After enduring a barrage in the first half, a clinical St. Mary’s gave a wasteful Sean O’Heslin’s a tough lesson on taking your chances in last Sunday’s Ballinamore Credit Union Ladies Intermediate Championship Final, the Carrick Ladies sealing a well deserved victory with a fine second half performance in Cloone.
By John Connolly
Ladies Intermediate Championship Final
St Mary’s 3-8
Sean O’Heslin’s 3-5
After a thoroughly entertaining final, St. Mary’s ensured that they went one better than last year by lifting the Intermediate crown but at halftime, not too many would have given the Carrick women much hope of bringing off such was Ballinamore’s dominance in the first half.
But O’Heslin’s dominance was not reflected on the score-board as an incredible seven wides in the opening seven minutes, a stretch of play that also included a point for each team, and over 20 missed chances in total left the Ballinamore women wondering at the final whistle what might have been.
Indeed, no regret is greater than what might have been had Sarah McLoughlin’s long range shot in the last few seconds of added time, heading for the top right hand corner, not ended up in the hands of St. Mary’s keeper Elaine Johnston, a vital save denying O’Heslin’s a draw.
The seeds of a remarkable St. Mary’s victory were sown in the dying seconds of added time in the first half when Michelle Guckian converted a penalty to hand the Carrick women a massive boost for the second half.
That score gave St. Mary’s a somewhat flattering two point deficit to chase at the break as Ballinamore led 2-2 to 1-3.
Yet even with that spot-kick and a rejigged line-up for the second half, few would have predicted the change in St. Mary’s fortunes in the second half as they took the game to Ballinamore and deservedly claimed a famous victory.
Central to the St. Mary’s victory was the performance of Player of the Match Catherine O’Flynn. With St. Mary’s under so much pressure, they needed to take every chance and O’Flynn’s precise passing and hard running ensured that chief markswoman Michelle Guckian got the supply she needed.
Guckian, if she gets the ball, is unstoppable and one goal, a screamer from 20 yards was like a rocket but O’Flynn’s work out the field was crucial to St. Mary’s success.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.