Ladies footballers snatch draw: FIVE points down with just two minutes left, Eire Og staged a remarkable recovery to salvage a share of the spoils in this opening round ladies Intermediate Championship clash at Greystones on Thursday night.
As the contest headed into the closing stages, Clann nan Gael, amalgamation of players from the nearby Enniskerry and Kilmacanogue clubs, looked destined to come away with the spoils.
Despite having influential midfielder Tara Costello
sin-binned for 10 minutes in the second half, the visiting outfit had
established what looked like a commanding lead of 4-11 to 2-12.
But the home side refused to throw in the towel, and they
provided themselves with a glimmer of hope when sub Eva Sterrit fired over a
fine point to reduce their deficit to four points, and almost immediately
full-forward Elaine Fusciardi followed up with a similar score for the
Then with time almost up, sub Lisa Murphy proved the heroine
for her side when she displayed outstanding opportunism to drive the ball past
opposing goalkeeper Heather Blackburn, thus ensuring a share of the spoils for
the two teams.
‘The girls deserve tremendous credit for never giving up
when the game seemed to be slipping away from us,’ said a delighted Eire Og
manager Larry Howard.
‘In fairness to them, they never stopped battling even when
things were going against them and I think they deserved a draw in the end.
‘Lisa (Murphy) stuck our equalising goal away very nicely.
In the build-up to the goal, our midfield cleaned up and passed the ball out to
one of the wing forwards, who passed it on the Lisa who buried it in the back
of the net.
‘After that, we missed one or two opportunities to win it,
but to come back from five points down we’ll take that any day of the week.
‘After this, we’ve two more championship games in July –
against Tinahely and St Nicholas from Donard – and we’ll arrange some challenge
Predictably, Clann nan Gael manager Greg O’Donnell cut a
very disappointed figure at the end of the game.
‘It’s very hard not to be coming away with a win as we
thought we had the game wrapped up so close to the end,’ he remarked.
‘It was a killer with their equalising goal coming at such a
late stage of the match. But the sin-binning cost us dearly in the second half
and allowed them to get back into the game.
And unfortunately for us they got a good few scores during
the period when we were down to 14 players.
‘It’s a pity but we’ll come again in our next game. And
today it was very encouraging that the girls never let up in their efforts over
the 60 minutes.’
In a contest handled by Cathy Forde, from the Clongeen club
in Wexford, and who will act as a linesperson for Sunday’s Leinster Ladies
football final between Dublin and Westmeath, the home side drew first blood
when Kerry-Ann Hamilton split the posts after just two minutes.
But by the 12th minute, the adversaries were tied on 2-2
each, Hamilton and Elaine Fusciardi netting for Eire Og, with Orla Kearns and
Sophie Nolan raising green flags for the opposition.
Following a defence-splitting run, midfielder Tara Costello
registered a third three-pointer for Clann nan Gael on 14 minutes, and that
helped the visiting side to 3-5 to 2-5 lead at half-time.
On the restart, Clann na nGael stormed into a 4-6 to 2-7
lead on 39 minutes, thanks to a goal from Laura Shanahan, but over the next 12
minutes the visitors were outscored by five points to two and had their lead
reduced to 4-8 to 2-12.
However, Clann na nGael seemed to have the game wrapped up,
when they shot three points in as many minutes to establish a five-point lead.
Subsequently, however, the Greystones side displayed their
tremendous fighting spirit to outscore their opponents by a goal and two points
to no score in remaining time.