TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Intermediate Championship 2nd Round Qualifier
Sligo 2-15 Roscommon 2-13
Roscommon ladies are out of this years’ All-Ireland Intermediate championship but they were desperately unlucky as they lost out to Sligo after a thrilling encounter played in Ballinamore on Saturday.
Two late points from Sligo decided the outcome and it was a very disappointing result for Kieran Kilkenny’s side as they had given their all on the day.
The fact that this was one of the best games of football of the year will not be of much consolation to Roscommon as they look back on this defeat but they can look forward to the future with confidence as the panel is very young and they will definitely improve in the coming seasons if they keep this group together.
Played on an excellent surface and on a fine evening this game was a real end-to-end affair from the first whistle.
Jenny Higgins fired over Roscommon’s first point within 20 seconds but it was Sligo who made the best start and after 8 minutes they led by 1-3 to 0-1, Katie Walsh fired home the goal in the 8th minute and she would give the Roscommon defence many headaches over the course of the game.
But Roscommon battled back into the contest and with Jenny Downey once again so accurate from frees and play, and with Jenny Higgins, Siobhan Tully, and Martina Freyne also playing well, Roscommon were always in the hunt.
However with Katie Walsh and Denise McGrath also playing well Sligo kept their noses in front and in first half injury time they led by 1-9 to 0-8.
Then Jenny Higgins scored one of the finest goals that you are likely to see this year in any grade. Laura Fleming and Higgins exchanged a number of passes before Higgins fired a bullet of a shot into the top corner of the net from 20 metres out.
It was a sensational goal and at half-time Roscommon only trailed by a point 1-9 to 1-8. Indeed Roscommon forged ahead on the restart when Rachel Ryan got in for Roscommon’s second goal after great work from Siobhan Tully, but with Katie Walsh and Emma Hansbury grabbing vital scores for Sligo it was score for score until the final couple of minutes.
The sides were level three times until Emma Hansbury struck for a second Sligo goal in the 49th minute to give them a two point lead 2-13 to 2-11.
But Roscommon would not lie down and excellent scores from sub Jenny Conlon and Aisling McAulliffe levelled the scores by the 54th minute.
But it was Sligo who finished slightly the stronger team and late points from Sinead McTiernan and subs Lisa Casey saw them edge out the narrow inners and they now play Waterford in the quarter finals on Saturday week.
For Roscommon it’s is a year of narrow misses losing out by a point to Leitrim in the championship and then to Sligo by two points in the qualifiers. However there is plenty of positives to build on for the future.
Sligo: Noelle Gormley; Orla McGowan, Grainne O’Loughlin, Jacqui Mulligan (0-1); Colley Casey, Elise Codd, Rusth Goodwin; Sinead McTiernan (0-1), Bernice Byrne (0-1); Denise McGrath (0-3), Stephanie O’Reilly (0-1), Elaine O’Reilly (0-1); Rachel Monaghan, Katie Walsh (1-5, 4 frees), Emma Hansbury (1-1). Subs: Lisa Casey (0-1) for Monaghan (43), Anne Marie Coleman for C Casey (59), Karen Maloney for McGrath 963), Tara Doddy for O’Loughlin (63).
Roscommon: Rachel Timothy; Feena Beirne, Niamh O’Beirne, Honor Ennis; Aisling McAulliffe (0-1), Louise Tully, Sorcha Bruen; Jenny Higgins (1-1), Sinead Kenny; Siobhan Tully, Rachel Ryan (0-1), Laura Fleming; Caroline Gunning, Martina Freyne (0-3), Jenny Downey (0-7, 6 frees). Subs: Amanda McLoone for O’Beirne (h-t), Jenny Conlon (0-1) for Bruen (41).
Referee: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan)
Player of the Match Katie Walsh (Sligo)
For luckless Roscommon, Aisling McAuliffe, Jenny Higgins, Siobhan Tully, Martina Freyne and Jenny Downey were outstanding on the day.
For Sligo, Sinead McTiernan, Denise McGrath, Stephanie O’Reilly and Emma Hansbury all played well but Katie Walsh was a constant threat to the Roscommon defence and her ball winning ability was crucial to Sligo’s win.