Match Report - Ladies County Championship

All-Ireland Junior Championship

Lancashire 2-7 Derry 0-6

In their first ever competitive game as a County team Lancashire Ladies did themselves proud with a well-deserved victory over Derry in Manchester on Saturday evening. After being presented with a sparkling new kit by Manchester based businessman Frank O Gara, the championship debutantes made a very nervous start to the match, a nervousness that was matched by the visitors resulting in an error strewn first half riddled by mistakes and uncertainty. The only sectors of the field that eschewed any confidence were the two defensive units which grew in confidence from what was happening in front of them.

The Ulster side opened the scoring within two minutes of the start with a Catherine McCloskey free after Ashlene McCaul had been fouled and just two minutes later Danielle Farrell equalised after Lisa McSweeney had been bundled to the ground. It was unimaginable at that point that we would wait until the second minute of the second half for the next score but time after time both sides spoiled good build up play with a misplaced pass or serious profligacy with their shooting. Playing with the advantage of a medium wind Derry were the more guilty of the two as their wide tally reached well into double figures before the break with the hosts not far short of that tally.

Manager Tony Reilly took his charges aside at half time and whatever the Meathman had to say to them certainly had an effect. Within a minute of the restart captain Amanda Treanor soloed straight at the heart of the Derry defence and slotted over. Five minutes in Lisa McSweeney who had a titanic battle with full back Dervla McGuckin all game found enough space to slot another. When Derry responded they were met by a most resolute defence with full back Kate McMullan particularly outstanding. Treanor had a great goal chance twelve minutes in but her shot went agonisingly wide of the post.

The game was approaching the end of the third quarter when Derry registered their second score of the match courtesy of Ciara Moore but the home side responded immediately with a fine point from Clodagh Gormley.

It was increasingly noticeable that the home side were getting a grip as their half backs began to carry the ball out of defence and with the two Brenda's McHugh and Barr taking a solid grip at midfield they looked more and more assured.

Nicola Hurst went on a superb solo run from her wing back spot and scored the point of the match from wide out on the right on sixteen minutes. A minute later McSweeney gathered a quick accurate pass from Brenda Barr and laid it off to the in running Janet Maguire who finished with aplomb to the bottom corner. The visitors rang the changes and did pull a point back instantly through substitute Caoimhe McLaughlin. Lisa McSweeney was now winning her tussle with McGuckin and the direct supply in to her was paying dividends. A goal chance wet abegging when she set up Clodagh Gormley but Danielle Farrell did point when the full forward again created the opening. McLaughlin who had impressed after her introduction fired over two more points entering the last five minutes but Brenda Barr had one of her own in between to keep a safe distance between. Derry tried ever more frantically but they could find no way through a supremely solid and the winners finished on the front foot with McSweeney driving to the net after the ball broke loose from a dropping ball Danielle Farrell to close out a memorable victory for the Lancashire girls.

After surviving that shaky first half Lancashire turned in a fine team performance in the second period and can only grow in confidence for the task ahead.

They will now go forward to play an All-Ireland Junior semi-final against Louth who had a facile victory over Scotland.

Lancashire: Niamh Kilbride, Mairead McCauley, Katie McMullan, Niamh Cahill, Nicola Hurst(0-1),Lisa Robertson, Brenda McHugh, Brenda Barr(0-1), Tracey Dhara, Cliona Gannon, Amanda Treanor (0-1)r, Clodagh Gormley(0-1), Danielle Farrell(0-2), Lisa McSweeney(1-1), Siobhan Polly

Subs: Janet Maguire(1-0) for Cliona Gannon, Tara Geraghty for Mairead  McCauley


Derry: Breege Cassidy, Fiona McCrory, Dervla McGuckin, Ashlene Groogan, Danielle Kilehan, Emma Doherty, Dervla McMaster, Caoimhe Moran, Dania Donnelly, Ciara Moore(0-1), Ashlene McCaul, Sinead Comer, Catherine McCloskey(0-1), Tomasina McGovern, Enya Doherty.

Subs: Caoimhe McLaughlin (0-3) for Dania Donnelly, Megan Devine (0-1) for Ashlene McCaul, Katie Brunker for Danielle Kilehan, Cara Farmer for Tomasina McGovern


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