Despite struggling for numbers all season, our ladies fielded a full squad for the RDFL Trophy Final played on the hallowed headquarters of RDFL football in Lecarrow on Sunday afternoon. Despite the rain over the preceding days, the pitch was in pristine condition as the scene was set for another battle. And by golly that’s exactly what was served up by both sides.
The Colemanstown ladies showed up full of enthusiasm as they arrived with tunes blaring and singing and chanting in the changing rooms. They had only one thing in their heads and that was winning!
It was a tough contest from start to finish with both defences well on top and so most of the play was concentrated in the middle third of the field. It was the Castlerea side who drew first blood when they scored from a bundling ball that may easily have been cleared from the penalty box but was finished by a Castlerea player to make it 1-0 on 17 mins. Colemanstown ladies pressed hard as Rachel O’Brien drilled her effort straight at the keeper & Mary Walsh watched her effort deflect off one of the defenders before the half hour mark. Ashley Roberts was called into action on a few occasions before the break but did well, particularly one notable save from a close range header. 1-0 to Castlerea at half time as Colemanstown just failed to penetrate a solid Castlerea defence.
Colemanstown restarted the 2nd half determined to find an equaliser. 2mins after the restart, they were rewarded, when Mary Walsh did the donkey work, drawing 3 players on her, the loose ball broke to Issa Harun who took one touch before she squeezed the ball just inside the post with her left footed effort.
Suddenly the Colemanstown crowd came alive as the ladies got more stuck in. Jessica Doherty & Serena Hansberry linked up well to find Mary Walsh who drilled her effort wide. Then Caoimhe McLaughlin found Sarah Kearney who played a lovely through ball for Mary Walsh to latch on to but the keeper advanced well to avert the danger. Midway through the half, Ashley Roberts was well alert to a Castlerea free kick as she climbed well to make a good clean fetch. The tiring Mary Walsh who had run her heart out was replaced by Laura Keane with quarter hour to play. The pressure was on the Colemanstown defence as Castlerea won four consecutive corners but the Doherty sisters Jesse & Rori, Katie Delaney and Caoimhe McLaughlin were superb. With the pressure so intense, even Ann Walsh sought divine inspiration when the well worn beads were taken from her handbag and prayers were offered that the siege would lift. Her prayers were heard as Colemanstown came right back into it. Sarah Keane was introduced to bring an extra dimension to the game in the latter stages. Either tiring side were unable to create anything too meaningful for the remainder of the game as it petered out at 1-1 and so to extra time.
Two 10min periods of extra time brought nothing to shout about by either side as the ball was kept in the middle third for most of the possession. Claire Keane saw action in extra time for the tiring Sarah Kearney and soon after her introduction, she had a pop at goal but her effort agonisingly sailed wide. Extra time saw the game remain in stalemate and so to dreaded penalties.
Castlerea won the toss for the shoot-out and went first which meant Colemanstown were always under pressure. Colemanstown’s player of the match Jessica Doherty stepped forward to make it 1-1. Castlerea converted their 2nd while Rachel O’Brien made sure of hers to make it 2-2. Then came a lifeline as Castlerea fired over the bar but with the pressure on young Lucy Kenny, she fired straight at the keeper to keep the game level tied at 2-2. Both sides converted their 4th ; Claire Keane for Colemanstown. Ashley Roberts was unlucky as she got her hands to Castlerea’s 5th but the ball still managed to cross the line. With all eyes on Rori Doherty to keep Colemanstown in the game, the pressure kick was saved by the keeper to ensure it was Castlerea Celtic who collected the silverware with a 4-3 win in the shoot-out. The players were left to rue the cruelty of football as the Ladies dreams were torn apart in a dramatic penalty shoot-out. Well done to Colemanstown ladies who put in a stellar display and congrats to winners Castlerea Celtic. Both sides meet again this Sunday in the quarter final of the Ladies shield competition in Castlerea on Sunday. Match report by Philip Dee.
Squad: Ashley Roberts, Jessica Doherty, Rori Doherty, Katie Delaney, Caoimhe McLaughlin, Lucy Kennedy, Serena Hansberry, Issa Harun, Rachel O’Brien, Sarah Kearney, Mary Walsh, Laura Keane, Sarah Keane, Claire Keane, Rebecca Clancy, Sarah Molloy, Laura Parker, Shauna Hynes.