Foley brings title to town
Corner-forward's brilliance the key to Clonard/Vols win
Rebecca Foley tore St. Martin's to shreds as her Clonard/Volunteers combo side took the ladies' football Intermediate championship crown in Taghmon on Sunday.
Clonard/Volunteers 2-7 St. Martin's 0-7
Corner-forward Foley proved completely unstoppable, certainly by legal means, for the Piercestown-based side with a stunning display of pace and confident possession-running in really tricky, wet conditions.
Involved in all but one of her side's scores, Foley also added 1-3 herself, with a clinically-taken second Clonard/Vols goal leaving last season's beaten finalists in the mire once again.
She went around her marker and then almost past goalkeeper Aoife McAuliffe in the opening minutes but the St. Martin's stopper did enough to put Foley off her shot and she fired wide.
When Foley was fouled on the right, Niamh Butler tapped over the resulting free to make it 0-1 to nil in the ninth minute. Yet St. Martin's had a good spell with the breeze, especially after Cara McDonald was sin-binned.
Rachael Bridges tapped over the free for that foul on St. Martin's most dangerous attacking weapon, Emma Codd. They went 0-2 to 0-1 up when Eleanor Kehoe pointed, ignoring the free Muireann Byrne for the safe score.
Again Foley was fouled and Butler made no mistake, levelling the contest in the 21st minute. Foley cut in from the right, laid off to Eimear Buckley and she fired a low, perfectly-placed shot past McAuliffe.
St. Martin's hit back with the next three points to leave the game deadlocked at the break (1-2 to 0-5). Codd picked off a lovely individual score from the right and soon added another after good work by Bridges.
The leveller came courtesy of a fine run and score from Kehoe, after taking a long Aoife Waters punt forward two minutes before the interval. Clonard/Volunteers enjoyed the first few minutes of the second-half as they built a lead.
Foley got her first point, a contentious one that seemed to hit the crossbar and the upright, and followed it with a fantastic individual goal, slicing in from the left corner and smashing an unstoppable shot high to the St. Martin's net.
Sarah Byrne's 30-metre minor made it 2-4 to 0-5 in the 37th minute. However, the Wexford town combo didn't score again for 22 minutes as St. Martin's completely dominated territorially.
Yet the scores that advantage demanded didn't materialise. Bridges tapped over a free after she was fouled in the 43rd minute. Natasha Walsh then made a fine save from lively substitute Becky Hamilton.
Bridges put a goal between the sides with her third point in the 54th minute (2-4 to 0-7). Ellen Barrett, finding herself in an advanced position, chipped a half-chance wide of the left post and St. Martin's never went close again.
Clonard/Volunteers slowly got some play in their opponents' half and the result was inevitable. Foley kicked two stunning points in 60 seconds before setting up Butler for the championship clincher in added time. Clonard/Volunteeers will now play the Wicklow winners on September 10.
The day, undoubtedly, belonged to Rebecca Foley, a player the next Wexford manager will need to take a good, long look at in next season's National League campaign.
Clonard/Volunteers: Natasha Walsh; Nicole Guerrine, Danielle Chin, Chloe Bates; Leanne Brennan, Aoife Tormey (capt.), Cara McDonald; Niamh Buckley (vice capt.), Laura Bruen; Niamh Tormey, Eimear Buckley (1-0), Diane Leniston; Sara Byrne (0-1), Niamh Butler (0-3, 2 frees), Rebecca Foley (1-3). Subs. - Lauren Roche for Guerrine (45), Julia Dempsey for Leniston (47), Lorraine Sludds for McDonald (53), also Gemma McManus, Ciara O'Riordan, Eimear Hore, Shauna Gleeson, Trudy Downey, Eve Hession, Sally Walker, Sarah Siggins, Shirley Roche, Ciara Brennan, Aoife Dwyer, Aoife Corkery.
St. Martin's: Aoife McAuliffe; Gráinne Waters, Lauren Carty, Ellen Barrett; Elsa McDermott, Aoife Waters (capt.), Mary Barrett; Lesley Bates, Katie O'Connor; Emma Codd (0-2), Aisling Cronin, Amy Cardiff; Rachael Bridges (0-3, 2 frees), Muireann Byrne, Eleanor Kehoe (0-2). Subs. - Becky Hamilton for Cardiff, temp. (20-25), Mary Carroll for McDermott (35), Hamilton for Byrne (43), Kate Devereux for Kehoe (59), also Caoimhe Dunne, Rosie Nolan, Megan Carty, Katie Lawlor, Kate Frayne, Rachel Cantwell, Rachel Kehoe, Jane Barrett, Shannon Meade, Aisling McAuliffe, Gabby Clarkson.
Referee: Niall McDonald (Crossabeg-Ballymurn).