KELLY’S CLINCHER

Roscommon Division 1 Camogie Final Athleague         4-4 Four Roads 2-9 The ladies of Athleague secured the Camogie Division 1 County Final with a hard-earned win over rivals Four Roads in a wet and windy Athleague on Saturday evening last. In what was a pulsating final quarter, it took a free two minutes from time from county star Kelly Hopkins to snatch victory by the minimum of margins after the game look destined to end in a draw.   Athleague had led the contest at the interval and looked odds-on to win the title as they led for the majority of the second period but they found Four Roads in resilient form as they hauled themselves back into contention in an exciting second half.   It was the ladies of Four Roads who made the more promising of starts to proceedings. A Cait Kenny free, a fine score on the run from Siobhan Coyle, a Niamh Coyle point from play and a Catherine Rogerson goal saw them race into an early five-point lead ten minutes in.    The Athleague reply came through a Kelly Hopkins free as the eventual winners struggled to find their feet in the contest.   But find their feet they did as they turned the game on its head with three goals in a five-minute period which put them firmly in control at the break. Firstly Hopkins goaled as her long-range free found they net after causing consternation in the Four Roads’ full-back line. Then county star Annette McGeeney bounced on a loose ball to fire to the net and just when Four Roads thought it couldn’t get any worse Rachel Fallon pulled on a breaking ball outside the square and it to ended up in the net to cap an emphatic scoring spree for the Athleague women.   Hopkins also added a free in that period for her side and Kenny did they same for a Four Roads side who were longing for the half-time whistle as they struggled to contain their Athleague opponents who held a commanding lead at half-time – 3-2 to 1-4.   The second half was to tell a different story however. Four Roads once more began the brighter and tagged on two points – both from frees – from the impressive Kenny. Hopkins picked up where she had left off for the Athleague when she found the net yet again with another long-range free but it was Four Roads who dominated for most of the remainder of the game as they began eating into Athleague’s lead.   Kenny pointed again in the 36th minute, Siobhan Coyle scored a fine point from play and Kenny added another from a ’45 to set the comeback in motion. Once Patricia Lennon found the net midway through the second period it was game well and truly on.   McGeeney pointed three minutes from time from play but Kenny struck yet again to level proceedings with little time to play on the clock. It was anybody’s game in a frantic finale but it was Hopkins who stepped up and showed maturity beyond her years to secure the title with a free at the death and cap another memorable day for the ladies of Athleague. Athleague: F. Connell; A. Delaney, N. Connolly, C. Murray; M. McCormack, C. Moran, L. Raftery; A. McGeeney (1-1), E. Daly; N. Mulhern, M. Melia, L. Connolly; K. Hopkins (2-3, three frees), R. Fallon (1-0), G. Naughton. Four Roads: S. Finneran; C. Glennon, O. Hynes, M. Glennon; B. Hughes, D. Kelly, O. Hughes; S. Coyle (0-2), P. Lennon (1-0); G. Dowd, C. Kenny (0-6, all frees), N. Coyle (0-1); L. O’Connell, M. Grehan, C. Rogerson (1-0). Substitutions: A. Fallon for D. Kelly. Referee: Kevin Kelly.