A brave and valiant effort was put in by Colemanstown’s ladies who showed up last night to take on unbeaten Corrib Rangers in their latest league encounter. It was one of those occasions for Colemanstown’s travelling party when it must have felt like the wedding feast of Cana except this time the blood in their veins was turned into the finest of red wine. Unavailable players saw Colemanstown down to the bare bones of a team and somehow, they did it… they ground out a win in the bravest of fashion. Every now and again, there’s a story that makes your bones vibrate, your teeth chatter and the hair stand on the back of your neck, well this was one of those match stories….…
Colemanstown were slow out of the blocks and were 1-0 down within the first 5mins as our back three were caught offguard and Corrib Rangers took their opportunity well. This was the shake-up required as Aoife Donoghue, Shauna Ward & Aoibhinn Screene were like Trumps wall after that; simply there was no getting past them. Once they settled into the game, Colemanstown created plenty of chances. Some squandered opportunities and other efforts well saved by the keeper and somehow our strikers just couldn’t find the net. One wondered would our ladies rue the what-ifs. What if our full team had showed up, what if Catherine Burke had found the net with her one-on-one effort, what if her goal chance didn’t skim right across the face of goal, what if….. 1-0 down and up against it. The fightback was led by Orlaith Hannon at right midfield who put in a commanding display to help transform the scoreline assisted by Theresa Loughnane who got on plenty of ball and made life difficult for the opponents. Up front Mary Walsh showed her brother’s attributes, chasing every lost cause and created a few chances. They were ably assisted by veteran Catherine Burke, as she added desire and influence with her talent on the ball. Instead of concentrating and getting ready to say ‘I do’ she ran her heart out tormenting the Rangers defence on numerous opportunities. As Niamh Flannery saw action in the 2nd half, she helped to energise proceedings with the fightback. The equaliser came with 15mins to go as Catherine Burke managed to wiggle her way forward with one of those familiar dinky runs but saw her goal bound effort saved only for the mighty Mary Walsh to make no mistake with the rebound from the edge of the 6’ box.
The goal certainly gave Colemanstown great encouragement and it was no more than they deserved for their true passion, bravery and never-say-die attitude. Their hopes were invigorated. From there to the end belonged to the green ladies. They pinned back Corrib Rangers who had been sitting on their goal advantage until then. At this stage Ciara Lally was re-introduced in defense for Aoibhinn Screene who had sustained an ankle injury. Then came another turning point as our veteran keeper Orla McCaffrey (it’s unknown what this lady can do…) made a superb save but as the ball somehow got entangled in her feet and sprayed loose, she dived splendidly to prevent it from creeping over the line. With 2 mins to play, the ball came the way of Orlaith Hannon; she drove forward, skipped by numerous players on the left flank, cut in across the box and finished a cracking goal for an emphatic winner. Colemanstown held out for the last few nervy minutes as the hosts had a late chance to restore parity with a free kick which thankfully went miles over the bar. When the final whistle went, Colemanstown had just clinched a baffling, beautiful 2-1 victory.
It was a brilliant high quality game of soccer where each lady on the field, pure die-hards, managed to shake the first half out of their system as they showed true fighting spirit in the 2nd half and in their late show of comebacks. Well done ladies – an exceptional performance by the bare bones of a team and 2 very proud mentors. Well done Alicia & Philip and yer mighty army. Both sides meet again in the return leg on Tuesday next at home in what is anticipated to be another cracker. KO: 7pm.
Squad: Orla McCaffrey, Aoife Donoghue, Shauna Ward, Aoibhean Screene, Ciara lally, Theresa Loughnane, Orlaith Hannon, Mary Walsh, Catherine Burke, Niamh Flannery.