The team had their first hiccup in the quest for championship glory when they were pipped by a last-gasp Buffers Alley goal in Monamolin on Monday 19 August. Four minutes and 55 seconds of added time had been played when a ’45 taken by county player Sorcha Foley went all the way to the net as the darkness set in. We had one last chance to equalise which went wide before the full time whistle was sounded after a half lasting 35 minutes and 42 seconds. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong end of a 3-4 to 1-9 scoreline, but the girls know that they are able to compete with the best of them in this grade.
It was a tight game throughout with Shauna Kelly picking off a quick point before Buffers Alley hit the front with a goal in the fifth minute. However, we responded well as points from Jessie Harding and Niamh Walsh (free) brought us level.
A converted Alley free was cancelled out by Jessie, with Shauna adding two more points, one from a placed ball, before the home side hit back to leave us ahead by 0-6 to 1-2 after 23 minutes. Buffers Alley goalkeeper Rachel O’Leary was proving nigh on unbeatable in a repeat of last year’s contest between the teams at the same venue, but we finally rattled the net in the first-half of added time courtesy of Jessie before a pointed free from our rivals left us three ahead at half-time (1-6 to 1-3)
While our backs defended very well for the most part throughout the second period, with Niamh Walsh, Sarah Harding-Kenny and Larah Campbell to the fore, it was frustrating at the other end as we chalked up nine wides to bring our overall tally to twelve. We also lost Linzi Lanigan at a critical stage after shipping an accidental heavy knock at a time when the sides were level.
Just two points were added in the third quarter, with an Alley effort cancelled out by a Shauna Kelly free in the 45th minute (1-7 to 1-4). The home side then levelled from a goal but we responded well as points from Shauna and Jessie Harding gave us a precarious 1-9 to 2-4 lead as the time ticked away. It was frustrating to put it mildly when victory was snatched from our grasp so late in the game, but we have to move on and focus on our two last games as the target of reaching the semi-finals remains.
Team as follows: Mikaela Lanigan, Megan Murphy, Chloe Mahon, Sarah Harding-Kenny, Linzi Lanigan, Niamh Walsh (capt, 0-1 free), Larah Campbell, Zoe O’Leary, Leanne Corrigan, Jessica Sinnott, Shauna Kelly (0-5, 2 frees), Eleanor Lacey, Roisin Walsh, Jessie Harding (1-3), Katie Lacey. Subs: Enya Byrne for K Lacey, Jenny Murphy for R Walsh, Roisin Doolan for L Lanigan inj, also Anna Whelan.
Five teams are fighting for the four semi-final spots: ourselves, Buffers Alley, Castletown, Craanford-Monaseed and Naomh Eanna. We have been involved in three tight games now, beating Castletown by a point, drawing with Craanford-Monaseed and losing to Buffers Alley by a point. We have two games left to play, away to Oylegate/Glebrien and at home to Naomh Eanna, and that clash with the Gorey girls will go a long way towards determining those semi-final placings.