U-16 Girls clinch final place in a thriller

Meath Ladies Division 2 Championship Semi-Final

Seneschalstown 4-09 Na Fianna 2-12

Oh Wow!, on a glorious evening in Fr. Tully Park and with great home support and lots of curious potential finalists eyeing up the two teams the young Seneschalstown U-16 Ladies served up a thriller to beat a wonderful Na Fianna side in an absolute cracker of a game that had everything.

Having met earlier in the Championship where Na Fianna totally dominated the Furze Girls beating them 9-13 to 3-03, there was a steely determination from the Boynesiders that was evident before a ball was thrown in.

Na Fianna started the stronger and where giving the Seneschalstown defence a tough time racking up the first point and dominating possession from the kickouts. The Furze Girls responded with a pointed free from Ava Jane Ryan but the Enfield outfit were sending point after point over the bar in the first quarter and a repeat result of the earlier meeting in the Championship looked a distinct possibility. However, after great work from Aoife Lenihan and Lauren Donnelly in the middle of the field a chance fell to Orla Finnegan after she fielded a high ball at the edge of the square and she pounced to hit the back of the net with a fine finish with a sublime turn and shot. This gave the Furze girls believe and after a fine run through the middle from Caragh Monaghan and delightful pass to Sorcha Gough who took her point on the turn kept the girls in touch.

The Furze defence was being tested but with Leanne Clarke in such fine form at Full back flanked by Aine Nangle who was having a right physical battle and Leah Ryan mopping up breaking ball they held Na Fianna at bay. With so much pressure and after a wonderful save from Sinead McLarney Na Fianna inevitably were rewarded with a goal. Another point from Gough before half time kept the girls in touch in what was building as a game into a potential classic. The half time whistle sounded and the scoreline read Seneschalstown 1-03 Na Fianna 1-06.

The introduction of U-14 star Anna Wogan and some positional switches saw the Furze Girls make a right good start to the second half. Operating now on the '40' Caragh Monaghan was enjoying more freedom and slotted over the first point of the second half for the hosts. Na Fianna still were the stronger team and continued to send over numerous points and suddenly the Furze Girls were seven points behind adrift entering the final quarter. Aoife Lenihan sent over a fine point from play followed by a well taken free from Ava Jane Ryan reducing the difference to 5 points.

But again, Na Fianna responded magnificently with more points. The half back line of Lauren McCarthy, with Aoibhe Monaghan and Zoe Kirwan now marking Na Fianna’s most dangerous forwards slowly began to breakdown the attacks and began to launch ball towards the potent half forward line. After a superb move featuring Lauren Donnelly and the impressive Anna Wogan, Orla Finnegan’s shot flew off the crossbar but Mallaidh Breen followed the ball in and bundled it across the line the comeback began.

5 points now separated the teams and with great combination play and renewed belief the Furze Girls surged forward and none other than the Bellew blonde Orla Finnegan found the back of the net again! Na Fianna responded with two more points and with the game entering the final 3 mins 2 points separated the teams. Finnegan again surged forward and after a perfect pass from Gough found herself one on one with the Na Fianna keeper who came out to meet her and blocked her down 'man and ball style'. The ball broke and finished in the back of the net but with both players injured play came to a stop.

With goalie and forward ok thankfully and what felt like an age the referee decided not to award a penalty or play the advantage goal but to throw the ball up on the 21-yard line much to the very loud annoyance of the crowd. The Seneschalstown players were possessed now and Aoibhe Monaghan won the throw up, slipped it to her sister Caragh who drove through the tackles determined not to be denied and she buried the ball to the back of the net. Goal and now the home side were a point up and the match hanging in the balance.

The crowd drew its breath from the kickout and again Leanne Clarke now operating in the middle won the break. Feeding Aoibhe Monaghan attacking from the half back position she sent over a superb point to make it a 2 point game. The hearts ripped out of Na Fianna, they lost the kickout again and Sorcha Gough cool as you like slotted over the final point of the game. What a turnover as the final whistle sounded the two teams drew the applause of everybody present including the U-17 men's team whose training had come to a standstill to watch out this intriguing contest.

A fantastic display of talent on both sides and a game that will live long in the memory - a just reward for the Furze girls who had topped the division due to their consistency throughout the campaign. An U-16 Championship Final now awaits on Sunday 7th May the opponents being either Walterstown or Rathkenny....don’t miss it. Heart, Guts and determination this team never lets you down. #BaileSencaillAbú #OneClubOneLife

Seneschalstown: Sinead McLarney, Aine Nangle, Leanne Clarke, Leah Ryan, Zoe Kirwan, Aoibhe Monaghan (0-01), Lauren McCarthy, Caragh Monaghan (1-02), Aoife Lenihan (0-01), Orla Finnegan (2-01), Lauren Donnelly, Mallaidh Breen (1-00), Sorcha Gough (0-03), Ava Jane Ryan (0-02), Aoife Mulvany.
Seneschalstown Substitutes: Anna Wogan Sadhbh McLarney Carmen Ortiz Shauna Gordon

Referee Eamon McPeake

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