Colemanstown turned up at St Cuans, Ahascragh on Sunday evening with 18 players – the best turnout of the season; for this ladies trophy semi-final 2nd leg. A draw or a win for Colemanstown was enough to see the ladies advance to the final. To lose wasn’t in the equation. The starting squad was the same as that who finished the first leg the previous week when the ladies bounced back from 3-0 down, leaving a super strong bench for this latest game.
Colemanstown started off the better team with lots of good passing soccer down the wings from Lucy Kenny and Issa Harun who orchestrated most of the moves, however the final killer pass failed to pay dividends. Similar to the first game, St. Cuans scored early when they broke down the right side of the field, crossed to their unmarked striker who found the bottom corner on 15 mins. Colemanstown did their utmost to get back into the game. Sarah Kearney’s shots on target just lacked sufficient power while Rebecca Clancy saw her effort blocked by a defender just minutes before halftime. Colemanstown got a bit sloppy at the back just before half time when the big Cuan’s midfielder latched onto a broken ball and unleashed a dipping shot which hit the crossbar and rolled out for a throw just as the ref blew the half time whistle. Half time: St Cuans 1 – 0 Colemanstown.
There were a few changes at halftime with the introduction of Mary Walsh up front and Rori Doherty at centre back. Colemanstown restarted the second half on the attack for the first 10 mins with some superb soccer. Mary Walsh’s speed was notable up front as she made life hell, twisting and tormenting the host’s defenders. Sarah Kearney also got stuck in too. Then Issa Harun put Sarah Kearney through on goal but Sarah went for a top corner finish and skied the ball over the bar.
Colemanstown ladies kept going as they tried their damndest to push towards goal. 15 mins into the second half Claire Keane was introduced to the fray with Rachel O’Brien pushing forward and Claire Keane settled into midfield where she brought strength while Laura Keane was introduced up front. Colemanstown pushed as much as they could with Laura Keane and Mary Walsh linking well together up front. However, St Cuans showed up well in their defending; hoofing the ball from their back line into space. One further change was made when Sarah Keane was introduced for Lucy Kenny who had emptied the tank. The final 5 mins of the game belonged to Colemanstown as they pushed for that elusive goal. Mary Walsh, Laura Kenny, Rachel O’Brien & Serena Hansberry all had efforts but the St Cuan’s keeper, Theresa Loughnane was in fine form. In a last ditch attempt Colemanstown pushed all bodies forward and earned a corner. Rachel O’Brien took the corner with the defender quickest to react as she headed away but straight into the path of the on-running right corner back Jessica Doherty who unleashed one of the cleanest strikes you will ever see as the ball whizzed into the roof of the net.
There were great celebrations both on the pitch and on the sideline as a large contingency of Colemanstown spectators came to watch this very exciting local derby. Less than a minute later, the ref blew the whistle – you don’t cut it any finer than that. It was a game as pulsating and captivating as any game prior to it. Local rivalry, last minute equaliser, breathless turns to test each other’s limits and nerve, a full squad performance….. Every question that was asked of the squad was answered in this game in a manner befitting a squad & management duo (of Pat Delaney & Philip Dee), who are on a mission! The remaining hurdle to the mission is Castlerea and the picture will become more clear next Sunday. Let’s hope the final will be as enthralling as this one. Final score: Colemanstown 1 – 1 St Cuans. (Colemanstown win 5-4 on aggregate). Match report by Philip Dee.
Squad: Ashley Roberts, Jessica Doherty, Eimear Costello, Katie Delaney, Caoimhe McLaughlin, Lucy Kenny, Rachel O’Brien, Serena Hansberry, Issa Harun, Sarah Kearney, Rebecca Clancy, Rori Doherty, Laura Keane, Claire Keane, Mary Walsh, Sarah Molloy, Sarah Keane, Laura Parker.