St Macartan ladies managed to survive a teak tough test against Killeeshil St Mary’s in a highly competitive senior semi-final tie at Kildress on Saturday evening.
St Macartans 1-9 Killeeshil 1-6 (after extra-time)
It took extra time to separate these two very determined teams and it’s a match that could have gone either way.
Scores proved to be at something of a premium in the game and it was clear from early doors that this tie had the potential to go down to the wire.
Grainne Rafferty sent the match into extra time with a magnificent free from out on the wing for the St Mary’s.
In that extra 20 minutes of play, a Niamh McGirr goal proved to be the significant score in settling the issue.
The opening half in normal time set the tone for the pattern of the match and by the break it was all-square on 1-1 to 0-4, Grainne Rafferty sending home a St Mary’s penalty plus Ciara Donnelly pointed. Chloe McCaffrey had a free brace for St Macartan’s alongside Niamh McGirr and Cathy Maguire points.
Chloe McCaffrey and Grainne Rafferty exchanged frees in the early phases of the second 30 minutes.
Space was still limited but many players put in solid shifts as both teams continued to give their all in pursuit of a senior final spot.
Tara O’Hagan sent over for St Macartan’s and McCaffrey added a place kick before converting an additional free for the St Macartan’s as play moved towards the closing ten minutes.
Killeeshil rallied to the cause as Grainne Rafferty and Zoe Loughran booted over prior to Grainne Rafferty landing her super score from a very difficult place kick that sent the semi-final into 20 more minutes.
Lisa Marie Toal angled over for the St Mary’s before Slaine McCarroll replied as the exchanges remained so tight(1-6 each) heading into the final period of extra time.
The big breakthrough came in the 73rd minute for St Macartan’s when a well-worked move forward concluded with Niamh McGirr nestling the ball in the net for a 1-9 to 1-6 advantage.
Killeeshil regrouped and the St Mary’s came so close to levelling matters with Lisa Marie Toal very unlucky to have her goal bound shot cannon back off the crossbar and ultimately get cleared by a relieved St Macartan’s defence.
There were chances at either end in the last few minutes of the contest but Killeeshil could not find the goal required as St Macartan’s held on to seal their place in the senior final following a stamina sapping showdown with the gallant St Mary’s.
Sperrin Og 2-8
Errigal Ciaran 1-10 (after extra-time)
SHAUNEEN Ferrity fired Sperrin Og into the Senior Final at the weekend when she scored a last gasp goal to beat Errigal Ciaran at Carrickmore after an extra-time thriller.
This was Championship football at its best, with some fine scores and drama all the way through.
Aoife Horisk’s point for Errigal at the end of normal time had taken the game to extra time and it was perhaps what they deserved. Both teams had chances in what was a game dominated by excellent defending while Eadoin Fox’s contribution was outstanding over the contest.
With their first attack Errigal went ahead, Bronagh McAleer hitting the net. This was a real wake-up call for the Sperrin Og defence and they settled quickly. Scores were at a premium as both back-lines worked hard.
Niamh O’Neill landed Sperrin Óg’s first score on three minutes although Errigal still held the advantage as Elle McNamee pointed. With her side dictating the early pace captain Oonagh McAleer and Meabh Corrigan carried the game to Greencastle.
It was point for point throughout the first period. Emile Loughran and Aoife Horisk were on target for Errigal, with Shauneen Ferrity, Aileen Tuohey and Niamh O’Neill hitting scores for Sperrin. Yet it was the quality of Fox, Meaghan Clarke and Carla McCann that stood out.
There was little to show on the scoreboard through the second half, two points each and a converted Niamh O’Neill penalty set things up for a tense finish. A point down going into injury time Errigal pressed one last time and Horisk hit a mammoth point as the sides finished 1-7 apiece.
Extra time once again saw the defences assured with points hard to come by despite genuine quality, pace and entertainment on show from both sides. A brace of points from Horisk looked like edging the tie and with time running out Errigal probably felt they had done enough, only for that late drama.
The outstanding Fox and Carla McCann created the match winning move. The ball made its way to Michaela Fox and her inch perfect pass reached Ferrity who slotted the ball low and hard past Grainne McAnenly through a crowd of players to seal a final spot.
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