Offaly Ladies travelled to Casement Park, Belfast on Sunday to take on the All-Ireland Junior Champions of 2012, Antrim, in the third round of the Tesco Homegrown Ladies National League and came away with a hugely impressive win
Tesco Homegrown Ladies National League Division 4
Offaly started the game well and with only 15 minutes on the clock lead by 1-5 to 1-2. This was a great passage of play for Offaly with the young girls really shining, but in the 16th minute Antrim were awarded a penalty which they converted to level the scores.
Antrim threw everything they had at the Offaly girls and managed to notch up another three points before Mairead Daly blasted the ball to the back of the Antrim net. A goal from Offaly’s number nine Orlaigh Heavey put the Faithful County three points up with 10 minutes left in the first half however the girls in Saffron and White finished the half the stronger scoring another 1-4 before the half time whistle blew and they led at the interval 3-7 to Offaly’s 3-5.
After the break the Offaly Ladies took control of proceedings once again. A well taken penalty by Mairead Daly and a goal from Kym Furey left the Antrim girls chasing this game and with added points from Claire O’ Brien, Amy Kerrigan and Kym Furey the Junior All-Ireland Champions appeared stunned.
Antrim only managed to score two points in the first 27 minutes of the second half and this was down to the excellent work from the back line of Orla Daly, Emma Dalton and Michelle Guinan right through to the midfield with Treasa McManus, Orlaigh Heavey and Christine McDonnell cleaning up in the air.
Amy Kerrigan in the half forward line had a great game and made some great runs that lead to a number of Offaly scores. With only three minutes remaining on the clock Antrim won a free and a lapse in concentration on the part of the Offaly girls saw the ball glide past Laura Devery in the Offaly goals.
The very young Aoife Norris had an exceptional game along with a large contingent of other young players including Emma Corcoran, Elaine Sullivan, Mairead Daly, Claire O’ Brien and Hannah McMahon.
The score at the final whistle read Offaly 5-11 Antrim 4-9. It was a well deserved win for Offaly who now have three wins out of three and now sit top of the Division 4 table. Congratulations to the management team of Greg Farrelly, Alan Ennis and Jim Maguire who have put in tremendous work with the girls. The girls have a break next weekend and will face Carlow on March 3 in the 4th round.
Offaly Team and Panel;
Laura Devery, Orla Daly, Emma Dalton, Michelle Guinan, Emma Corcoran, Hannah McMahon, Christine McDonnell (cap), Treasa McManus, Orlaigh Heavey (1-1), Amy Kerrigan (0-1), Elaine Sullivan, Aoife Norris, Claire O’ Brien (0-2), Kym Furey (1-5), Mairead Daly (3-2), Sinead Daly for Orla Daly (50min), Maebh Colman for Aoife Norris (52min), Kelley Cunningham, Siobhan Flannery, Shauna Farrelly, Katie Killeen and Aishling O’ Connor.