Seventh heaven for Shels
Shelmalier get the better of Brave Clonee in Senior county decider
Despite hanging around like a annoying wasp, Shelmalier were eventually able to swat away Clonee and take the Wexford Ladies senior football championship title for the seventh time in a row at Farmleigh on Saturday evening last.
Shelmalier 3-12 Clonee 4-5
The damage was mostly inflicted in the first quarter, with the Hollymount side building a 2-5 to nil lead playing some superb, intricate football around their opponents goal. A slow start was the last thing the challengers needed.
Clonee simply didn't match their rivals intensity from the off and paid the price. Clara Donnelly broke from deep, repeatedly, and inflicted serious damage dragging markers away from their primary responsibilities.
The inside forwards prospered. The corners, Sarah Harding Kenny and Deirdre McMahon were a handful while Leona Tector's robust style complemented the two of them perfectly.
Twice in the opening five minute Donnelly broke through the centre and took the safe point rather than push for goal. McMahon tagged on a score between the two but a 0-3 to nil lead felt like scant reward for the spaces being created close to goal.
Anna Doyle did brilliantly to prevent Donnelly from latching on to McMahon's hand-pass in the sixth minute. However, there was nothing the Clonee 'keeper could do to deny Leona Tector from the penalty spot after Harding Kenny was dragged down.
A second goal came just seconds later as Donnelly's long punt forward bounced over the defence, into McMahon's grasp and she made no mistake drilling to the Clonee rigging (2-3 to nil).
Points from Tector and Deirdre Fox increased the lead to eleven. Clonee hit back in the 19th minute when Caroline Murphy's swerving shot beat SIobhan Cloake after good work in the build-up by Aine Cosgrave and Liz Evered.
Teghan Furlong added a point a minute later. Suddenly, when Charlene Hayden hit the net, after Furlong's initial shot was blocked in the 22nd minute, Clonee were right back in the game, trailing by four (2-5 to 2-1).
Their purple patch didn't last. Shelmalier regrouped and closed out the half in the ascendancy. Tector and Roisin Murphy added overs before McMahon forced across goal to Harding Kenny and she fired home her side's third goal. A Tector free made it 3-8 to 2-1 at the break.
Clonee needed a response after the break and brought on Rachel Collier and Josie Dwyer to provide it. Two Ann Byrne minors were followed by a Liz Evered score to leave seven between the sides.
When Dwyer's shot from right of goal took a wicked deflection and flew past Siobhan Cloake it was suddenly game on (3-8 to 3-4). To their credit Shelmalier responded with three straight scores, with Tector, Fox and Donnelly seeming to put the Clonee challenge to bed.
McMahon had a great chance to add another another barrier to a potential comeback but Anna Doyle made a fine save that gave her side renewed hope.
Evered added a free before Siobhan Cloake collided with the post when trying to haul in Collier's up and under. The ball crossed the goalline and the 'keeper had to be helped off the field.
Now just three between the sides the pressure was ratcheted up. McMahon converted a dead-ball five minutes into added-time to make it a two-score advantage. Mairead Sheehan rattled the post late on for Clonee but there was no denying Shelmalier another title.
SHELMALER: Siobhan Cloake; Lisa Quill, Eadaoine Fitzgerald, Maeve Quill (capt); Michelle Harding, Clara Donnelly (0-3), Ciara Corrigan; Roisin Murphy (0-1), Eleanor Neville; Kellie Kearney, Deirdre Fox (0-2, 1 free), Ceara O'Brien; Sarah Harding Kenny (1-0), Leona Tector (1-4, 1-0 pen, 0-2 frees), Deirdre McMahon (1-2, 0-1 free). Subs. - Fiona Kinsella for Neville (47), Lauren Murphy for Cloake, inj (60), Sadhbh McCarthy for L. Quill (60+6), also, Nikki Scallan, Enya Byrne, Kate Stafford, Deirdre Byrne, Michelle Murphy, Jamie Devereux, Caroline Curran, Leanne Corrigan, Eleanor Lacey, Mikaela Lanigan, Maeve Doyle, Megan Scallan, Roisin Tobin, Gemma Fox, Shauna Murphy.
CLONEE: Anna Doyle; Danielle Hayden, Bridin Doyle, Katie Kehoe; Marie McDonald, Mary O'Neill, Marguerite Doyle (capt); Cathy Kavanagh, Claire O'Rourke; Aine Cosgrave, Caroline Murphy (1-0), Ann Byrne (0-2); Charlene Hayden (1-0), Teghan Furlong (0-1), Liz Evered (0-2, 1 free). Subs. - Rachel Collier (1-0) for D. Hayden (31), Josie Dwyer (1-0) for Cosgrave (31), Maura O'Rourke for C. Hayden (49), Mairead Sheehan for Furlong (49), Helena Murphy for Kehoe (54), also, Sophie Lenehan, Roisin Fitzgerald, Mairead Lancaster, Maggie Hobbs, Sharon Sunderland.
REFEREE: Ian Plunkett (Marshalstown-Castledockrell)