Sunday April 3rd 2016
Ladies Premier Division – Rathkeale 1 Ballingarry 3 (O’Gorman 2, Shire)
Ballingarry secured their 3rd ladies league on Sunday last in what has been the closest, most competitive league in years. Three teams had a chance of winning the league trophy before kick off, with numerous permutations involving Ballingarry, Rathkeale and Breska Rovers to be played out over the hour and a half.
Rathkeale started strongly and were first to threaten backed by a strong home crowd. Ballingarry defenders Jennifer Lee and Theresa Mulcaire snuffed out two promising chances for the home side with excellent defending. In the 15th minute the games first real chance appeared with Claire Gohery who was fantastic all game, squaring a low cross, only for Stephanie Anderson’s effort to roll wide.
Ballingarry’s keeper Orla Keating saved from long range on the half hour mark before a pivotal moment in the game. Ballingarry’s dangerous right winger Alison White went off with an injury and was replaced by the iconic Mary Shire.
This change seemed to galvanise the away team, driven on by Shire’s aggression and they dominated the last 15 minutes of the first half. Another great Ballingarry chance came when Anderson crossed low after beating two players only for the Rathkeale keeper to save, pushing Joanne O’Gorman’s effort out for a corner.
The second half was only minutes old when Rathkeale broke the deadlock. Fantastic solo play from striker Lyons, saw her beat three defenders and send a cracking drive into the top corner, off the fingertips of Keating.
Ballingarry rallied impressively led on by captain Emer Hickey winning challenge after challenge. Just on the hour Fiona Hickey put a beautiful through ball into the path of Ballingarry’s potent striker O’Gorman and she finished with style. 1-1. Ballingarry now had the wind in their sails and after more pressure won a corner after great work from stylish winger Kristy Carroll. O’Gorman delivered expertly and Mary Shire rose highest to fire home a bullet header.
Rathkeale dug deep and pressed Ballingarry back for the next 10 minutes with Deborah Murphy particularly influential. With just 5 minutes left Ballingarry’s centre half Crotty won another brilliant header. The ball fell to O’Gorman in midfield and the rest was pure audacity. O’Gorman spotted the Rathkeale keeper off her line and from just inside her own half volleyed the ball into the net from close to 50 yards.
It was a fitting finish to what was one of the most exciting leagues in the Ladies’ Desmond League history. Congratulations to the Ballingarry team, manager Aidan Lynch and super trainer Gary Shanahan. Without his input and motivation this league win would not have materialised and also to Darragh O’Grady who was always willing to step in at the training pitch when needed.
Team: Orla Keating, Jennifer Lee, Emer Hickey (c), Sarah Crotty, Theresa Mulcaire, Fiona Hickey, Alison White (Mary Shire 30), Kristy Carroll (Mags Lynch 85), Joanne O’Gorman, Claire Gorey, Stephanie Anderson.
Subs: Marie O’Grady, Aine Tagney.
Other Results: Monday April 4th – Under 11 Division 1 – AK Utd 3 Ballingarry 1
Tuesday April 5th – Under 14 Division 1 – Ballingarry 4 (Casey, Geary, Lynch, Sheahan) Granagh Utd 1