Lidl Ladies NFL Division Three Semi-Final
A late revival in the second half of an interesting rather than thrilling Division Three semi-final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday last almost paid off for Roscommon, but Sligo held on and deservedly so too as Michael Finneran’s charges simply made too many mistakes on the day.
Roscommon were marginally the better team early on and they opened up a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after only nine minutes. Points from Laura Fleming (two frees) and a fine effort from play from Jenny Higgins in the 3rd minute the Roscommon scores.
We had to wait almost ten minutes for another score, a point from play from Sligo’s Ciara Gorman. In the interim Helena Cummins had made a fine save from Sligo danger woman Katie Walsh. Sligo were on top, but they kicked a number of bad wides and dropped more efforts short to keep Roscommon in the game. A point from Laura Boles levelled the scores in the 22nd minute, and then as the match slipped into injury-time, Ciara Gorman scored the point of the game from 40 metres out and Sligo were ahead for the first time. But in the 3rd minute of time added on Laura Fleming pointed from play to leave it 0-4 apiece at the break.
Sligo were the better side in the third quarter and they opened up a gap that Roscommon were not able to close. Points from Emma Keaveney and Jacqui Mulligan in the first six minutes of the saw the Yeats County two points ahead, and two minutes later came a crucial incident that went in Sligo’s favour.
Helena Cummins came out with the ball but clashed by Sligo’s Katie Walsh. Referee Des McEnery decided that the Roscommon goalkeeper had charged and not only did he award a penalty, but he sin-binned the Michael Glavey’s net minder. Walsh blasted the spot-kick past Roscommon sub ‘keeper Sasha Lavin and Sligo were now a handsome five points to the good.
Sligo maintained that five point advantage until the 49th minute. They had points from Lauren Boles and Katie Walsh (free) with Roscommon points coming from Laura Fleming and Rebecca Finan (both frees) to leave the score Sligo 1-8 Roscommon 0-6.
But just when it looked like Roscommon were down and out, they sparked a revival. In the 50th minute Rebecca Finan pointed a free and with five minutes to go sub Rachel Fitzmaurice made a searing run into the heart of the Sligo defence. Her shot for goal was saved by Noelle Gormley in the Sligo goal but Siobhan Tully was on hand to sweep the rebound home and now there was only a point between the teams.
But Sligo kicked on again. Katie Walsh scored a superb point on the run and sub Sinead Regan followed up with another from play to leave them three ahead. Laura Fleming and Katie Walsh traded pointed frees in injury-time before Laura Fleming had the final say for Roscommon with a pointed free in the 6th minute of time added on. But it was too little too late and it is Sligo who will contest the league final.
Roscommon manager, Michael Finneran, provided an honest assessment of his side’s performance at full-time.
“Our failure to win enough posession was probably a big factor in the game and if you’re conceding their kickouts and struggling on your own, you’re putting real pressure and extra work on your players that will take a toll over the hour. We did well at times, but then for five or six minutes at a time we mightn’t win any, so that’s something to improve on.
“It was disappointing to have had three players sin-binned. It’s something we had worked on since the last time we played Sligo, but we’re back at it again and it’s definitely something we have to improve on. If we can address that alone, we’ll come on a lot. I thought that the award against Helena Cummins was harsh in fact I thought it was a free out at the time,” he said.
Sligo: Noelle Gormley; Michelle McNamara, Aoife Morrisroe, Jacqui Mulligan (0-1); Nicola Brennan, Bernice Byrne, Anne Marie Coleman; Laura Ann Laffey, Emma Keaveney (0-2); Lauren Boles (0-2), Ruth Goodwin, Sinead Naughton; Ciara Gorman (0-2), Katie Walsh (1-4, 1-0 pen 2 frees), Lisa Casey. Subs: Sinead Regan (0-1) for Coleman (34), Una Higgins for Naughton (50), Jemma Breheny for Casey (50), Rachel Monaghan for Keaveney (60).
Roscommon: Helena Cummins; Amanda McLoone, Sinead Kenny, Honor Ennis; Shauna Bannon, Tess Murtagh, Niamh Feeney; Joanne Cregg, Jenny Higgins (0-1); Alice Kelly, Katie Daly, Laura Fleming (0-6, 5 frees); Siobhan Tully (1-0), Rebecca Finan (0-2, frees), Sorcha Bruen. Subs: Sasha Lavin for Bruen (38), Louise Brady for Daly (38), Rachel Fitzmaurice for Cummins (51), Lisa Flynn for Kelly (56), Martina Freyne for Finan (60).
Referee: Des McEnery (Westmeath)