Gaels Ladies Make History in Extra Time Epic
Scotland Senior Ladies League Final
June 16th, 2018
Glasgow Gaels v Dunedin Connollys
St. Ambrose HS, Coatbridge
Picture credit: John Williamson (Photosportsman)
Match Programme pages:
On an absolutely sodden day in Coatbridge, the two rival teams lined out in their usual fashion. In this ‘east’ versus ‘west’ match up which has produced some of the greatest ladies’ football in Scotland to date, all of the favour was with the ever present champions—Dunedin Connollys. Glasgow Gaels had never beaten Connollys and the wounds of last year’s League Final still fresh (Gaels having lost in ET after being 12 points up at a stage in the second half of regulation time). This year’s final proved just as nip and tuck and just as epic.
The conditions proved tricky for both sides as the wind and rain came down hard on the pitch throughout the match. The game took a fair bit of time to see its first score—coming from a free for the Gaels—Katherine McCrory converted to put the Gaels on the board. Gaels would score another 2 times before Edinburgh could get their scoring started for the day. Connollys forwards were able to work another 2 points from play before half time—however their #10 – Kelsey Martin picked up a yellow card in the process. Down to 14 for the remainder of the first half, the Edinburgh defense did well to keep the Gaels at bay. The half time score was a very tight 3-points each.
The second half started with the Gaels opening the scores from a well worked ball in midfield. Scores from Kirsten Walsh, Amy Carberry and Mary Naughton left the Gaels 2 points up with 5 minutes to go. A very defensive half, along with the monsoon conditions made each scoring chance precious with many chances falling victim to mishandling. Edinburgh, with their 15 back—and in their true grit fashion—worked two more points—their veteran players coming through to draw the game and force extra time with the sides level at 6 each.
The Connollys girls came out thundering, putting constant pressure on the Gaels defense. A goal effort from their talisman Rosanne Henney hit the cross bar and fell to an Edinburgh forward for a well-finished goal — giving the Edinburgh side a much-needed lift going into the extra time break.
The Edinburgh ladies are no stranger to getting the game over the line and came out once again with a point to lead the second half of extra time. The Gaels—with a 4-point deficit surely felt the title slipping away once again. The Gaels needed some inspired play if they were to bring the game back from the brink. Substitute Sinead Boyle and newcomer Kirsten Walsh answered the call and slotted two points in quick succession to keep the Gaels hopes alive. Next the Edinburgh keeper—Aine Sexton had denied a sure goal—giving the Gaels a chance with the 45. Midfielder Mary Naughton’s kick off the ground was well worked by Sinead Boyle who slammed the ball into the back of the net—giving the Gaels side the life it desperately needed. Quick on the counter attack—Edinburgh answered with a point of their own from Sue O’Sullivan—leveling the sides once again. A frustrated Edinburgh saw another yellow card — this time for their key player Karen Feeney. Soon after the Gaels tallied a point and a second goal—this time from half forward Fiona Dempsey. Connollys continued to chase the game but unfortunately time ran out on the ladies from the East. Final Score: Gaels 2:09 to Connollys 1:08.
More photos here: Ladies League Final Album
Gaels team: 1. J. Treacy, 2. B. Bogues, 3. A. McCann, 4. R. Lennon, 5. M. Cohen, 6. A. Carberry, 7. A. Lloyd, 8. M. Naughton, 9. A. Monaghan, 10. F. Dempsey, 11. K. Walsh, 12. E. Dunne, 13. K. McCrory, 14. M. Campion, 15. N. McGrath. Subs- S. Boyle for E. Dunne, C. Butler for M. Cohen, C. Murphy for M. Campion, O. McMahon, for K. Walsh.
Connollys team: 1. A. Sexton, 2. E. Cable, 3. S. McEvoy, 4. E. Hutson, 5. M. Harper, 6. C. McMillon, 7. L. Farrell, 8. R. Heeney, 9. K. Reidy, 10. K. McMullen, 11. K. Feeney, 12. E. Kelley, 13. A. Wittinghoff, 14. S. O’Sullivan, 15. K. Martin. Subs- S. Dillon for A. Wittinghoff.