TULLAMORE 1st years produced a thrilling match in their encounter with Abbeyleix in the Harriers recently. Abbeyleix eventually won out on the day but only after extra time and penalty strokes.
In the first half Tullamore had a considerable amount of possession due to the hard work of midfielders Ciara Gallagher, Sarah Bracken and Deirdre Mahon.
Forwards Ali Monahan, Roísín Finn and Niamh Mahon attacked the visiting team’s circle relentlessly. All this teamwork paid off with the opening goal of the match when forward Niamh Mahon sent a penetrating pass to the awaiting stick of Roísín Finn. Roísín, making a very impressive debut on the forward line, outwitted the Abbeyleix g’keeper.
Somewhat taken aback, Abbeyleix reacted with a serious counter attack on the home side. The Tullamore defence quartet of Sarah Gunning, Emily Deverell, Emma Dooley and Zoe Murray stood up to the task and thwarted several of the opposition in the 25 metre area and in the circle. On the occasion when they did manage to shoot at goal, debutante goalkeeper Celia Hynes pulled off some very decisive saves.
Tullamore’s second goal came later in the second half when Ciara Gallagher eluded her marker to set up Grace White. Grace happily slotted in Tullamore’s second goal.
The second half saw Abbeyleix change their game plan. They continuously dished out long distance frees from their own defensive area into the Tullamore zone. For a long time, the Tullamore defence, spearheaded by Zoe Murray (Player of the Match) frustrated the Abbeyleix attacks. However, eventually Abbeyleix succeeded in opening their score sheet with a goal. Their second goal came as a result of a well taken short corner. Still Tullamore fought back bravely. Megan Burns produced some great runs up the right wing and very nearly set up a third goal for Tullamore.
The full time score being 2-2, the match moved into a short nail-biting and pulsating period of extra time as play switched from end to end. With no further scores accruing, the game finished up with penalty strokes. Goalkeeper Celia Hynes made two brilliant saves but Abbeyleix won out in the end. On the evidence of this great display this Tullamore team is a team with great prospects for the future. Thanks to Monica Cleary, umpire on the day.
Tullamore panel: Celia Hynes, Emma Dooley, Sarah Gunning, Zoe Murray, Emily Deverell, Ciara Gallagher (capt), Sarah Bracken, Deirdre Mahon, Grace White, Niamh Mahon, Ali Monahan, Roísín Finn, Megan Burns.