No Royal pardon for plucky youngsters

All-Ireland Ladies Minor ‘B’ Football Final: Meath 4-9 Roscommon 3-1

A first half blitz – during which they scored four goals and five points to Roscommon’s one goal – saw Meath storm to the All-Ireland ‘B’ title at St. Loman’s Mullingar on Saturday last. A brave second half display that saw Roscommon outscore their opponents by 2-1 to 0-4 was not sufficient and Meath had done enough in that impressive first half display.

  On a perfect pitch and in front of a very healthy crowd, Roscommon never got going in the first half and they paid the price. Meath on the other hand were very impressive. They played some lovely attacking football and with full-forward Marion Farrelly on fire, they took the game to Roscommon from the opening whistle. As early as the 2nd minute Roisin Commins was foot-blocked in the large square. Courtney Mulhall made a great save from Marion Farrelly’s penalty although the Meath forward put the rebound over the crossbar.

  Emma White followed that up with a point two minutes later and in the 10th minute the Royals got their first goal. Aoibhin Cleary made a strong run and Kelsey Nesbit supplied a smart finish, low and hard. But Roscommon were back in the game in the 16th minute. Caoimhe Lennon (Roscommon’s best player) shot for a point but the flight of the ball deceived the Meath goalkeeper and it flew into the net, and now Roscommon were only two points behind.

  But that’s as good as it got for Roscommon as Meath took over completely. Megan Thynne grabbed a second Meath goal in the 21st minute (another shot for a point that went in) and less than a minute later Marion Farrelly was in again for a third goal, and her second of the game. Further Meath points from Marion Farrelly (2, 1 free) and Megan Thynne extended their lead further. In the 6th minute of first half injury-time Meath struck again and Marion Farrell completed her hat trick when she easily got through an overworked Roscommon defence. Half -time score Meath 4-5 Roscommon 1-0.

  All credit to Roscommon in the second half as they dug in and played much better. In the first minute Niamh Shanagher was fouled by the Meath goalie Laurie McClean (who got a yellow card) and sub Heather Payne converted the resultant penalty. But Meath kept the scoreboard ticking over and points from Aoibhin Cleary and Emma White (free) kept them comfortably ahead. Rachel Brady popped up to score Roscommon’s only point of the day in the 49th minute and two minutes later Roscommon got their third goal when Caoimhe Lennon was again fouled in the large square and Heather Payne tucked away the spot-kick for another Roscommon goal but this was to be their last score of the game.

  Time was running out for Roscommon and Meath finished with points from Megan Thynne and Marion Farrelly. It was a good second half display from Roscommon but Meath were just too strong and they deserved their win. Best for a gallant Roscommon were Rachel Brady, Caoimhe Lennon, Sinead Farrell, Niamh Shanagher and sub Heather Payne but they had no answer to the likes of Katie Bellew, Emer McEntee, Emma White, Megan Thynne, Kelsey Nesbit, Vikki Wall and the rampant Marion Farrelly.

Meath: Laurie McClean; Megan Lyons, Katie Bellew, Emma Cassidy; Emer McEntee, Karley Leavy, Niamh Cassidy; Aoibhin Cleary (0-1, free), Emma White (0-2, 1 free); Roisin Cummins, Megan Thynne (1-3), Hannah Mulvaney; Kelsey Nesbitt (1-0), Marion Farrelly (2-3), Vikki Wall. Subs: Regina Hand for Commons (25), Judy Bobbet for McClean (46), Ailbhe Leavy for McEntee (50), Rachel Troy for Bellew (59).

Roscommon: Courtney Mulhall; Rachel Brady (0-1), Shannon Dowd, Amy Curley; Roisin Wynne, Christina Beirne, Nora Brennan; Caoimhe Lennon (1-0), Rachel Fitzmaurice, Maeveen Greene; Sinead Farrell, Niamh Shanagher, Niamh Fleming. Subs: Elaine McDermott for Curley (22), Heather Payne (2-0, 2 pens), for Fleming (28), Louise Brady for Greene (51).

Referee: Kevin Phelan (Laois)

Wides: Meath 9 Roscommon 5

Player of the Match: Marion Farrelly (Meath)