C. L MacHale Rovers with four points to spare in CLGFC Jnr SF.
C. L MacHale Rovers with four points to spare in CLGFC Jnr SF.
October 08, 2019
A strong second half showing from CL MacHale Rovers saw them eek out a hard fought four point victory over a dogged Aughawillan in the Connacht Ladies Intermediate Club Championship Semi-Final in Pairc Sheain Ui Eslin, Ballinamore on Saturday.
CL McHale Rovers 2-13 Aughawillan 2-9
In a game played in driving rain and slippery conditions, both teams served up a wonderful contest with Aughawillan setting the early pace thanks a goal with the very first attack from Leitrim county star Carla Le Guen.
A Sinead Walsh goal just before halftime seemed to have swung the game in CL McHale Rovers’ favour but when Aileen Maguire struck for an Aughaiwllan goal just four minutes into the second half, the Leitrim champions really put it up to the Mayo standard bearers.
But CL McHale Rovers’ strength in depth and the brilliance of Mayo Senior player Rachel Kearns dragged them back into the game, exploiting Aughawillan’s tendency to foul and when SInead Walsh found the net for a second time, it looked as if there was always going to be just one winners.
CL McHale Rovers are a very young team but they belied that inexperience by holding their nerve against an Aughawillan team featuring three current Leitrim Seniors and former All-Ireland winners in Catherine Holohan, Karen McGovern and the legendary Maeve Quinn in goal.
Aughawillan got off to the brightest and perhaps luckiest of starts when Carla Le Guen’s 35 yard shot evaded the hands of a jumping Niamh Larkin in the CL McHale Rovers goal and ended up in the net for the most perfect of starts after less than 20 seconds.
Three minutes in, CL McHale Rovers almost had a goal of their own when Rachel Kearns blasted over the bar after a run, Catherine Holohan perhaps getting away with a little obstruction that prevented the Mayo Senior star from finding the net.
Aileen Maguire responded with a wonder score from the wing but a short fifty saw the ball returned to Kearns for a second CL McHale Rovers point on six minutes. From the kickout, CL McHale Rovers won the ball back and saw Kearns find Sinead Walsh charging in behind the Aughawillan defence, her shot skimming the crossbar as it went over.
Kearns drew the sides level on 10 minutes with a free off the ground, awarded after Aughawillan’s Caoimhe Gaffney saw yellow and ten minutes in the sin bin for a foul on the full-forward.
Aughawillan regained the lead with a Le Guen free on 11 minutes but a lovely point from corner-forward Rebecca Maughan drew CL McHale Rovers level on 13 minutes.
CL McHale Rovers went in front for the first time when Maeve Quinn won the race to the ball but was penalised for a shoulder on Mayo’s Emily Murray with Kearns pointing the free but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Mayo champs as they missed a good chance shortly after.
Aughawillan rallied with Carla Le Guen getting on the end of a good move, the Mayo team’s defence snuffing out a goal chance while Aileen Maguire also saw a shot fall short.
But Maguire then really came in a hot run of form, hitting two points in as many minutes, the first after good work from Le Guen and the second after a short free, to put Aughawillan two points clear with four minutes left in the half.
However, CL McHale Rovers weren’t finished and a long ball found Sinead Walsh, she rounded the defence and drove a low shot to the Aughawillan net.
Aughawillan’s response was impressive as Maguire continued her rich vein of form with two points inside 60 seconds to edge her team back in front but CL McHale Rovers’ reply was equally impressive, Kearns pointing a free and Sinead Walsh driving another goal chance over the crossbar.
That left CL McHale Rovers leading 1-8 to 1-7 at the break with the Mayo side introducing Danielle Kelly for full-back Ruth Queenan after the interval. And it was the visitors who opened the scoring with a Kearns free after a foul on herself.
But Aughawillan dramatically went back in front - after a wide from a short fifty routine, Aughawillan pounced on a poor kickout, Le Guen raced through before finding the unmarked Aileen Maguire who sidestepped the keeper before drilling the ball to the net from close range.
That put Aughawillan a point ahead but Kearns pointed from a 40 yard free off the ground to tie the scores on seven minutes. The Mayo senior star added another from a long range free after a foul on Annie Gough.
CL McHale Rovers then found the net for a second time - there seemed to be a clear foul on Kearns as she shot but play went on, Emily Murray keeping the ball in play. It looked as if the Aughawillan defence was expecting a free as they stopped running and it gave Sinead Walsh the room to gather the pass and drive the ball to the net on 41 minutes.
Le Guen missed the chance to cut the gap from a free midway through the half and after missing a curling effort from the wing, Kearns stretched the lead to five on 49 minutes from a free after an Eimhin Quinn foul.
The rest of the game got very scrappy with conditions deteriorating rapidly but Aughawillan gave themselves some hope when Aileen Maguire got a good point on the break. But Aughawillan’s hopes suffered a major blow when Catherine Holohan was sin binned for a foul on Rachel Kearns.
Aughawillan never stopped battling and as the game went into injury time, the Leitrim champs got a soft enough free and Maguire put it over to leave just three points between the teams.
The noise levels were getting higher but CL McHale Rovers were able to break up an Aughawillan attack and after playing the ball around, a foul on Rebecca Maughan allowed Mayo star Kearns convert the free to seal a four point victory.
Scorers: Aileen Maguire 1-7, 1f; Carla Le Guen 1-2, 1f
Team: Maeve Quinn, Josephine Maguire, Catherine Holohan, Caoimhe Gaffney, Edel Shanley, Eimhin Quinn, Ciara Gaffney, Aisling Quinn, Niamh Donegan, Siomha Quinn, Carla Le Guen, Karen McGovern, Cianna Stringer, Aileen Maguire, Caoimhe Quinn. Subs: Sarah Quinn for J Maguire (9), Caoimhe Prior & Aoife Mannion for McGovern & C Quinn (44)
CL McHale Rovers
Scorers: Rachel Kearns 0-10, 8f; Sinead Walsh 2-2; Rebecca Maughan 0-1
Team: Niamh Larkin, Lisa Maughan, Ruth Queenan, Ciara Kelly, Caoimhe Walsh, Aoife Deane, Grace Murray, Marie Larkin, Ellis Keane, Katrina Maughan, Shauna Maughan, Emily Murray, Sinead Walsh, Rachel Kearns, Rebecca Maughan. Subs: Annie Gough for C Walsh (29), Danielle Kelly for Queenan (HT), Madeline Keane for K Maughan (53), Sinead Quinn for Le Guen (58)
Referee: PJ Rabbitte.
Report courtesy of John Connolly Leitrim Observer.