WFAI National Cup 4th Round – Salthill Devon 1 Ballingarry 1 (Hayes 31) AET (BGarry win 4-1 pens)
It was the Ballingarry that left Galway singing Ay I Ay I Ay last Sunday as they progressed to the last four of the WFAI Women’s Cup and a meeting with Hanover Harps of Carlow.
Ballingarry almost went ahead after fifteen minutes when O Keeffe marauded down the left and her driven cross just evaded both Clancy and Hayes. O Keeffe was to torment her marker for the entire game with her powerful runs always a threat. It was a day that Nicole McNamara could well have had a hattrick. Once in the first half when the side netting was struck, once in the second half when she rounded the keeper only to see a magnificent goal line clearance save the day and once in extra time when the keeper denied her in a one on one.
When Salthill threatened to overrun Ballingarry in the second half with the wind in their favour they found the visiting defence magnificent. Both full backs, Saoifre Walsh and Abbie O Shea knew the threat posed from two lightening fast wingers and they respond in Trojan fashion with O Shea in particular one of the winners stand out players. The centrehalf pairing of Molly McCarthy and Laura McMahon were flawless in their protection of Keeper Ciara Houlihan who herself made a crucial save to parry the ball against the post, this in the first held when the sides were tied at 1.1. The home side had taken the lead after 29 minutes when a shot come cross from the left deceived Houlihan and the ball ended in the net. However a team is at its most vulnerable just after scoring and this was indeed the case as Ballingarry equalised within two minutes of the restart.
Leah Twomey combined with Anna Mullane to start the move from midfield combining with O Keeffe for Mullane to carry the ball into the box from where her fine cross was met first time by Sarah Hayes who had timed her arrival at the far post to perfection.
The second half saw Devon enjoy most of the possession but they found a Ballingarry rearguard in unbeatable form and indeed it was Ballingarry that had the better chances on the break. McNamara’s shot off the line was one while Clancy had a goal rule offside. Extra time arrived which presented two memorable moments. Abbie O Sheas clearance with the Devon player bearing down on goal and then the keeper’s brave denial of Nicole McNamara’s effort.
Safe to say that the penalty shootout was a display of nerves of steel from the Ballingarry players.
Keeper Houlihan saved the first two with the second a fine save while Amy O Keeffe, Nicole McNamara, Abbie Clancy and Sarah Hayes took the perfect spot kick.
4-1 on penalties saw Ballingarry make club history becoming the first side to carry the famous Green and Gold into a National semi final.
Saturday February 9th
Desmond Youth Cup Quarter Final – Ballingarry v Ferry Rangers ( W/O to Ballingarry)
Sunday February 10th
Desmond Cup Round 1 – Ballingarry 3 (Forde 2, Hartnett) Rockhill Rvs 0
Ladies Premier Division – Ballingarry 2 (Mullane, Noonan) Breska Rvs 1