Saturday May 7th
Ballingarry AFC Ladies retained the Limerick Desmond District Ladies Premier league cup in Askeaton on Saturday evening by defeating neighbours Rathkeale by the narrowest of margins. Right from the kick off Rathkeale took the game to Ballingarry in an effort to avenge their defeat on the last day of the league campaign which handed the league title to Ballingarry, their second title in three seasons. But Ballingarry’s management team had their homework done from that last encounter and to ensure that threat posed from the Rathkeale strike force of Lyons and Naughton would be nullified, reinstated Moynihan at center half, who was excellent throughout. In fact Ballingarry can be very greatful to its defensive unit of Moynihan, Hickey, Lee and the outstanding Mulcaire, between them restricted the opposition to little or no clear scoring chance despite having the lions share of possession in the first half. In fact, it took Ballingarry 20 minutes to establish a foothold on the game thanks largely to the tough tackling of Quaid and excellent work rate of White in midfield, and got their first shot in anger on the 25th minute when Quaid shot wide from distance after she was set up by O’Gorman. Naughtons angled shot was just wide soon after for Rathkeale and Moynihan had to be on her toes to stop Lyons on the edge of the box as she was bearing down on goal. Confusion in the box between Mulcaire and Moynihan almost presented Rathkeale with an opening but Mulcaire recovered well to avert the danger.
The second half brought changes to the line out for Ballingarry with Shire and Neary introduced for Gohery and Lee. Neary slotted in seamlessly at right full, and one felt that Shire’s craft and experience in midfield would swing the balance of possession, and so it did, as she contested every ball as if her life depended on it. A switch that would lift the entire team as only she can. With nether keeper troubled in the first half that pattern was to continue through the second half. 12 minutes into the half Davis tried her luck from long range for Rathkeale but the ball sailed over. Ballingarry had to endure another spell of pressure with the energetic Murphy pulling the strings for Rathkeale. O’Gorman and White did carve out an opening on 65 minutes following a good counter attack but the Rathkeake keeper did well to keep the game scoreless. With 75 minutes on the clock and extra time looming, Quaid was upended 30 yards from goal after a good run. O’Gorman took charge of the free kick, and her dipping shot was spilled by the Rathkeale defence, where Anderson was on hand to slot home from close range. For the remaining 5 minutes or so Rathkeale laid siege on the Ballingarry but could not find the equaliser.
And so with the double now secured Ballingarry will now turn their focus to a possible treble when they face Rathkeale again next weekend in the Desmond Ladies Cup Final.
Team : C Murphy, J Lee, E Hickey, T Mulcaire, Y Moynihan, A White, C Gorey, E Quaid, S Anderson, J O’Gorman, K Carroll.
Subs: M Shire, E O’Grady, F Hickey, O Keating, S Crotty, A Neary, M O’Grady, A Tagney.