Connacht Ladies U-14B Final
Roscommon 2-7 Mayo 2-4
Roscommon captured the Connacht U-14 B Championship in Ballinlough after a hard-fought victory over Mayo. After being defeated 5-9 to 0-5 by the same opposition three weeks previously -- in the round robin series -- this was a remarkable turnaround by this group of players.
From the start Roscommon showed tremendous will-power and raised concentration levels as Mayo took the game to them. Indeed only for some outstanding defending in the early stages of both halves, this match could have been out Roscommonís reach, but when the Rossies finally took control, they were clinical in attack and at the other end Mayo never looked like salvaging a draw.
The first 15 minutes was all Mayo and they found themselves 1-2 to the good and they were also forced into kicking bad wides with resolute Roscommon defending from the likes of Grainne Lohan, Claire McCormack, Tess Murtagh, Melissa Tiernan and Aoife Shields.
Shauna Bannon raised a green flag for Roscommon in the 20th minute to register their first score. Three minutes later Rachel Fitzmaurice got her first point and that was followed by a score from Shannon Gaelís Katie Daly to leave Mayo leading by the narrowest of margins at the break, 1-3 to 1-2.
Caoimhe Shanagher levelled matters on the re-start but once more Mayo threatened to pull away. First they got a fortunate goal, where the goalscorer seemed to take an extraordinary number of steps -- and this was followed by a point, to leave Mayo four points ahead with twenty minutes remaining. But from then to the final whistle Roscommon took over.
In the 12th minute Rachel Fitzmaurice pulled back a point from a free. A long-range free then broke kindly for the same player and in an instant the St. Ciaranís girl swivelled to dispatch it into the bottom corner for an equaliser. Roscommonís midfield and half-backs were in complete control at this stage and when substitute Rebecca Brennan fired them into the lead with ten minutes remaining, there was a great roar from the stand.
Therese Lennon added a good point from play before the same player stood over a 30-metre free with a minute left. Cool as you like she put the ball over the black spot and Roscommon were home and dry.
This was an overall team effort but particular praise must go to the whole defence, where Strokestownís Aoife Sheils collected the Player of the Match award from Connacht Council President Kathleen Keane. Captain Therese Lennon was then presented with the Connacht Shield.
Congratulations to the management of Pat Leonard, Ray Shanagher, Gerry Lennon and Cathy Daly for all their hard work so far.
Roscommon: Caoimhe OíReilly; Fiona Tully, Melissa Kiernan, Tess Murtagh; Jill Mullooly, Aoife Shiel, Claire McCormack; Caoimhe Shanagher, Shauna Connell; Katie Daly, Rachel Fitzmaurice, Therese Lennon; Shaunna Bannon, Olga Kenny, Grainne Lohan. Subs: Aisling Egan, Niamh Farrell, Grainne Gaynor, Christine Beirne, Rachel Corcoran, Rebecca Brennan, Melissa Mattimoe, Shauna Burke, Niamh Beirne, Roisin Timothy, Sinead Meehan, Aisling McGuire, Melissa Goldrick, Sarah Halligan, Sabrina Regan.