Offaly Ladies played the game of their lives last weekend when they took on All-Ireland Junior champions Antrim in Inniskeen, Co, Monaghan.
The Faithful County ran out 3-8 to 0-10 winners and the reward for Offaly is a first League decider since they beat Wicklow in the Division 4 Final nine years ago.
Offaly got off to a good start with Mairead Daly scoring the first point of the day in the third minute. Linda Sullivan added Offaly’s second point in the eighth minute after a fine passage of play.
Offaly had a golden opportunity for a goal when corner forward Claire O’Brien received a lovely pass from Elaine Sullivan but pressure from the Antrim defense saw the ball pop inches wide of the post.
Antrim started to come into the game on the 20th minute and four unanswered points from the girls in Saffron and White put them into a two point lead with only five minutes remaining in the first half. Offaly manager Greg Farrelly made a few tactical changes which saw the Offaly girls gain confidence and a fantastic display of football from the exceptionally talented Mairead Daly left the Antrim defense dumbfounded as she blasted the ball into the back of the Antrim net. Points from Linda Sullivan, Lorraine Kenna and Mairead Daly left the half time score Offaly 1-6 Antrim 0-4.
Antrim were the first to put scores on the board in the second half with points from their best player on the day Kirsty McGuinness, but Offaly answered them with a well taken point from Lorraine Keena and a cracking goal from Linda Sullivan on the 39th minute.
Offaly Captain Siobhain Flannery got on the scoreboard in the 43rd minute with a lovely point from play. Unfortunately for Offaly Treasa McManus was shown a yellow card in the 46th minute and 10 minutes in the sin bin for what was deemed as a high tackle leaving everyone in shock.
But this only spurred on her team mates. Antrim managed to clock up another four points before Treasa was allowed back on the pitch, but it was too little too late for the Antrim girls and with Offaly full forward Linda Sullivan adding 1-1 in the dying minutes of the game it was curtains for the 2012 All-Ireland Junior Champions.
Offaly’s final opponents will be Roscommon, who beat Limerick by 3-15 to 2-6 in Birr on Saturday evening. This game will be played the week end of the 4/5 of May. (Time and Venue TBC).
Offaly Team and Panel: Laura Devey, Michelle Guinan, Emma Dalton, Hannah McMahon, Emma Corcoran, Triona McDonald, Christine McDonnell, Treasa McManus, Siobhain Flannery (C), Orlaigh Heavey, Lorraine Keena, Elaine Sullivan, Mairad Daly, Linda Sullivan, Claire O’ Brien, Kelley Cunningham, Amy Kerrigan, Kym Furey, Niamh Malone, Orla Daly, Sinead Daly, Aoife Byrne Maeve Coleman, Donna Murray, Shauna Farrelly, Rebecca Gorman, Ciara McCormack, Ciara Brady, Katie Killeen, Sharon Mannion , Orla Kelly.
Subs; Amy Kerrigan for Claire O’ Brien (23rd min), Kym Furey for Elaine Sullivan (52nd min).
Congratulations to our Under 16 Team who defeated Kildare on Sunday in Hawkfield Co, Kildare. The girls played a marvelous game and came away eventual winners on a 1-10 to 4-2 scoreline. They girls will now play Wicklow away in the Semi final which takes place next week end. (Date time and Venue TBC).
Offaly under 14 girls were unlucky not to come away with a win over Carlow on Saturday last in Clonbullogue. Final score Offaly 3-5 Carlow 4-10.
U-12 Club Championship
St Broughan’s 1-7 Ballinamere/Durrow 2-3
Milne O’ Dwyer win Draw for Patron on Ladies Jersey
Congratulations to Milne O’ Dwyer who won the Partron Draw held in the Court Hotel On Thursday evening last. Offaly Ladies will now sport Milne O’ Dwyer on their Jerseys.