LADIES BORD GAIS NATIONAL LEAGUE FINAL DIVISION 2Mayo 4-17
MAYO ladies senior footballers produced one of their best displays for along time when they inflicted a very heavy defeat on arch rivals Galway in the division two national league final played in Parnell Park, Dublin, on Saturday.
After a number of years in the wilderness due to many problems with ladies GAA in the county, this Mayo senior side is back in the big time and such was their five-star display against Galway, that the glory days are back and it looks like it is onwards and upwards for this side.
While all the talk afterwards was the display of Cora Staunton (truly magnificent and showed why she is still the best forward in the country by scoring 2-11), what was most pleasing from a Mayo point of view was the overall team performance. From one to 15 they were brilliant, and while it was a team of experience and youth, you couldn’t be faulted for thinking they had been playing together for several years. Their passing movements up the field were a delight to watch as was their workrate and general play.
On the evidence of what we saw on Saturday a new era has dawned for Mayo ladies senior football and we can expect to see them challenge for the Brendan Martyn Cup inside the next few years.
A lot of credit must go to the new joint managers, Fr. Mick Murphy and Jimmy Corbett, and their backroom team as they have installed a new confidence and blended they old and new young players into a fine team.
Playing into the teeth of the very strong wind, Mayo looked as if they were going to be overrun by a Galway team who couldn’t have got off to a better start. Tracey Leonard and Geraldine Conneally put them two points up in as many minutes before Deirdre Brennan ran on to a through ball from Charlotte Cooney to score a goal after rounding goalkeeper Aisling Tarpey in the fourth minute. A minute later they could have had a second goal when a shot from Conneally seemed destined for the back of the net but hit the crossbar and was cleared by the Mayo defence.
But that was where the Galway challenge came to an end as once Mayo settled they took complete control of the game for the remainder of the hour. With Martha Carter and Ciara McMenamon taking control in the middle of the field the Mayo forwards began to see plenty of the ball and they soon reeled Galway in with some magnificent scores.
Full-forward Deirdre Doherty opened their account in the seventh minute with a fine point. Martha Carter followed with a delightful score but Galway replied with points from Conneally and pointed effort from Gillian Joyce.
In the 18th minute Mayo received a body blow when team captain Claire Egan was sin binned which to many observers seemed very harsh. However, Mayo upped the ante despite a player down and four unanswered points from Cora Staunton brought them within a point of their opponents.
Although Leonard scored a point fro Galway to double their advantage, Mayo finished the half in style and points from Doherty and Staunton sent them in for the half-time break on level terms, 1-5 to 0-8.
On the resumption Mayo started in brilliant fashion. Although having three early wides they hit the front with a fine point from Staunton in the 33rd minute. This was the first time they led in the game and as things transpired it was a lead they were never to lose.
Fiona McHale doubled the Mayo lead two minutes later before Trion McNicholas after receiving an inch perfect pass from Staunton, rattled the back of the Galway net.
Although five points in front Mayo found themselves having to play with 14 players after Claire Egan picked up a second yellow card (again it was very difficult to fathom what she did to deserve it) and this time there was no back for the centre-back.
But Mayo, who had used left-half forward Yvonne Byrne to great effect as a sweeper, and had brought on the very influential Aileen Gilroy just before the interval, continued to dominate in every sector of the field and with Staunton really on fire up front they just blew Galway away.
Staunton added a point before she turned the Galway defence inside out to score a great goal in the 44th minute.
Staunton added three points before Fiona McHale powered through to score Mayo’s third goal and more or less ended the game as a contest.
It was all plain sailing for Mayo now and further points from Staunton and Martha Carter arrived before Staunton rounded off a magnificent afternoon by scoring her second and her sides fourth goal.
As injury time arrived Galway, who were now playing against 13 Mayo players as Aoife Brennan was sin binned, managed to get their opening score of the half – a point from substitute Edel Concannon. The same player added a goal before Christine Hehir scored a point with the last kick of the game.
In the end it was a great day for the Mayo team and ladies football in the county. This will have given them great confidence and they can look forward to the Connaught championship final against the same opposition in McHale Park, Castlebar, on Sunday, July 8, with plenty of confidence.
Scorers for Mayo: C. Staunton 2-11, F. McHale 1-1, T. McNicholas 1-1), D. Doherty 0-2, M. Carter 0-2.
Scorers for Galway: E. Concannon 1-1, D. Brennan 1-0, G. Conneally 0-2, T. Leonard 0-2, C. Hehir 0-1, G. Joyce 0-1.
Mayo: N. Tarpey, A. Bell, N. Tierney, L. Ryder, S. Tierney, C. Egan, C. Connolly, M. Carter, C. McManamon, F. McHale, C. Staunton, Y. Byrne, T. McNicholas, D. Doherty, N. Kelly.
Subs used: A Gilroy, S. Rowe, A. Roddy, A. Brennan, O. Conlon.
Galway: L. Murphy, M. Coyne, E. Curley, S. Divilly, B. Hannon, S. Conneally, S. Burke, A. Daly, C. Hehir, C. Cooney, D. Brennan, L. Leonard, T. Leonard, G. Joyce, G. Conneally.
Subs used: E. Concannon, T. Mullins, M. Burke, E. Gannon, B. Walsh.
Referee: S. Duane (Kildare).