Heavy defeat for Drumkeerin as Gaels advance

Ann Marie Gallagher battles for the ball during last Sunday's Tesco Connacht Ladies Club Championship. Photo by Willie Donnellan
After the high of claiming the Leitrim Junior Championship a week earlier, Drumkeerin suffered defeat in the Connacht championship last Sunday.

After the high of claiming the Leitrim Junior Championship a week earlier, Drumkeerin suffered defeat in the Connacht championship last Sunday.

Drumkeerin got off to the best possible start when they found the back of the Shannon Gaels net but that was to be as good as it would get as the Roscommon champions took over and deservedly claimed their spot in the final.

The absence of Deirdre Devitt, Shannon O’Grady and Aimee O’Grady was a real blow to Drumkeerin as all three had been instrumental a week earlier when Drumkeerin won the county final.

In their absence the onus was on the likes of Michelle McNama, Michaelaigh Nolan, Ann Marie Gallagher and Shauna Clancy to bring the fight to Shannon Gaels.

While the Drumkeerin players gave their all they were overrun for large stretches of the game with Shannon Gaels particularly strong down the middle of the pitch.

Clodagh Corrigan, Niamh O’Beirne, Tess Murtagh, Sile O’Dowd, Aisling O’Hart and Sorcha Bruen were all outstanding as the Roscommon champions bossed matters.

While the scoreline doesn’t hide the fact that Shannon Gaels were undoubtedly the stronger team, the Leitrim representatives did start brightly.

Barely 10 seconds after the game started Shauna Clancy scored the game’s opening goal after fine play from Ann Marie Gallagher.

However, Drumkeerin managed only an additional point during the opening half as Shannon Gaels took control and goals from team captain Ruth O’Hart and Sile O’Dowd meant they led 1-1 to 2-6 at the break.

Drumkeerin left the Shannon Gaels team waiting for the second half to get underway but the instructions issued didn’t have any bearing as Shannon Gaels struck for goal as soon as the second half got underway as Aishling McDermott shot past Kate Byrne.

Deirdre Devitt who was forced out of the county final was introduced three minutes after the restart and while she did help to shore up the defence it was evident she wasn’t fully fit and Shannon Gaels continued to dominate.

With the result beyond doubt both sides made a number of changes but the Drumkeerin supporters did have one further chance to find their voice when Ann Marie Gallagher scored a fine goal but ultimately this had no bearing on the final outcome.

Drumkeerin: Kate Byrne, Martina Gallagher, Michelle McNama, Megan Wynne, Michaelaigh Nolan, Marie Byrne, Gemma McLoughlin, Ann Marie Gallagher (1-1), Lauraine Walpole, Bridget Gallagher, Charleen Maguire, Aoife McKenna, Mary Louise McCabe (1-1), Shauna Clancy (1-0), Aine Fallon. Subs: Deirdre Devitt for McKenna (33 mins), Aisling Fee for McNama (42 mins), Denise McManus for Maguire (51 mins), Bronagh Doherty for Fallon (59 mins), Rachel Fee for McCabe (59 mins).

Shannon Gaels: Aisling Egan, Martina Hanly, Clodagh Corrigan, Linda Duignan, Christine Clancy, Niamh O’Beirne (0-1), Aideen Filan, Tess Murtagh, Sile O’Dowd (1-1), Sorcha Bruen (0-7), Aisling O’Hart, Ruth O’Hart (1-0), Aine O’Dowd (0-1), Aishling McDermott (1-5), Niamh Flanagan. Subs: Claire Cregg (0-1) for A. O’Hart (26 mins), Mairead O’Dowd (1-0) for R. O’Hart (39 mins), Lauren Beirne (0-1) for Flanagan (50 mins), Stella Cregg for Duignan (55 mins), Aoife Guihen for A. O’Dowd (58 mins).

Referee: David Breslin (Galway)