An impressive all round display from sharpshooter Ailbhe Clancy propelled Leitrim to a famous Connacht Ladies B Final victory over Roscommon in Hyde Park, a victory secured with a dramatic winner over seven minutes into added time at the end of a hard fought contest.
By John Connolly
Roscommon had looked as if they were about to snatch a game that Leitrim had dominated from start to finish when Lisa Flynn scored a goal with less than two minutes of normal time left and the home side started to camp in the Leitrim half, definitely looking like the team more likely to score.
But in an added time complicated by extended stoppages for injuries, Leitrim’s defence stood firm under intense pressure and got a vital break when a Roscommon player appeared to be fouled but referee Kevin Corcoran awarded a free to Leitrim for over-carrying.
Making the most of their luck, Leitrim played a long free to Laura O’Dowd who scored a wonderful point on the break to secure a famous and well deserved victory.
In many ways, it was amazing that the final was so close as Leitrim so dominated the contest in most positions and in Ailbhe Clancy, they had a truly remarkable attacker, scoring 1-4 from play and 0-3 from frees to top the individual scoring charts.
Clancy was almost like a force of nature, her goal a virtual cannon-ball of a shot that rebounded off two posts and scoring a variety of truly wonderful points that would have any player looking on enviously.
Keeper Katie Byrne was just as important as Clancy in her contribution to Leitrim’s victory, making three wonderful saves in the first half, two to prevent certain goals and it was this that gave an inspired Leitrim defence the motivation to keep working as hard as they did.
Ciara Gaffney provided great leadership and momentum in the middle of the park while Laura O’Dowd burst into life in the second half with four wonderful points while there were great displays from Shauna Clancy, Amy Prior and Emma Guckian.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.