After a blistering start that saw them surge into a 11 point lead by the halftime break, there was heart-break for Annaduff last Saturday in Tuam as Annaghadown staged a remarkable recovery to snatch victory in the Tesco Connacht Ladies Junior Club Championship.
In what was the proverbial game of two halves, Annaduff won the first half convincingly as they led 4-6 to 2-1 at the interval, shocking the fancied Galway champions with a great display of powerful attacking substitutions.
However, Annaghadown put on their own remarkable show in the second half and as they held the Leitrim champions to just two points, they added a remarkable 2-9 to take the victory by two points after a pulsating encounter.
Annaduff’s cause was not helped by the second half sin-binning of keeper Avril Cox and Evie Guckian, depriving them of a player for 20 minutes of the action and lending more momentum to Annaghadown’s fightback.
Heart-break was far from the mind of Annaduff supporters in the first 11 minutes as the Leitrim champions struck for two goals. The ever-green Ann Marie Cox goaled from a free on two minutes and she was denied a second goal after good work from Evie Guckian.
Cox added a 40 yard point before captain Claire Gill put over a fine point. A good move out of defence led to Cox putting Evie Guckian through on goal and she made no mistake before Joanne Duignan set up Cox for another point on 13 minutes.
Annaghadown gave themselves a lifeline when powerful full-forward Grainne Barrett goal but Annaduff continued to attack in waves, the defence holding firm and the pressure paid off when Ann Marie Cox scored her second goal from the penalty point.
Points followed from Sarah McManus and Eleanor Glancy but it was Cox who continued to set the tone for Annaduff, scoring a point and then a great goal after a perceptive cross from the wing.
Annaghadown crucially hit back with a goal from G. Barrett but despite a fine Cox point, the Galway team were beginning to pressurise the Annaduff defence with Avril Cox making a good save and former Galway star Niamh Duggan, back on after a sin-binning, pointing.
The second half saw Annaghadown started strongly with two early points, Ann Marie Cox converting a free in response. Annaduff were dealt a blow when Avril Cox was sin-binned, necessitated a switch as full-forward Mairead McHugh went into goal.
The Galway side put over two frees along with a controversial point when McHugh was lying injured on the field. Another Galway point was followed a point-blank save from McHugh to preserve Annaduff’s three point lead.
With Ann Marie Cox swapping points with the Galway side, the game was level with five minutes left in the half when Barrett grabbed a second goal and with momentum behind them, they added a point two minutes later to go in front.
With Evie Guckian also sin-binned with four minutes of normal time left and six minutes of added time, Annaghadown went two up to secure the victory.
Annaduff will be disappointed but, in the circumstances of the day, they can be proud of their fine display and they now look forward to the League final next weekend.
Avril Cox, Rachelle O’Connor, Mairead McHugh, Lorraine Cox, Mairead Cox, Sarah McManus, Orla Beirne, Maeve Rowley, Joanna Duignan, Sinead Reynolds, Evie Guckian, Claire Gill, Eleanor Glancy, Ann Marie Cox, Aisling Gill. Sub used, Catherine Keville for Eleanor Glancy.