A dominant second-half performance saw the Roscommon Ladies Football team defeat Limerick and qualify for Semi-Finals of the Lidl National Football League.
Played on a glorious Sunday afternoon in the splendid Staker Wallace GAA pitch near Kilmallack the Roscommon Ladies Football team, sponsored by Ward Bros, achieved the feat with a game to spare. This is a terrific achievement for the girls and their new management team under the guidance of Michael Finnernan and credit must be given to them.
Showing two changes from the original line up with Carol Manning taking her place in goal and Caoileann Beirne coming in for Tara Taylor in midfield Roscommon, unlike recent games, were slow to settle. Limerick started the strongest with a goal within three minutes from Mairead Kavanagh. Two pointed frees from Natalie McHugh in the tenth and eleventh minute brought it back to one point. In the twelfth minute a move involving three St. Ailbhes club players saw Limerick hit for goal number two, a long ball in from midfielder Caroline Hickey found her club mate Stephanie Carroll who offloaded to Mairead Kavanagh the powerful full forward blasted to the top corner. Roscommon’s response was swift the ball was gather out on the forty five meter line by Natalie McHugh and her defence splitting pass found Janney Higgins in front of goal and the Western Gaels player slotted the ball neatly under Cloda Kirby in the Limerick goals to leave it 1-02 to 2-0. A pointed Kavanagh free in the sixteenth minute put two between the sides again ironically this was to be the home sides last score of the game until the final minute of the second half as Roscommon settled into to the game particularly in the back lines and midfield areas. Natalie McHugh hit for Roscommon second goal in the twenty sixth minute the move started with a trade mark Caoileann Beirne catch in the middle of the park, the St. Marys player offloaded to Jenny Higgins who launched the ball in towards the limerick goal as McHugh gathered procession rounded her marker and cooly slotted past Kirby. Limerick didn’t give up the fight though, moments later Caroline Hickey gathered procession in the middle of the park, with a menacing run through the heart of the Roscommon defence she unleashed a but her booming goal bound kick but her effort was expertly saved by Manning in the Roscommon goals. Half time score Roscommon 2-02 Limerick 2-01.
Whatever words the Roscommon Ladies Football team Manager Michael Finneran said to his side in the dressing room at half-time certainly worked as the team out-scored their hosts by 1-9 to a solitary point.
Roscommon made one substitution at half time with Gillian Dufficy coming in for Eilish Fannon. Roscommon dominated in all sectors of the field the back line playing extremely well in particular the experienced Amanda McLoone, Aisling and Sinead Kenny.
Within thirty seconds of the restart Martina Freyne had extended Roscommon’s lead with a well taken point. Three minutes later Freyne hit for her second point of the afternoon as she watched her excellently struck point curl over the bar from about thirty five meters out on the left hand side. Roscommon were dealt a blow as their corner back Nicole Dolan who had settled well into the game had to be replaced due to concussion after receiving a knock to the head, she was replaced by Rachel Brady. A Natalie McHugh free extended Roscommon’s lead to four in the forty second minute following a foul on Jenny Higgins. Then Roscommon hit for goal number three in the forty fifth minute, Natalie McHugh gathered possession out on the forty five meter line as she launched a high ball in towards the Limeick goal the Kilglass player received a heavy challenge after the ball was delivered, the referee allowed the advantage and Jenny Higgins was on hand to palm the ball into the Limerick net. McHugh also had to be replaced also due to concussion concerns following the late tackle on the Roscommon Captain, she was replaced by Aoife Beades. Laura Flemming hit for two points in quick succession in the forty eight and ninth minutes extended the visitors lead to nine points. Further points Higgins fifty second minute and Sheila Brady (who replaced Rebecca Finan in the fifty second minute) extended Roscommon lead to eleven with five to go. Martina Freyne hit for her third point of the day in the fifty seventh minute. Kate Kennedy got Limericks only score of the half with a sweet point in the fifty ninth minute, but Jenny Downey put the dozen between the sides with a fine point in the second minute of injury time.
Full time score Roscommon 3-11 Limerick 2-2.
The Roscommon Ladies Football Team lined out as follows:
Carol Manning, Caroline Gunning, Amanda McLoone, Nicole Dolan, Aishling McAuliffe, Rochelle Mullanney, Sinead Kenny, Laura Flemming (0-02), Caoileann Beirne, Alice Kelly, Eilish Fannon, Jenny Higgins (2-01), Rabecca Finan, Natalie McHugh (1-03,3frees), Martina Freyne (0-03).
Subs: Karin Roddy, Aoife Beades, Sheila Brady(0-01), Gillian Dufficy, Tara Taylor, Rachel Brady, Bronagh McHugh, Joanne Cregg Jenny Downey(0-01).
Player of the match: Sinead Kenny the Roscommon wing back put in an excellent performance all afternoon ther was also superb performances from forwards Natalie McHugh, Jenny Higgins and Martina Freyne midfield Laura Flemming, backline Amanda McLoone, Aishling McAuliffe in the back line Carol Manning between the posts.
Best for the home side were Ingrid Laffan, Caroline Hickey, Mairead Kavanagh Stephanie Carroll.
Turning point: Carol Mannning’s excellent save just before halftime had this third goal gone in it could have made things much more difficult in the second half for the visitors.
What’s next? Wexford are the next opposition for the Roscommon Ladies Football Team. This final game of the group stage is scheduled for next Sunday at 2pm in Kiltoom. The team will be pushing for another victory to keep the momentum going prior to the League Semi-Final, which could be against the same opposition. The game will take place in Kiltoom at 2pm.