Bates delivers first Minor title with late, late winner
Mollie Bates scored a dramatic winning goal, with just seconds of added time remaining, as Kilmore won their first-ever ladies' football Minor Division 1 championship title in Adamstown on Friday.
Kilmore 5-10 HWH-Bunclody 5-8
It brought to an end a wonderful game of football played between two committed teams, giving it their all right to the end. At the final whistle it was desperation for HWH-Bunclody who thought they had won the championship just minutes before.
With time just expiring and trailing by two, they won a free on the 20-metre line, and somehow Kate Hendrick sent a shot past a crowded line to give her side the lead.
However, right from the kick-out, Mollie Bates soloed down the field and, with the game on the line and the full-time whistle just moments away, fired a superb winning goal past Michaela Murphy to wrap up the title.
Earlier, Kate Hendrick had opened the scoring with the first goal. Despite Kilmore hitting back with a Bates point, Hendrick and Rebecca Murphy tapped over to give Bunclody a 1-2 to 0-1 lead.
Lauren Cousins, who had a superb battle with the excellent Rachel Kelly in midfield, set up Olivia McDonnell and she saw her shot saved over the bar by Murphy in the Bunclody goal.
Ciara Carroll became her side's third scorer when pointing but Emma Cousins soon replied at the other end after a good team build-up.
With Róisín Kelly finding her range, HWH-Bunclody stretched their lead to 1-4 to 0-2. However, Kilmore started to get the upper hand. Cathy O'Connor netted, and then Mollie Bates and Cathy O'Connor registered points to tie the contest.
Points from Róisín Kelly and Kate Hendrick were cancelled out by O'Connor and Olivia McDonnell, but Mollie Bates' opening goal gave Kilmore a 2-6 to 1-6 interval lead.
The evential champions started the half on the front foot with Sophie Boxwell finding a couple of scores and Bates and Lauren Cousins also on target. However, when Claire Barry hit the net they had a lead to defend (3-10 to 1-6).
Bunclody rebounded from the early setback and Róisín Kelly found the net for the first of her hat-trick. As well as pointing, Kelly fired two more majors as Bunclody took a 4-8 to 3-10 lead heading into the last few minutes.
Olivia McDonnell's goal set up all the late drama that eventually ended with Kilmore captain Rebecca Furlong and vice-captain Mary-Ann Sheehan collecting the Emma Grannell Memorial Cup from Emma's twin sister, Lucy.
It was a tough defeat for HWH-Bunclody to take but they have plenty of young talent in the club, with superb peformances from the likes of 15-year-old Becky Kenny and defender-cum-attacker Amy Coleman boding well for the future.
Kilmore: Rebecca Furlong (capt.); Mary-Ann Sheehan (vice-capt.), Rebecca Burke, Grace Barry; Orla Fortune, Emily Bates, Imogen Fanning; Emma Cousins (0-1), Lauren Cousins (0-1); Molly Bates (2-2), Cathy O'Conner (1-2), Amy Cousins; Abbie Jones, Claire Barry (1-0), Olivia McDonnell (1-2). Subs. - Niamh Barry, Sophie Boxwell (0-2), Megan Doyle, Chloe Reddy.
HWH-Bunclody: Michaela Murphy; Aisling Dunne, Róisín Nolan, Becky Kenny; Amy Coleman, Charlotte Redmond, Chloe Moynihan; Rachel Kelly, Michaela Farrell; Britney Conroy, Kate Hendrick (2-3), Kate Kirwan; Ciara Carroll (0-1), Róisín Kelly (3-3), Rebecca Murphy (0-1). Subs. - Clodagh O'Leary for Redmond, Sinéad Nolan, Kayleigh Murphy.
Referee: James Flood (St. Mary's, Maudlintown).