Muireann Devaney pictured with parents Eamon and Harriet, sister Anna and grandfather Seamus after she won the Junior Sports Star of the Year at the Leitrim Sports Star Awards. Photo James Molloy
Glencar/Manorhamilton stormed back to the Connacht Ladies Minor Final for the second year in a row when they prove far too strong for Roscommon’s Clann na nGael last Sunday.
With Leah Fox leading the way with an impressive tally of 3-3 for the Leitrim champions and keeper Alva Sheridan making a series of top class saves, Glencar/Manorhamilton set up a rematch with Galway’s Corofin in the Connacht Final set for Saturday, December 9, the game also taking place in St. Croan's GAA club in Ballintubber.
The Roscommon champions really tested Manor and staged a strong second half performance that cut a 13 point lead down to one at one stage.
Glencar/Manorhamilton got off to a whirlwind start with Dearbhla Rooney hitting the back of the net straight from the throw in. A Mary Broughton foul on Clann’s danger woman and centre forward Sinead Farrell was punished with a free by full forward Kayleigh Shine.
From the kick-out, Manor’s midfielder Aoife Gilmartin fielded superbly and off-loaded to Muireann Devaney who put Dearbhla Rooney in for a fine point. The same player slotted home her second goal but Glencar/Manor had a let off when Rosie Lennon forced a fine save from Alva Sheridan in the Manor goals.
Clann tagged on two points before Leah Fox pointed from a tight angle and captain Orlaith Kelly was on target with a super long range free. Two well taken points in quick succession from Leah Fox put eight points between the sides but Manor were to be left reeling with Clann’s Kayleigh Shine hitting a goal on the counterattack to leave it 1-3 to 2-5.
In the last 10 minutes of the half, Manor’s keeper Alva Sheridan and forward Leah Fox came into their own and turned the tide in Manor’s favour. Sheridan came to her side’s rescue on two occasions: tightening the angle of the onrushing Lennon and forcing her to shoot wide and later by pushing a pile driver over the bar.
At the other end, Dearbhla Rooney pointed before Leah Fox was to secure her hat trick and traded points from Orlaith Kelly and Kayleigh Shine left the half time score 5-7 to 1-6 in favour of the Leitrim side.
Aided by the wind in the second half, Clann na nGael emerged after half time determined and launched a strong comeback. A brilliant individual goal by half-back Megan Kelly who ran the length of the field unchallenged sparked the Clann side into life.
Leitrim’s 2017 Young Sports Star of the Year Muireann Devaney got in on the scoring with two fine points from play. Further points from Clann reduced the lead to nine points but the Roscommon side were dealt a blow with the loss of the influential Kayleigh Shine through injury.
The Roscommon team were sparked into life and captain Sinead Farrell pointed from play before Kara Earl goaled. Glencar Manor’s midfielder Eadaoin Clancy scored a fine point from distance to leave six points between the sides.
At this stage play got more hectic resulting in Clann’s Rosie Lennon being sin-binned. In injury time Manor’s Orlaith Kelly converted a free and a Muireann Devaney free evaded everyone to end up in the top corner to leave the final score 6-11 to 3-10.
Glencar/Manor face champions Corofin in the Connacht decider after the Galway side defeated Eastern Harps of Sligo in the other semi-final on a scoreline of 10-21 to 2-2.
With a wealth of intercounty experience in the Corofin ranks this will be a big step up for the Leitrim girls. However, Glencar Manorhamilton have their own stars and are building on their experience but will still need to deliver a top performance for the full 60 minutes to prevail.
GAME AT A GLANCE
Main Woman: Alva Sheridan’s performance in goals was crucial to her sides victory with a number of fine saves. Mary Broughton and Hannah Johnston stood out in defence, the midfield pairing of Eadaoin Clancy and Aoife Gilmartin dominated the first half while up front Dearbhla Rooney with 2-2 and Leah Fox with 3-3 were the forward stars with Muireann Devaney also impressing.
For the Roscommon girls, captain Sinead Farrell was the driving force behind her team with Kayleigh Shine and Rosie Lennon a handful up-front and backs Megan Kelly and Emma Kildea also catching the eye
Talking Point: Manor fading out of the game for a long spell in the second half will worry them ahead of a Connacht Final rematch against Galway's Corofin – only for their first half lead they could have been in trouble
Turning Point: The first half hat trick from Leah Fox before half and the top class saves from Alva Sheridan gave Glencar/Manor the platform for victory
Ref Watch: Rebecca McPhilbin from Galway was consistent in her interpretation of the rules and played the advantage rule when needed.
Highlight: Superb build up play and score taking from the Manor girls particularly in the first half.
Lowlight: The Manor girls not pushing on in the second half and allowing Clann na nGael back into the game.
TEAMS & SCORERS
Scorers: Leah Fox 3-3; Dearbhla Rooney 2-2; Muireann Devaney 1-2; Orlaith Kelly 0-3; Eadaoin Clancy 0-1
Team: Alva Sheridan, Laoise Clancy, Aisling Faulkner, Tara McLaughlin, Aoife Gallagher, Mary Broughton, Hannah Johnston, Aoife Gilmartin, Eadaoin Clancy, Orlaith Kelly, Dearbhla Rooney, Chloe Rooney, Leah Fox, Muireann Devaney, Emma McLaughlin. Subs: Aoife Feeney for T. McLaughlin, Mairead Clancy for E. McLaughlin, Kate Johnston, Dervla McManus, Chloe Foley, Teresa Rooney, Shannon McGloin, Emma Louise Clancy, Sarah McGloin, Mairead Ferguson, Brennagh Harte
Clann na nGael
Team: Eadaoin Lennon, Aoife O’Neill, Amy Quinn, Christina Connell, Megan Kelly, Kelley Cogan, Emma Kildea, Aine Connaughton, Ide Crehan, Caoimhe Galvin, Sinead Farrell, Rosie Lennon, Aoife O’Brien, Kayleigh Shine, Kara Earle. Subs Keirstin Greasley, Danielle Greasley, Louise Egan, Mollie Dolan
Referee: Rebecca McPhilbin (Galway)