Continuing on from All Ireland glory last year, Offaly Ladies Football have taken yet another huge step forward when they collected the Minor B Leinster Football Crown in brilliant style last Monday afternoon in Clane at the expense of a fancied Kildare side.
Minor B Leinster Ladies Football Final
This was the sides second such meeting this year and with Kildare coasting to victory in their previous meeting the home side would certainly have fancied their chances on Monday, but this was a top class performance from the Offaly girls who turned a twelve point drubbing into a seven point win.
Offaly were fully deserving of the win from the off and even when they lost their centre back Dawn Hannon to a serious shoulder injury midway through the first half, these girls never faltered and certainly the seven point win was more than deserved.
Offaly had some top class performances on show, along with Shauna Farrelly in defence, her sister Nicole was immense as was the extremely impressive Katie Killeen, Sarah Cummins and Ann Daly. Offaly lorded it in the middle of the field with Captain Hannah McMahon and Grainne Dolan proving to be the engine of this side. Up front Offaly were on song with Roisin Egan, Aoife Corbett, Ellee McEvoy and Claire Connolly nothing short of superb.
It was Kildare who had the better of the opening exchanges with Mikaela McKenna pointing within the first two minutes. Offaly’s first point came in the tenth minute from the boot of Grainne Dolan but Mikaela McKenna was on hand for her and Kildare’s second point of the day. The half-time was Kildare 0-2 Offaly 0-1.
Offaly’s player of the match Roisin Egan was in super form and a point from a free levelled the sides again in the 13th minute, but it was only momentarily with Kildare attacking in force and making no mistake Caoimhe O’ Fearghail blasted the ball into the Offaly net. Kildare 1-2 Offaly 0-2.
The Offaly girls were slightly rattled but their response was empathic and with two points scored in quick succession from Claire Connolly and Roisin Egan only one point separated the sides with seventeen minutes gone.
At this point Offaly suffered the loss of centre back Dawn Hannon through a shoulder injury but Ciara O’ Connor was sprung from the bench and was nothing short of brilliant when introduced. With only minutes remaining in the first half Offaly attacked and winning ball between two players that she had no right to the brilliant Ellee McEvoy rattled the Kildare net, Offaly weren’t finished and with Ellee on fire made a lovely pass to Aoife Corbett who made no mistake with speed and accuracy blasted the ball in the Back of the Kildare net Offaly truly in the driving seat leading on a 2-4 to 1-2 scoreline.
After the break Offaly continued to dominate and a free from Roisin from the 21 metre line seemed to be under control by the Kildare keeper but she dropped the ball into the net. Claire Connolly added her second point within minutes of the start to give Offaly a 3-5 to 1-2 lead. Kildare to be fair weren’t giving up without a fight and a cracking goal from Shauna Kendrick gave the Kildare support something to shout about. Offaly 3-5 Kildare 2-2.
The Faithful girls could have easily been rattled but Roisin was on hand to settle their nerves, even when Kildare fired over another two points, Offaly never panicked, three points on the trot from Roisin Egan and Aoife Corbett made sure the destination of the Title was only going on way, Offaly’s. The final score Offaly 3-9 Kildare 2-5.
Scorers. Roisin Egan 1-5 (frees) Aoife Corbett 1-1, Ellee McEvoy 1-0, Claire Connolly 0-2, and Grainne Dolan 0-1.
Offaly Team and Panel: Lauren Dunne. Sarah Cummins. Ann Daly. Emer Nally. Nicole Farrelly. Dawn Hannon. Katie Killeen. Hannah McMahon (Captain). Grainne Dolan. Emma Kirwin. Roisin Egan. Aoife Corbett. Ellie McEvoy. Shauna Farrelly. Claire Connolly. Lucy Egan, Ciara Flynn. Tara Egan. Rebecca Gorman. Ciara O’ Connor. Cathy Ennis. Shauna Ward. Subs. Ciara O’ Connor for Dawn Hannon (inj), Shauna Ward for Emma Kirwin.
We would like to wish Dawn a speedy recovery, Dawn had surgery on Tuesday morning and a metal plate was put in for support and hopefully that will enable her shoulder to heal a lot quicker.