AIB All-Ireland Club Junior ‘A’ Championship Final
Kilmessan (Meath) 3-12
Four Roads 1-12
For the second weekend in a row, a Roscommon club team clad in Black and Amber showed bucketfuls of heart, will to win and pride in the jersey, but unfortunately the result was the same as it was for Fuerty the previous week, as Four Roads were pipped at the post by Kilmessan in a thrilling junior club final played in damp conditions at Pairc Tailteann in Navan last Sunday.
Four Roads made light of the fact that they had to play the game in the backyard of their opponents with a fantastic display, and one was left wondering afterwards what might have happened if this final was played at a neutral venue.
With two minutes to go Four Roads were just two points behind and they were looking dangerous whenever they got the ball into their full-forward line. However, it was the outrageous skill of Megan Thynne which once again changed the complexion of this final with a clinically taken goal in the 58th minute which finally gave the Meath girls the breathing space they wanted. A further pointed free from Aileen Donnelly pushed the final margin to six which was very unfair on Adrian Tully’s side who were outstanding all through.
Playing on their home county pitch, the Meath girls, who are the defending All-Ireland champions at this grade (try to figure that one out) were expected to easily deal with the threat of the Roscommon champions. But Adrian Tully and his team did not read that script and they matched their illustrious opponents all the way and were unlucky in the end not to have got at least a share of the spoils.
With Gertie Dowd and Aisling Fallon commanding at the back, Four Roads were the better side in the opening quarter and points from Shauna Fallon (free), Patricia Lennon and Aisling Dempsey saw them into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after 13 minutes.
But a player with the ability of Megan Thynne will never be far away from the centre of the action and the slightly built corner-forward burst on to the scene in the 17th minute with a stunning goal placed low and hard just inside Cáit Kenny’s post.
But Four Roads were in no mood to sit back and admire the handiwork of Kilmessan and in the 20th minute a lung-bursting run from Shauna Fallon was carried on by Niamh Coyle before Lizzy Glennon-Tully hand-passed to the net despite being upended in the process. Now Four Roads had their noses in front. But Kilmessan held the whip hand by the half-time break as their full-forward Katie Ní Choilean rattled the Four Roads net after good work from Thynne and some hesitancy in the visitors full-back line. Half-time score: Kilmessan 2-5 Four Roads 1-5.
The opening 10 minutes of the second half was largely dominated by Kilmessan. Thynne, Ailbhe Lynch and Katie Ní Choilean all scored points, and by the 39th minute it was 2-8 to 1-6. But all credit to Four Roads they never bowed the knee and they came storming back into the match.
Lizzy Glennon-Tully was causing havoc at full-forward and five points in a row from Tully (2), Shauna Fallon (2 frees) and Niamh Coyle saw the sides level by the 52nd minute. Aileen Donnelly’s accuracy from frees was proving crucial and the Kilmessan centre half-forward was on target with three placed balls late on to keep her side in front. Four Roads answered with a Shauna Fallon free from a very difficult angle in the 56th minute.
It was anyone’s game as we entered the final two minutes with just two points between the teams but the elusive Thynne struck again and it was game set and match to the Royals.
It was a tremendous battling performance from Four Roads and while they will be heartbroken not to have won, they couldn’t really have done any more in terms of heart and effort. Cáit Kenny was solid between the sticks and in defence Gertie Dowd was a tower of strength all through. Aisling Fallon also had a mighty game. Shauna Fallon and Patricia Lennon did well at midfield while up front Lizzy Glennon-Tully led the line superbly and Niamh Coyle and Siobhan Coyle also had their moments.
Teams and scorers
Kilmessan: Anne Marie Dennehy; Aisling Walsh, Rachel Kelly, Maeve Lally; Maeve O’Leary, Ailbhe Lynch (0-1), Laura O’Neill; Tracy King (0-1), Stephanie Horan; Nadine Doyle, Aileen Donnelly (0-6,4 frees), Leah Dennehy: Megan Thynne (2-3), Katie Ní Choileáin (1-1), Carrie Doyle.
Subs: Abby Donnelly for O’Neill (28), Michelle Horan for Dennehy (60), Ciara Ní Choileáin for King (60).
Four Roads: Cait Kenny; Karen Carty, Eimear Lennon, Donna Kelly; Aisling Fallon, Gertie Dowd, Miriam Hastings; Shauna Fallon (0-5,frees), Patricia Lennon (0-1); Siobhan Coyle (0-1), Niamh Coyle (0-2), Nicola Crean; Aisling Dempsey (0-1), Lizzy Glennon-Tully (1-2), Sinead O’Brien.
Subs: Oonagh Kelly for Hastings (38), Lena Gacquin for Crean (48).
Referee: Michael Ryan (Tipperary)