A somewhat shell-shocked Colemanstown ladies team conceded three early goals in the Senior Ladies Cup Final tonight under lights in Eamon Deacy Park from which they never really bounced back. Colemanstown were 5-0 down at half-time, a little bit humiliated perhaps at the hands of a rampaging Corrib Rangers outfit. That said, earning their way to the final set the seal on a great end to the season for Alicia Flannery & Philip Dee’s team which is no mean feat in their first season back competing in Galway & District league Ladies soccer.
The positive for Colemanstown came when Teresa Loughnane powered home a cracker just 5mins after the restart and there was a heart-warming moment when both the large Colemanstown contingent & even the Corrib Rangers fans rose to applaud her. She could have scored a 2nd moments later only for a fine one handed save from the Corrib Rangers custodian.
Colemanstown’s 2nd half performance was testament to the mentality that Alicia Flannery & Philip Dee had instilled in the players although there were 2 casualties due to cramp in the last minute of the game. Corrib Rangers played as if their lives depended on the result. Their aggression, tempo and passing precision served up a highlight for them.
Colemanstown ladies were on the back foot early on, having conceded two goals, exact replicas of each other by the 6th minute at wind and rain swept Eamon Deacy Park. Corrib Rangers scored a third goal on 16mins after first Orla McCaffrey saved well with her feet but the striker made no hesitation with the rebound as she swept the ball into the far corner. No. 4 arrived on the half hour mark as a delivery from the far corner was sent into the box and the awkward bounce of the ball caught Orla McCaffrey off guard and although she got her glove to it, the greasy ball somehow scrambled over the goal line. Colemanstown’s best chance of the half fell to Ciara Naughton but she hesitated momentarily, the ball was snuck off her toe and the chance was gone. It was 5-0 before the break as Corrib Rangers broke from midfield and a whopper of an effort left Orla with no chance. 5-0 Half time
Whatever Alicia & Philip said to the girls at half time, they re-emerged a different team making sure their woes would go no deeper. The Colemanstown ladies capitalised on a short kick out and Niamh Flannery found Teresa Loughnane 8 yards out and she let fly to a rapturous applause before the ball even hit the net. 2mins later Orlaith Hannon floated in a free kick and Teresa Loughnane again got a boot on it to draw a superb save from the fully stretched keeper. Momentarily, on 9mins it looked like our woes would be worsened as the ref pointed to the penalty spot in what looked a harsh decision. Orla McCaffrey faced the taker as she placed the ball before retreating back to her goal line where her prancing put off the striker who blasted well over. It seemed like justice had been done, such was the harsh call by the ref in the first place. Orla made another superb double save while Kate Kennedy’s perfectly timed sliding tackle was also immense as Colemanstown were fighting tooth and nail.
Orlaith Hannon’s free kick after she herself was fouled was half saved by the city side’s custodian but she regained her composure on the second attempt to save well. Ciara Lally had a half chance towards the end but failed to get enough power on her effort. Corrib Rangers had another massive chance in a well worked move on the far side of EDP but the ball thundered off the post. With 9 mins left Corrib Rangers scored their 6th as their striker chipped Orla who was advancing off her line. In the last minute of the game, 2 Colemanstown players fell victim to cramp such was the immense 2nd half shift put in.
Colemanstown fans took to the pitch after the game to applaud their team who put in a mighty second half display but alas they were beaten by a much better team while Catherine Burke was also a big loss in the engine room. As they collected their runners up medals captain Orla McCaffrey thanked David Gilligan who revived the ladies team this season and Alicia & Philip who took on the managerial role when finding a management team was difficult at the outset. She also thanked the loudest fans in the stadium. The last word has to go to young Josh Buckley who never missed a ladies training session all year and often even lured his mother out to training when it might have been so much easier to sit in.
Well done ladies. Runners-up in a Cup Final. Not bad for the first year back.
Squad: Orla McCaffrey, Niamh Raftery, Aoife Donoghue, Ciara Lally, Laura Parker. Amy Kenny, Orlaith Hannon, Ciara Naughton, Niamh Flannery, Teresa Loughnane, Mary Walsh, Kate Kennedy, Lisa Kenny, Niamh Nolan.