A goal a piece from Ciara McGoldrick and Leah Sweeney was the difference between the sides, as Ballinamore defeated Drumshanbo 2-6 to 0-6 in last Thursday’s Allianz Primary Schools Girls Division One County Final.
Both teams served up an entertaining encounter despite the less than ideal conditions, at a wet and windy Pairc Sean MacDiarmada.
Ballinamore took an early lead with only seconds elapsed as Leah Sweeney kicked over, before Roisin McGrenaghan pegged one back for Drumshanbo. The teams traded points through Niamh McNiffe and Aine Flood.
Flood, along with team mates Eimear Gibbons & Nicole McGarry, had chances to put Drumshanbo in the lead in the next four minutes.
Ballinamore capitalised on Drumshanbo’s failure to take the initiative two minutes later, when, after Flood struck Aideen Maxwell’s crossbar, Ballinamore went on a quick counter-attack.
The Ballinamore defence worked the ball away from danger, before Emma McGovern’s mazy run was halted by a Drumshanbo defender. McGovern gauged the position of the posts and kicked over to give Ballinamore a 0-3 to 0-2 lead.
Both teams continued a quick passing game as the first period came to a close, Drumshanbo’s Megan Moran made the most of some hesitation from Ballinamore ‘keeper Maxwell as she levelled the tie, beating Maxwell to the ball and choosing to take her point to tie the teams yet again. Moran then repeated the trick on the stroke of half time to send Drumshanbo into a 0-4 to 0-3 lead at the break.
Drumshanbo doubled their lead early in the second half as Flood struck from fifteen metres, but McGoldrick pegged the lead back to one with the score of the game as the forward found the posts from a difficult angle at the sideline.
Ballinamore battled back and had their South Leitrim rivals in their cross hairs after they dealt two killer blows in quick succession, as they took a five point lead with 15 minutes of the second half played. Aoife McCartin’s free from the right on 14 minutes was poked into the net by Sweeney, before McGoldrick scored Ballinamore’s second goal a minute later.
Her magnificent turn-cum-shot flew past the helpless McManus and into the top corner of the net. Drumshanbo fought hard to get back into the tie, with Flood in particular trying to force the issue and she was rewarded with three minutes to play, when she stormed past two Ballinamore tackles to place the ball between the posts.
Unfortunately, this was too little, too late for her side as McGovern put her third score on the board with seconds remaining to give Ballinamore a 2-6 to 0-6 win.
Aideen Maxwell, Chloe Mullen, Elaoishe Martin, Aoife McCartin, Eadaoin Murphy, Emma McGovern (0-3), Niamh McNiffe (0-1), Maeve Hamill, Joley McGovern, Ciara McGoldrick (1-1), Leah Sweeney (1-1). Subs: Michaela Harte, Alannah Smyth, Claire McLoughlin, Aileen Flynn, Sorcha McGrath, Megan Prior, Breige Murphy, Aoibhinn McGoldrick, Laoise Moran, Abbi Sweeney.
Danielle McManus, Ciara Lynch, Mairead Flood, Shona Nugent, Nicole McGarry, Aine Flood (0-3), Eimear Gibbons, Leah Flynn, Roisin McGrenaghan (0-1), Megan Moran (0-2), Aoife Gilmartin.Subs: Tara McKeown, Rachel McDonagh, Niamh Nolan.