St Killian’s Garron Tower 2-5 St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge 3-7
Fr Davies’ Cup holders St Killian’s Garron Tower will look back on this All-Ireland semi-final with Leinster champions, St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge and wonder how they came to be chasing the game for the last 20 minutes.
They got a great start with Siobhan McKillop’s effort at a point dipping viciously into the Rochfortbridge net after four minutes of play.
Four minutes later McKillop fired low but the goalie parried the shot and Ellen Leech followed through for a second Tower goal.
The Ulster champions went on to dominate general play for almost the entirety of the opening half, but crucially they didn’t put away enough of the chances they created.
Rochfortbridge lived on scraps for much of the opening half, yet went in just a point in arrears at the break, 2-3 to 2-2.
After they took the lead with a goal in the 38th minute the visitors to the Loup were fairly well composed, soaked up a lot of pressure that St Killian’s put on them but still tagged on points to see them over the line.
It was a disappointing end to a great campaign for the Tower girls, but even in defeat a number of them stood out, particularly the leadership Dervla Cosgrove and Laoise McKenna gave to youngsters like Gemma Black and Hannah McCann.
After that two goal start from the Tower, Rochfortbridge snatched a goal against the run of play with Hannah Core sneaking one in at the post after cutting in along the end-line.
Laoise McKenna kicked a point in reply and Sinead Convery blasted another to put the Tower five points up. However in the last five minutes of the half, Aoife Doherty created problems on the left side of the St Killian’s defence and the result was a 1-2 return on the scoreboard with only a point in return from Mary Kane.
At the start of the second half St Killian’s had several chances to add to their total, but only managed to register a point from Laoise McKenna.
With the referee now frustrating the Tower with some of his calls against them, Ciara O’Looney put over a free for the visitors before the key moment in the game in the 38th minute.
Tower full-back Ellen Hynds took possession of the sliotar, but was bundled over from behind for what looked an obvious foul. Instead the referee allowed play to continue and Jade McKeogh took advantage to fire high into the Tower net.
Sinead Convery blasted over from close range in reply for St Killian’s when a goal was a more likely possibility.
St Killian’s missed a couple of other goal chances over the next ten minutes, while at the other end, free-taker O’Looney popped over two points to stretch Rochfortbrifge’s lead.
In an effort to rescue the game, Dervla Cosgrove was pushed into attack and she brought a diving save from Edel Conaty, but no Tower forward got in quick enough to get the rebound over the line.
Then McKeogh, who had grown in stature after her goal, added two late insurance points to bring Rochfortbridge through to the final on March 5th where they meet Mercy Convent from Roscommon.
St Killian’s: Áine Duffin, Sian McNeill, Ellen Hynds, Gemma Black, Annie Leech, Dervla Cosgrove, Clodagh McCann, Laoise McKenna, Mary Kane, Ellen Leech, Sinead Convery, Hannah McCann, Aimee McDonnell, Siobhan McKillop, Dara Martin.
Subs: Louise Kane for A McDonnell, Megan McKillop for H McCann, Maeve Gillan for G Black.
St Joseph’s : Edel Conaty, Anna Weir, Meaghan Carroll capt., Aine Brady, Aoife O’Malley, Ruth O’Connor, Ellen Cronin, Laura Doherty, Ciara O’Looney 0-4 frees, Ava Balfe 1-0, Hannah Core 1-0, Aoife Doherty 0-1, K Coleman, J McKeogh 1-2, S Burke.
Referee : K O’Brien (Dublin).