Banner Ladies 4-10 Kilmihil 2-7
A GAME Kilmihil side couldn’t make home advantage count last Saturday evening as the Banner ladies retained their title in scorching conditions. They were made work hard for it, but the Banner were the better side and had a bit more balance, along with a few really dangerous forwards. In one sense, their victory is even more impressive when one takes into account that they played most of the second half with 14, as Michelle Delaney was first sin binned and then red-carded within three minutes of returning.
The Ennis side made a barnstorming start and Kilmihil’s followers must have feared a very long afternoon, as the Banner’s central forwards reeled off three points in quick succession.
But the Kilmihil girls finally settled and Ailish Considine got them on the board after eight minutes, pointing a free. This was the boost their confidence needed and moments later they were in the lead, the livewire Eimear Considine hitting the net after a lay off from Mairead Nugent.
Considine was on target again within three minutes, when a shot from distance found it’s way past Aoife Davoren and left the score at 2-1 to 0-4.
Niamh O’Dea settled the Banner again, with a fine score from the left wing, while Naomi Carroll added another after a move that also involved O’Dea and Niamh Keane.
Despite the bad start the home side finished the first quarter in the lead, but they were rocked by two Banner goals.
The first came from the boot of Keane and followed a powerful and purposeful run at the goal. The second was more fortuitous as Niamh O’Dea seemed to be aiming for a point but her effort found the net, off a post.
Following a foul on Ailish Considine the Kilmihil girls had a penalty and a chance to cut the deficit to one point but Aoife Davoren saved fairly comfortably.
In the 26th minute the cost of that missed opportunity was made more apparent as Keane showed great coolness to loft the ball beyond Edel McMahon to leave the half time score at 3-6 to 2-2.
Seven points down against the county champions, there wasn’t much for Kilmihil to be optimistic about but they still gave it everything for the second period. However they were never able to make serious inroads into the Banner lead.
Ailish Considine pointed a free for the losers in the fifth minute, but it was cancelled out by a similar score from Niamh O’Dea. Kilmihil reduced the gap to six points, 3-8 to 2-5, in the 16th minute, but the final Banner goal followed.
It was the creation of Naomi Carroll, who cut in from the right wing, drawing defenders, before she laid the ball off to Niamh O’Dea who was left with a simple finish.
Even when the task looked impossible Kilmihil kept going and the excellent Eimear Considine had the final point of the day for last year’s intermediate champions.
On the day Kilmihil were well served by Dympna Walsh, Eimear Considine and Una Downes. The Banner Ladies were strong throughout, with Niamh O’Dea, Niamh Keane and Naomi Carroll catching the eye.
Banner Ladies: Aoife Davoren; Laurie Ryan, Jane Kennedy, Sarah Hoey; Lorna Higgins, Michelle Delaney, Aoife Martin; Shonagh Enright, Louise Henchy; Katie Cahill, Niamh Keane, Naomi Carroll; Sonya Maher, Niamh O’Dea, Louise Woods.
Subs: Niamh Walsh for Aoife Martin, Emma O’Driscoll for Sonya Maher, Mary Tierney for Niamh Walsh, Rebecca Culligan for Lorna Higgins.
Scorers: Niamh O’Dea 2-4 (2F), Niamh Keane 2-1, Naomi Carroll 0-3 Louise Henchy 0-2.
Frees for: 15 Wides: 14 45s: 1
Yellow card: Michelle Delaney.
Red card: Michelle Delaney.
“It was a great win, we’ve a young team and the hardest thing is deciding who to pick. It’s great to put titles back to back.” Joe Reidy, manager
Kilmihil: Edel McMahon; Fiona O’Neill, Yvonne Downes, Siobhan Egan; Miriam Frawley, Sarah Cahill, Rosie Currane; Dympna Walsh, Eimear Considine; Linda Russell, Ailish Considine, Una Downes; Denise O’Halloran, Mairead Nugent Joan O’Halloran.
Subs: Eleanor O’Gorman for Joan O’Halloran, Elaine O’Halloran for Linda Russell, Sharon O’Gorman for Siobhán Egan.
Scorers: Eimear Considine 2-2, Una Downes 0-2, Ailish Considine 0-2 (2F), Linda Russell 0-1.
Frees for: 29 and one penalty Wides: 12 45s: 0
Yellow cards: 0
Red cards: 0
“It was a good game, well contested. We were playing the top team in the county and we’ve no complaints.” Kevin O’Halloran, selector.
Referee: Fergal O’Shea, Shannon Gaels.