Ladies: So Near & Yet So Far!

Colemanstown 0; Bealnamulla 4

This 4-0 flattering result may suggest otherwise but these 2 sides were quite evenly matched in terms of talent and it was only midway through the 2nd half that Bealnamulla pulled away showing a powerful masterclass display that Colemanstown failed to match particularly in the second half. In the end, it was a long way from the results we have been accustomed to all year. Both sides started this game showing incredible self-belief stemming from unbeaten league runs. Colemanstown had early chances from 2 consecutive corners taken by Paula Kelly & Tess Mullins on 8mins but the ball harmlessly and narrowly bobbled over the endline. Shauna Ward had a further effort on 18mins when she cutely dispossessed the keeper following a long through ball from the ageless Catherine Burke but was unable to capitalise following the dispossession. Keeper Sinead Cosgrove made a good save midway through the half after the defense was split open but Cossy stood firm. Catherine Burke followed up with a good long range effort but again the Bealnamulla custodian was equal to the task. Paula Kelly’s powerful right footed free kick was well saved but moments later a lack of communication between Kelly & Cossy almost let Bealnamulla in for a gifted goal. Just before the interval however, the Athlone side broke the deadlock when Paula Kelly was grounded and Bealnamulla snuck past the defensive line with a well taken strike to the far corner. Bealnamulla restarted the 2nd half with more momentum and created some early chances. Colemanstown defended 3 early corners ; on the 3rd attempt Cossy parried the ball which was eventually blasted over the crossbar. They fine tuned things a bit better on 51mins when the Colemanstown defense failed to clear a goalmouth scramble even though there were more ‘green’ shirts than ‘red’ shirts in the box but the ball fell kindly to a red shirt who lobbed the keeper. 2-0 down. Colemanstown, however rallied, and with so much high class experience through the side knew instinctively what was required when the tide was against them. Kara Mullins was introduced and a long stoppage due to an injury to the highly skilled No 17 Bealnamulla player assisted in Colemanstown regrouping. On the resumption of play, Colemanstown had one of their best passages of play when Kara flicked a header to Catherine Burke who crossed from the left and was met again by the boot of Kara who finished well but was unfairly adjudged to be off side. Catherine Burke, who covered every blade of grass, then danced around 3 defenders but was pulled down in the process while Tess Mullins’ resultant free kick accomplished nothing. On 71 mins, Bealnamulla got their 3rd when Cossy initially saved well but the rebounded effort was nicely floated back in where it was met by the Bealnamulla striker who finished from close range. Colemanstown’s heads dropped as the Athlone side led by enough to feel comfortable. 3 mins later Bealnamulla struck again with a sweet strike to put the game well past our reach. Colemanstown, however didn’t give up and had two late chances following trojan work from Kara Mullins who hit the woodwork whilst the rebounded effort by Catherine Burke went agonisingly wide. Seconds later a Tess Mullins cross to the inrushing Kara Mullins was well saved by the Bealnamulla keeper . All in all it was a masterclass display by both sides and the Colemanstown ladies should feel incredibly proud to have gotten this far – unbeaten league run, narrowly lose out in Connaught Cup semi final and runners-up in GFA Cup; there is nothing wrong with this in their first year. Many thanks to the large number of supporters who travelled to the game and certainly edged things in terms of support. Thanks to Frank & Bernie Burke for their kind and generous sponsorship this season and thanks to Kara, Tess & Paddy Mullins who are seeking recruitment with an ‘Ads company’ given their conspicuous hoards advertising the game. Thanks to Frank & Bernie for the welcome refreshments after the game. Win or no-win the ladies certainly enjoyed the aftermath. Roll on participation in the premier league for next season and in the interim there is coaching to be done but the ladies can only learn positively from this performance. This report would be incomplete without thanks to Kara Mullins who brought so much fun, craic, and endless energy to the training sessions this year and has without doubt proved herself in terms of management and coaching.