Superb Skryne advance to Leinster Final
Skryne 3-16, Cooley Kickhams 3-08
Leinster Ladies Intermediate Football Championship – Semi-Final
A sensational first-half performance saw Skryne rack up 3-09 and they looked to be cruising to victory, but chaos ensued in the final 4 minutes of the half when Skryne conceded 2-02 without a reply to give the Cooley girls a glimmer of hope as the half-time whistle blew. Certainly, it would have changed the tone of the half-time chat in both dressing rooms.
Despite the rain over the last few days, the Skryne pitch was as usual in perfect shape. The rain was also staying away so apart from a slight breeze, conditions were perfect. Skryne played toward the road goal in the first half. Skryne won the throw-in and immediately launched the first attack with Caitriona Keogan finding Ciara Smyth on the 21-metre line. Ciara turned and popped over the opening score. Lauren Boyle, the Kickham’s main scoring threat on the day, opened their account with a fine point. Ciara Smyth put Skryne firmly in the driving seat with a goal and a point, the goal, a shot from the right-hand side that beat the keeper Sinead Rice at the far post. Ellie Murphy continued to pile on the pressure with a pointed free with five minutes on the clock. Roisín McDaid pulled a point back for the Kickhams, but Skryne added another when Nicola O’Reilly won the ball for Skryne and turned defence into attack with a great ball to Ciara Smyth. Ciara swapped passes with Fiona O’Rourke before tapping over to move Skryne five points clear. Skryne added two quick-fire goals, the first from Ellie Murphy who received a pass from Fiona O’Rourke. Ellie took a shot from the left-hand side of the penalty area which flew over the head of the Cooley keeper and nestled in the top-right corner of the net. The next goal came after Roisín McManus did really well to keep the ball from going out over the end line. She sent a pass across the face of the Cooley goal to Fiona O’Rourke. Fiona exchanged passes with Ciara Smyth but the ball broke loose onto the ground in front of goal. It was a race between Ciara Smyth and Sinead Rice to get to the ball first and Smyth just managed to get her toe on the ball and squeeze it past the onrushing keeper. Roisín McManus was next to point after Nicola O’Reilly again intercepted a Cooley attack and set Skryne on the attack down the left-hand side with Ciara Smyth. Smyth found McManus who moved inside and slotted over. Roisín McDaid added Cooley’s third point on the 18th minute, but Fiona O’Rourke quickly canceled that out with a point a minute later. Skryne were practically out of sight when they hit three more points without a reply, Ciara Smyth with two and Amy O’Dowd, Skryne’s fifth forward to get on the scoresheet, adding the other. They looked to have an unassailable 15-point lead and Cooley looked shell-shocked, but then came the chaotic first-half finalé. Lauren Boyle kicked things off with a pointed free. A minute before the end of the half, the referee threw the ball up near the centre line. Cooley won the break and launched an attack forward. The Cooley attacker drew the attention of the Skryne defenders before laying off to Niamh Rice on the right-hand side of the Skryne goal. Rice hit a low shot past the advancing Rachel Whelan and into the net. Kickhams won the kickout and Lauren Boyle sent over another point as Cooley finished the half strongly. It was that girl Lauren Boyle again who was on hand to score Cooley’s second goal and Skryne were suddenly craving the sound of the half-time whistle which thankfully arrived and Skryne had a chance to settle things again. Half-time: Skryne 3-09, Cooley Kickhams 2-05
Skryne started off the second half with two early points from Ciara Smyth and Liz Morland. However, Laura Traynor finished off a Cooley attack when she took a shot from the 21-metre line which hit the roof of the net leaving just six points between the sides. Skryne responded with two points, a free from Ellie Murphy and another point for Ciara Smyth. Niamh Rice added a free for Cooley as the game entered the final quarter. Amy O’Dowd, who had a fine game at centre-forward bagged her second point of the game before Murphy added another free to give Skryne a nine-point lead with only three minutes of normal time remaining. The Cooley girls never gave up and Laura Traynor and Niamh Rice increased their tally while Ciara Smyth scored the last of her 2-08 haul to give Skryne a comfortable victory on a scoreline of 3-16 to 3-08.
Skryne now have a Leinster Final to look forward to against midlanders Longford Slashers, runners-up in last year’s Leinster Championship. On this form, Skryne will be a match for any team.
Skryne: Rachel Whelan; Nicola O’Reilly, Ciara Cowley, Alana Cooney; Samantha Clarke, Lisa Browne, Niamh O’Brien; Caitriona Keogan, Elizabeth Morland(0-1); Steffi Finnegan, Amy O’Dowd(0-2), Fiona O’Rourke(0-1); Ellie Murphy(1-3, 3fs), Ciara Smyth(2-8), Roisín McManus (0-1)
Subs used: Laura Mangan
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