Ladies into League final

Hat-trick hero Hanly!

Lidl Ladies NFL Division Three
Roscommon 4-9 Kildare 1-16

An Aisling Hanly masterclass – she scored 3-2 – was the difference in Parnell Park last Sunday as Roscommon sealed their place in the Division Three Lidl Ladies National League All-Ireland Final. Roscommon will take on Wexford in the final on the 3rd of April at a venue yet to be confirmed.

  Kildare made the brighter start, Roscommon slow to get out of the blocks. Then came a crucial, settling goal. Aisling Hanly was trying for a point but the ball dropped just underneath the crossbar. A point from Jenny Higgins had the ladies in Primrose and Blue ahead by one at the first water break.

  This first half was a real war of attrition. Roscommon had some good spells of possession, but Kildare were defending well, leaving nobody free and forcing the Roscommon attack into errors. The game changed in favour of Kildare and they went ahead again in the 21st minute. Their lead was two as half-time approached but a Laura Fleming free saw the Roscommon ladies close it to one by the half-time whistle. 1-8 to 1-7.

The sides were level again in the 36th minute before two goals from Roscommon saw them go four ahead at the second water break. Kildare lost Grace Clifford in the 44th minute when she was sin-binned. Kildare battled hard to try and get back into the game but their chances were dented hugely when Orlaith Sullivan was sin-binned in the 56th minute for a foul on Jenny Higgins. Then Roscommon’s Laura Fleming was sin-binned and forced to watch the closing minutes on the sideline.

  Kildare rarely looked like ever clawing back the deficit and Roscommon were composed enough to finish out the game, staying in front and securing a tremendous win. Still, there is plenty for manager Ollie Lennon to work on before the final. He will know that had Roscommon been playing a more clinical team, they really could have been in trouble. Long periods without a score, as was the case on Sunday, is another issue that management will want to resolve.

  But what matters is that the place in the final is secured. Roscommon were in a tough group in the league and will be eager to get a long run in the championship, with the feeling being that they have enough firepower to take on any defence.

Ollie Lennon spoke after the game and said the ladies had really been up for it and were mentally well prepped for the game.

  “These ladies are enjoying their football and that is what is important. Our goal as management is to get these girls into Division Two and this is our chance. We are one step away from it. We haven’t even thought about the championship yet. Our goal was the league from the very start and that will be our focus until the final”.

Roscommon: Helena Cummins; Sinead Kenny, Rachel Fitzmaurice, Megan Kelly; Rachel Brady, Roisin Wynne, Aishling McAuliffe; Kate Nolan (0-1, one free), Laura Fleming (0-3, one free); Ellen Irwin, Jenny Higgins (1-3), Caroline Conway; Ashling Hanly (3-2, one free), Rosie Lennon, Niamh Feeney. Subs used: Fiona Tully for Rosie Lennon (half-time), Lauren Shanagher for Megan Kelly (half-time), Mikaela McHugh for Ellen Irwin (half-time), Saoirse Wynne for Rachel Brady (60).

Kildare: D McGinn; M Doherty (0-1), L Lenehan, F Troute; L Murtagh (1-1), L Gilbert, H McLoughlin; A Rattigan (0-2), G Clifford; R Forde, L Curran (0-2, two frees), C Sullivan; N Dooley (0-4), O Sullivan (0-6, four frees), C Wheeler. Subs used: S Kendrick for McLoughlin (16), G Wheeler for C Sullivan (half-time), S Munnelly for Forde (49), A Curran for Conway (57), N Sinnott for L Murtagh (60).