St Mark’s 2-5 v Round Tower 2-6
McGee Park, 26th October, Sen 7 Championship Semi Final: View match pictures here.
It’s now the turn of our Camogie Ladies to look forward to a Championship Final. And this was a hard earned semi-final victory, writes Mick McGlynn. Ciara Ryan scored the two crucial goals and final point that helped edge Towers to the final. Ryan, operating in the full forward line, grabbed the vital scores but no final was forthcoming without the commitment, resolve and determination that was exuded by the girls throughout the pitch.
This was a triumph against adversity. Towers played with a strong wind throughout most of the first half and were the better team throughout, creating a number of chances and taking four points. But two goals against the run of play helped the home side to a 2-1 v 0-4 advantage at half-time. The first goal levelled the game on 17 minutes and was the result of a goal mouth scramble. It was the first real opportunity the home side had to score. Sinead Kearns had opened the scoring with a point inside three minutes and Niamh Murphy followed with another point. Mary Nalty played a good ball inside to Ryan and when her initial effort was blocked play was recycled to Murphy on the 21 and she struck accurately. Val Kennedy struck a brilliant score from a tight angle on the left, following good pressure by Murphy to win possession. With the scores brought level through the Mark’s goal Towers again responded. Murphy made inroads and was supported by Caroline Fallon. Her pass brought Kennedy into play in the corner and when she was fouled Murphy pointed the free from 21 metres. But the visitors endured another significant setback five minutes before the end of the half. A Mark’s free from the 40 was caught in the wind and deceived the Towers rearguard to end up in the back of the net. On the stroke of half-time a Marks free on the 21 edged them three clear, 2-1 v 0-4.
Towers went in at half-time having been the better side but without the scoreboard reflecting it and having not yielded the advantage of played with a strong wind behind their back. The wind picked up second half, making a Championship Final even harder to attain.
They signalled their desire to fulfil that ambition with early purpose that delivered an early goal. Jenny Byrne stymied a Mark’s attack and the counter attack led to Fallon winning a free. It brought pressure upon the Mark’s full back line, with Grace Keane and Roisin NÍ Dhonnaigh pressuring to enable Ryan break free. She escaped the close attention and under pressure batted the sliotar high to the net. Melissa Donnelly won a free on Towers 40 and Ryan combined with Nadine Salinger to set up Valerie Kelly who was pulled to the ground when advancing on goal. The penalty was struck by Ní Dhonnaigh but well saved. Murphy almost drove over from the resulting play but an extremely strong wind took yards of her effort and it dropped short. A brilliant block by Heather McLoughlin denied Mark’s a point but two minutes later a score from distance edged them a point ahead. Trish Egan and Byrne made two important interceptions but Mark’s then struck a free from 40 metres and an excellent effort from the sideline move the home side three clear with eight minutes remaining. Towers had struggled for ten minutes to move beyond their and the wind took distance of clearances. But they battled. Murphy carried into the forwards and her delivery found Ryan on the 21. With a smart pick up and burst of speed she moved in on goal and finished to the roof of the net. Towers went on the ascendancy. Kearns was first to a long range free and her run towards goal created an opportunity for Ryan. Her pass across the 21 found Ní Dhonnaigh in space and she drove over the lead score. A soft free on the 30 for the home side levelled matters and a draw looked the outcome. But Towers worked the puck out up field and earned a free on the 50. It held up in the wind but Ryan seized possession on the 21 and with a sharp turn pointed under pressure. It was the final act of a defiant display and this week now brings the anticipation of a county final next Sunday.
Round Tower panel: Karen Cassidy, Jenny Byrne, Aoife Dunphy, Ciara Ryan, Niamh Murphy, Grace Keane, Caroline Fallon, Pamela Tormey, Roisin Byrne, Caroline Tormey, Maryann Talty, Sinead Kearns, Jade Hyland, Nadine Salinger, Valerie Kelly, Melissa Donnelly, Heather McLoughlin, Danielle Ní Lachtnáin, Roisin Ní Dhonnagain, Toni Whiteman, Ciara Devany, Trish Egan, Niamh Kearney, Mel Craig.