St.Brides 3-16 St.Mochtas 3-15
What a wonderful game of football we witnessed in Stabannon on Sunday afternoon as St.Brides clinched a place in the final against holders Geraldines.
The Knockbridge side won by a point but that only tells part of the story in a game that had it all. From the first whistle to the last we saw two teams adopting an attacking approach.
Brides dominated the first half and led by twelve points at the end of it , Mochtas performed heroics to be level after fifty minutes but it was the Red and White clad team who prevailed as the outstanding Amy McNally slotted over the winner in the the fourth minute of added on time. There was still time for more drama as Mochtas were awarded a late free but Aoife Byrne saw her effort strike a post and roll agonisingly along the line before being cleared by Ciera Laverty in the last action of the game.
Brides got the start their manager Fra Fagan would have been hoping for as Amy McNally was fouled within 30 seconds of the throw-in and referee James Carroll had no hesitation in awarding a penalty which Rebecca Hilliard brilliantly slotted into the bottom corner giving goalkeeper Niamh Kirk no chance.
McNally who was superb throughout this match added two further points before her side took a firm grip on the contest as a high centre from Sarah Fegan was fisted to the net by her sister Lily giving Brides a 2-04 to 0-00 lead after just eleven minutes. Two minutes later in their first real attack Eimear Byrne fired over for Mochtas.
The Louth Village side were given further reason for hope just before the water break when Roisin Crawley saw her fine finish nestle the net. 2-6 to 1-2.
After McNally and Eimear Byrne swapped points Brides had another goal chance when Aisling Noonan sent over with just the keeper to beat. They didn’t have to wait too long for the third goal however as following good work by Ruth Hanna and Bronagh McArdle, Lily Fegan netted from close range. Mochtas, who lost key defender Dearbhla O’Connor through injury late in the half, did have the last say with points from Aoife Byrne and Laura Kieran leaving Brides in the driving seat 3-11 to 1-05 ahead at the interval.
Two Emma McArdle points extended the lead after the restart but backed by the breeze, points from Lauren Kieran, Aoife and Eimear Byrne give the yellow and blue outfit renewed belief. That belief turned to confidence when Aoife Byrne rose highest to punch to the net, followed quickly by a point from sub Leah Farrelly 3-13 to 1-09.
Lauren Kieran, Eimear Byrne, Kayla Byrne and Aoife Byrne then all raised white flags to reduce the defecit to just a goal at the water break.
The short break didn’t disrupt the Mochtas momentum after Ciera Laverty did well to keep out an Eimear Byrne shot Christine Carolan was on hand knock the ball into the net in the follow up (3-13 to 3-13)
Brides came back strongly and after Emma McArdle had evaded her marker and seemed certain to score, the match official called back play much to the annoyance of the player. McArdle restored the lead from the free and from the resultant kick out Eimear Byrne fielded brilliantly, her pass found Laura Kieran who smashed a shot against the crossbar with Carolan again converting in the follow up play. Ellen McBride and Carolan swapped points in an exciting finish before McNally’s late score from a free ensured Brides their passage to next weekend’s decider.
St. Brides; Ciera Laverty, Niamh Sweeney, Rebecca Hilliard, 1-00, Karen Gogarty, Niamh Bailey, caoimhe hoey, Niamh Belton, Ailish Noonan, 0-01, Kate Wynn, Aimee McNally, 0-06, Sarah Fegan, Kerri O’Connor, Bronagh Mcardle 0-01,Lily Fegan, 2-01, Emma McArdle 0-06. Subs used; Ellen McBride 0-01,
St.Mochtas;Niamh Kirk, Layra McDonnell, Dearbhla O’Connor, Kayleigh Hoey, Caitlin Curley, Sarah Englishby, Lauren Kieran, Aoife Byrne, 1-04, Eimear Byrne, 0-03, Ciara Callan, Katie Rafferty, Kayla Byrne, 0-01, Roisin Crawley, 1-00, Laura Kieran, 0-03, Nadine Muckian. Subs used; Christine Carolan 1-02 Leah Farrelly 0-01, Grace O’Reilly