood Roscommon 1-7 Meath 0-7.
Meath were a warded a very dubious penalty in the fifth minute of the second half which was expertly dispatched by Emma White to draw level. Moments later The Royals took the lead for the first time of the game and Roscommon were on the back foot. Second half substitute Jenny Downey levelled matters in the forty fifth minute with a pointed free, but Emma white restored the hosts lead minutes later. But the Rossies rallied, driven on by the extremely hard working Jenny Higgins, her endeavours were rewarded when her drive towards goal saw her dragged down inside the small square and the resulting penalty was expertly dispatched by Jenny Downey. Joanne Cregg put three between the sides in the 55th minute and it looked like the visitors were going to push on and take the points on offer.
However, it was the Meath ladies who finished the stronger and three unanswered points from White, O’Sullivan and second half substitute Megan Thynne levelled matters before referee P Bourke blew the full time whistle and both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.
It ended Roscommon 2-9 Meath 1-12.
The Roscommon Ladies Football Team lined out as follows:
Karin Roddy, Caroline Gunning, Amanda McLoone, Rachel Brady, Aishling McAuliffe, Bronagh McHugh, Sinead Kenny, Joanne Cregg, Tara Taylor, Caoileann Beirne, Gillian Dufficy, Jenny Higgins, Rabecca Finan, Alice Kelly, Sheila Brady.
Subs: Carol Manning, Natalie McHugh, Aoirf Beades, Jenny Downey, Rachel Corcoran, Eilish Fannon, Msrtina Freyne, Ellen Hegarty, Rochelle Mullanney, Nicole Dolan, Rachel Fitzmaurice, Sinead Farrell.
Player of the match: Jenny Higgins the Roscommon wing forward worked tirelessly all afternoon and was a constant thorn in Meath side form the throw in. Other who worked hard for Roscommon goalkeeper Karin Roddy, Aishling McAuliffe, Joanne Cregg, Tara Taylor, Sinead Kenny, Amanda McLoone, Bronagh McHugh and second half substitute Jenny Downey.
Best for the home side Niamh O’Sullivan, Fiona O’Neill, Emma White, Ailbhe McHugh, Vikki Wall.
Turning point: Very dubious penalty awarded to Meath in the fifth minute of second half.
Talking point: Why a competitive league game being played on AstroTurf pitch while three perfect natural grass pitches lay idle.
Key Moment: Jenny Downey’s spot kick with ten minutes to go, it got Roscommon right back into the game just as it appeared to be slipping away from them
What’s next? Roscommon take on Down in Kilglass on Saturday at 2pm. This is a vital game for the Rossies they really need to be getting something out off as they strive for a promotion push while also cementing their position in the league.