Sensational Katie stars in Division 4 final win
Sensational Katie Murphy scored 7-4 as Rathgarogue-Cushinstown powered past Slaney Gaels to take the ladies' football Under-14 Division 4 championship title in St. Patrick's Park.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown 8-9 Slaney Gaels 2-4
The winners' captain was in remarkable form, scoring 3-3 in the opening half before following it with 4-1 after the break. The all-around game of Murphy was exceptional but she wasn't alone in impressing for her side.
Centre-back Orlaith Gaffney was magnificent, sweeping up and clearing the danger time and again. She led a defence that tackled consistently and with strength. The full-back line was superb, winning their individual battles but also defending in numbers when the opportunity arose.
Despite Murphy ending up as top scorer, she was undoubtedly helped by those around her. Six other Rathgarogue-Cushinstown players registered scores and all eight, between midfield and attack, were all involved in the creative side of their play.
It took just 20 seconds for Murphy to race 30 yards and smash a shot to the Sarsfields/St. Mary's (Maudlintown) net. She shot wide seconds later but with less than 90 seconds on the clock she had her second major, after another superb finish.
Christina Barron tapped over from Niamh O'Shea's pass to make it 2-1 to nil before Murphy completed her hat-trick in the eighth minute when Sinéad O'Brien's ball broke off Caoimhe Cowman in her direction.
Slaney Gaels put on a little pressure and pulled two points back through Rhianne Fox. Ellie Nugent popped over on the counter-attack but the momentum was slowly building. Sophie Bergin cut in to net while Fox added a free to make it 3-2 to 1-3.
A quick burst of three Murphy points looked to send Rathgarogue-Cushinstown in comfortably ahead but Slaney Gaels had other ideas. They got themselves back into the game when Chloe Fortune found the net from Latisha Cullen's pass.
Strangely, the influential Cullen was moved back to full-back after the break and the Gaels were never the same attacking threat in the second-half. They managed just a Molly Donohue point as Rathgarogue-Cushinstown completely dominated.
Murphy shot low to the net for her fourth major shortly after the re-start. Following a Tara Nolan minor, she added her fifth to end the third quarter on a high (5-6 to 2-3). The sixth came from the penalty spot after substitute Cora McGrath was dragged down.
A deserved point for Gaffney was followed by the best team goal of the game with Fiona Lyng finishing a move that started back with Katelyn Carthy. Another 1-1 from magnificent Murphy came in the last ten minutes and Niamh O'Shea put the finishing touches on the win with the final score.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Gráinne O'Neill; Ella Foley, Jemma Martin, Becky Delaney; Katelyn Carthy, Orlaith Gaffney (0-1), Jessica Sutton; Sinéad O'Brien, Niamh O'Shea (0-1); Christina Barron (0-1), Katie Murphy (capt., 7-4, 1-0 pen.), Fiona Lyng (1-0); Ellie Nugent (0-1), Tara Nolan (0-1), Caoimhe Cowman. Subs. - Cora McGrath for Nolan (46), Elaine Aspel for Martin (54), also Lilly Somers.
Slaney Gaels: Rachel Farrell (joint capt.); Abbie Furlong, Alannah Wallace, Laoise Crowley; Catherine O'Sullivan, Urte Valanciute, Katie Whelan; Muirinn Carty, Sophie Bergin (1-0); Leiah O'Rourke, Latisha Cullen, Allanna Carley; Molly Donohue (0-1 free), Rhianne Fox (joint capt., 0-3, 1 free), Chloe Fortune (1-0). Subs. - Eabha Carty for O'Sullivan (31), Róisín Stafford for M. Carty (31), Rhianna Ryan for Valanciute (51), Niamh Carty for Fortune (57), Niamh Ryan for Bergin (57), also Rachel Furlong, Aisling Shipsey, Amber Murphy, Orlaigh Lynam.
Referee: George Dee (Taghmon-Camross).