Portlaoise 3-11 Graiguecullen 1-11
Laois Ladies MFC Final
This morning saw Portlaoise and Graiguecullen battling it out in hope of seizing the ladies Minor ‘A’ football title.
It was a cold crisp morning in Stradbally GAA pitch but plenty of supporters appeared to encourage and drive on both sides.
A good strong start from Portlaoise was evidently beneficial for them throughout the whole game.
Gráinne O’Reilly of Portlaoise opened the scoring of the game within the first few minutes with a fine point. Kerrie Smith was executing some fine runs at the Portlaoise defence, but they were rock solid for the opening minutes of the game.
Graiguecullen were creating chances with some great movement of the ball but were unfortunately finding it hard to score, and remained scoreless after the opening 10 minutes of the first half.
Exceptional defending from Anna Healy and Aoibhe O’Brien surely was making it challenging for Graiguecullen, but Rachael Doyle finally got them on the scoreboard after 14 minutes with a neat point from play.
Excellent balls were being launched into Portlaoise’s full forward line, but strong defending from Kate McDonald and the Graiguecullen full back line made sure nothing came from them.
A fantastic run forward from Rebecca Reddin, who had an excellent game in the full back position, ended in her being fouled inside the square after she had laid the ball off to Rachel Glynn.
Leah Loughman stepped up to take the penalty, and nicely slotted it into the bottom left corner to put her name on the scoresheet. Some tremendous scores from Rachael Doyle and Kelly O’Neill put Graiguecullen back on the board, and as the half time whistle blew the teams went in level, on a scoreline of 1-3 to 0-6.
The second half proved to be a lot more intense, as both teams came back out onto the field hungry for victory. Leah Loughman got her second goal of the day as she kicked in a high ball from the 14-yard line that nicely dipped in over the keeper’s head. Loughman then added to her tally with some fantastic free taking.
After 38 minutes of play, the referee issued a sin bin to Graiguecullen full back Danielle Forbes.
Kerrie Smith was using her pace to full advantage as she was all over the playing field, and causing a lot of trouble for the Portlaoise defenders. Smith scored a lovely point to open Graiguecullens scoring for the second half after a great run from the middle of the field.
Kelly O’Neill popped over two exceptional frees and a fantastic goal from Aoibhínn Kelly levelled the game as we entered the last 10 minutes. After 56 minutes, Danielle Forbes picked up her second yellow after a high tackle on Leah Loughman, and was issued a red card.
A point from play from Loughman put Portlaoise ahead, but Graiguecullen were fighting until the bitter end. 58 minutes into the game, the referee issued another yellow card, this time to Jasmine Kinsella, which left Graiguecullen down to only 13 players in the dying minutes of the game.
Portlaoise took this to full advantage, and Julia Cahill rattled the back of Nolan’s net after a great solo run from the middle of the field, followed 2 minutes later by a point.
Kirsten Keenan then pointed for Portlaoise, which was shortly followed by the final whistle, where Portlaoise came out six-point victors after a superb game of football.
SCORERS – Portlaoise: Leah Loughman 2-7 (1-0 pen, 0-6 frees), Julia Cahill 1-1, Kirsten Keenan 0-2, Gráinne O’Reilly 0-1 Graiguecullen: Rachael Doyle 0-5, Kelly O’Neill 0-5 (4 frees), Aoibhinn Kelly 1-0, Kerrie Smith 0-1,
Portlaoise: Cara Phelan, Aoibhe O’Brien, Rebecca Reddin, Molly McNulty, Julia Cahill, Ciara Byrne, Anna Healy, Amy Byrne, Kirsten Keenan, Sinead Murphy, Gráinne O’Reilly, Leah Loughman, Rachel Glynn, Alana Doheny, Katie O’Reilly. Subs: Koren Dunne for Doheny (39), Ella Byrne for Murphy (55), Eimear Marum for Healy (62 mins)
GRAIGUECULLEN: Chloe Nolan, Sara Kerfah, Danielle Forbes, Sally Amond, Nicole Sheehan, Katie Byrne, Rachael Doyle, Jade Nolan, Georgina McManus, Aoibhínn Kelly, Caoimhe Fitzpatrick, Kate McDonald, Jasmine Kinsella, Kelly O’Neill, Kerrie Smith. Subs: Emma Doyle for Sheehan (53), Ella Byrne for Aoibhínn Kelly (53)