Ladies Gaelic Football - Donaghy Cup
Gmit @ Castlebar 3-3 NUI Galway 2-7
The tightest of margins saw the Galway girls advance to the ¼ finals of The Donaghy Cup. In an excellent game which mirrored the league game earlier in the year when similarly only a point separated the teams, the result going in favour of Castlebar on that occasion.
As has been the trademark of this team, they put in a spirited display and despite falling behind to two early goals never gave up the fight, and indeed nearly snatched victory at the death. Stand in Goal keeper Louise Kennedy had an excellent game and was blameless for the goals conceded and repelled several other goal-bound efforts, her strong kick-outs were the bases of many attacks. Mairead Murphy and Sarah O’Regan were excellent in the full back line. Sarah had probably her best game in her entire college career, and reflecting on the games that career involved that’s some praise.
Helen Grealis had the usual outstanding game we have come to expect from her, not content with shoring up the defence and effecting countless impressive blocks, she forayed up the field to assist her attack and even managed to get the last touch to a goalmouth scramble and blast the ball to the net. Ciara O’Malley was playing in her very first game for the college and she made an extremely assured start. Marking tightly she limited her opponent to slim pickings and was on hand to assist in forward duties when required.
Sandra Blong and Catherine Maguire have put in fine displays in midfield over the last few seasons but this game showed that they have started to work together and the amount of work they got through was astounding, their linking up was extremely impressive they set up the forwards with a great supply.
The outstanding performer on the day was undoubtedly Sinead Mulkerrin. She was dominating play early on before injuring her hand. Refusing to accept that that was it she played on through the pain and was at the heart of everything constructive that Castlebar produced. She rounded off her contribution with an excellently taken goal.
The forwards worked extremely hard but had life made difficult for them by a very strong and well organised Galway defence.
Louise Mulready won a lot of good possession and also tapped over a point.
Lorraine Coen likewise scored a point before being asked to revert to defensive duties where she put in a very solid display. Sharon Mahon was involved in most of the action and will be very disappointed that she didn’t manage to get on the score sheet.
Grace Naughton added a point late on that brought the girls back into contention, in the dying stages. Still trailing something special was needed and it came from the inspirational Ailish McGinty. Captain of the team for the last few years Ailish has been the driving force behind the team on and off the pitch that she should step up and score such a phenomenal goal at such a vital time, says so much about the kind of player she is. She charged onto a loose ball outside the 21 and took a few steps before crashing the ball high to the net past a helpless keeper. This tied the scores and had the ball in the right area of the field in the dying moments. Showing what a cruel game it can be there was only to be one chance to steal the win and when this effort fell short in to the keepers hand she launched a move that swept down the field culminating in the vital point that would be the difference between the teams in the end. The girls were shattered after putting in such a great effort and refusing to give up. This was to be the last involvement for Mairead, Sarah, Helen and Ailish and it was very sad for them to realise that the great years and memories they had from colleges football in Castlebar were finally at an end. We have to thank them for all the effort they have put in and remind ourselves how hard they will be to replace. The future of the club now rests on the younger players and no doubt the likes of Sinead, Grace, Ciara, Lorraine and Louise will rise to the challenge.
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