A First for Roscommon Gaels Ladies
U16 Div 1 Football Championship and League County Final 2022
Roscommon Gaels 2-07 St Barry's 0-12
All roads led to Dr Hyde Park on Saturday for the County Photos U16 Div 1 County League & Championship Football Final against strong favourites St Barry's. It was decided by Roscommon County Board that both league and championship would be played for in one game. On a beautiful November Morning, the tension in the air was palpable. From the throw in the Creta Construction sponsored Gaels ladies were on the front foot but with some early nerves on display hitting 3 consecutive wides. It was St. Barrys who opened the scoring with a pointed free but Roscommon Gaels quickly cancelled this out with a great team-move that finished with the ever-dependable Molly Rose Finneran crashing the ball to the net. Roscommon Gaels were beginning to settle with a point from Shauna Walsh and another fine move that led to our second goal from Grace Geraghty. The Gaels ladies were relentless, with their backs and midfielders well on top, they had Barry's on the back foot. There was great football on display from both teams and further scores from Molly Rose Finneran, Siofra Hession and Shauna Walsh they went in at the break, Roscommon Gaels 2-04 St Barry's 0-6.
St. Barry's started the second half on the front foot scoring a well taken point from Cara Cox. Roscommon Gaels again linked up well before Shauna Walsh landed a brilliant point from distance. With St. Barry's players, Erin Hagan and Holly Rogers now coming to terms with our midfield, Barry's began a sustained period of pressure. This led to a further two points and the margin was down to one point. The Gaels defence were magnificent all day and worked incredibly hard to keep the Barry's attack at bay. The Gaels full back line of Eve McNeill, Sarah Purcell and Kate Harlow were on top form during this period, however, a questionable penalty award handed our opponents the chance to go in front.
St. Barry's hadn't bargained on our keeper Jane King pulling off a great save to keep us in the game. This save will live long in the memory and it acted as a great boost to the entire Gaels team. The Gaels launched goal machine Grace Campbell and with her first touch Grace was narrowly wide with a bullet from just inside the big square. With the game entering the last five minutes Barry's struck for a good point to level the game. It was now down to who wanted it more. A lung bursting run from Alannah Sutton followed by a majestic finish pushed the town team in front again. With the clock hitting full time Roscommon Gaels were awarded a free 30 meters out. Siofra Hession went short to Alannah Sutton who returned the ball to Siofra and she struck a great point under pressure to put them two up. Frantically awaiting full time whistle, St. Barry's were awarded a free which was converted to leave the bare minimum in it. The hard -working Martha McSharry continually turned over the Barry's half back line to keep Roscommon Gaels on the attack and their determination to hold out was epitomized by half forward Anna Kiernan winning a ball in front of their own goal and driving out the wing to win a free out. This was the last play of the game and the much welcomed final whistle sounded for the Gaels Ladies.
The ability to win the dirty ball and fielding was superb, this was epitomized by the blocks and hand-on defending from Ciara Killeen, Emma O Farrell and Amy Winston throughout the game. Emma Hough and Siofra Hession worked tirelessly in midfield all day while up front Shauna Walsh led the attack with 0-3 from play. Goals win games and Molly Rose Finneran and Grace Geraghty will long be remembered for theirs today. There were emotional scenes as this is the first ever Div 1 U16 LGFA title won by a Roscommon Gaels team - a brilliant team performance by the girls and Management. Captain Emma O'Farrell raised the Cup and shield and gave a superb speech which showed just how much it meant to the group of girls. Well done to the Management team of Declan Walsh, Teresa and Andy Hession and Ray McSharry who guided this group of players. A special thanks to Dr Liz Sweeney McSharry for her assistance. Thanks to all the parents for your support in all-weather all year. Thank you to Liam McNeill for providing the meal after the match. Thank you to our jersey sponsor Creta Construction. Thank you to everyone who has supported the team in the build up to the Final too! Thank you to the huge crowd of Supporters that have come to all our matches throughout the Year specially the golden ladies - You know who you are!
Team & Scores: Jane King, Eve McNeill, Sarah Purcell, Kate Harlow, Ciara Killeen, Emma O Farrell, Amy Winston, Siofra Hession (0-2), Emma Hough, Anna Kiernan, Shauna Walsh (0-3), Alannah Sutton (0-1), Grace Geraghty (1-0), Molly Rose Finneran (1-1), Martha McSharry.
Subs: Grace Campbell, Like McCaffery, Daniella Kerr, Sarah Reilly, Molly Tully, Jessica McSharry.