Shane OíNeillís reach All-Ireland Final
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
THE jubilant scenes at the final whistle said it all. It was as much relief as it was elation as the huge number of Shane O'Neill's supporters and well wishers rushed on to the field to congratulate the heroes.
SHANE O'NEILLS ...3-07
Parnell's had put up a huge test and a lesser team may have buckled but when it mattered Shanes possessed the character, the hunger and crucially the quality to finish the job. Aimee Mackin scored 3-06 out of her sides 3-07, which proves just what a sensational player the Shanes and Armagh forward is. When the Camlough club needed her to deliver -she produced the goods.
While there is no undoubting Aimee's star quality, Shanes are by no means a one-woman team. Several players stood up to the mark when they were tested on Sunday. Aoife McCoy was tremendous but took a physical hammering in the early stages. Moya Feehan again picked out some perfect passes, which is more impressive considering visibility was poor due to the thick fog.
In fact the game was in doubt due to fog but Down referee Gavin Corrigan passed the conditions fit to play.
It was a magnificent team performance with Shauna Grey and Blaithan Mackin immense around the middle.
In goals Katie Daly stood strong and while the defence of Kirsty Murphy, Emma Kenny, Caroline and Hannah McMenamin, Cliodhna Sloan and captain Louise Kenny worked tirelessly and they held an excellent Parnell's at bay for long periods. Aoibheann Jones, the hard working Claire Garvey and Ellen Hannaway battled throughout while Jessica Watters and Sorcha McDonnell played their part in securing Sunday's famous win.
With the Mackin sisters going up for the throw in, Shanes intentions were clear as the Camlough girls went for the jugular and McCoy was clattered by Parnell's keeper Maria King, which resulted in a penalty.
But the keeper pushed Aimee Mackin's spot-kick over the bar. Again Shanes rallied down Parnell's throat and Blaithinn Mackin was denied by the keeper.
Aimee converted a free to settle the nerves and then swung over a 30-metre beauty from play to put the Camlough girls three points ahead with 12 minutes gone.
The London champions replied with two points from Helen Hughes and Terese Marren. But immediately Shauna Grey responded with a fine point.
Parnell's had weathered a Shanes storm and were finding their way into the game as Maureen converted another free and Hughes tagged on her second point.
There was controversy over Aimee's fourth point as the umpire suggested it was wide but the referee, after consulting with the lineswoman, awarded the score, much to the cheer of the large crowd.
Aimee's fifth point was the finishing touch to a wonderful sweeping move that started with Daly saving, giving to Feehan, who fed Gray, she passed to McCoy, who switched play by kicking across to Mackin, who floated her shot between the posts. It was a brilliantly worked score and breathed fresh life into this Shanes team.
But with half-time approaching Shanes eventually found the net. Parnell's could do nothing to halt Blaithan's surging run towards goal and with blistering pace she squared to her sister who coolly slotted into the net, to gave Shanes a 1-06 to 0-4 lead at the break.
Aimee converted a free before scoring her second goal on 40 minutes but then the London champions, led by Mullaghbawn's Niamh Murphy, showed their quality as they rattled 1-05 in 11 minutes, before Shanes found a reply.
Shanes weren't quite on the ropes but the tide had turned and it took every effort from the strong defence to limit Parnell's score.
And with the game in the balance Aimee delivered another moment of magic, as Gray had won possession played a clever ball to Mackin, who beat her marker to the ball and then rifled into the net.
Even though Hughes grabbed her third point, Shanes had done enough to record a memorable and hard fought victory.
The sense of achievement and feeling of community was clear at the final whistle. Shane O'Neill's is a growing club and the men's team have had many proud days, from winning the Atty Hearty Cup to gaining promotion to Division One. But this ladies team have had an incredible journey thus far and there is more to come.
Shane O'Neill's Ladies will play Annaghdown from Galway in the All-Ireland Final on Sunday, December 4, in Parnell Park Dublin, with a 1pm throw-in.
SHANE O'NEILL'S: Katie Daly, Kirsty Murphy, Emma Kenny, Caroline McMenamin, Hannah McMenamin, Louise Kenny (captain), Cliodhna Sloan, Shauna Grey (0-1), Blaithin Mackin, Aoife McCoy, Moya Feehan, Ellen Hannaway, Aoibheann Jones, Aimee Mackin (3-6, 1f), Claire Garvey.
Subs used: Sorcha McDonnell, Jessica Watters.
PARNELL'S: Maria King, Linda Corcoran, Sarah Quinn, Helen Stephens, Helen Hughes (0-3), Renee Murphy, Niamh O'Brien, Patricia Marmion, Niamh Murphy (captain), Aine Gormley (0-1), Hannagh Noonan (1-3), Sinead McCooey, Amy Mee, Therese Marren (0-3, 1f), Ciara Dempsey.
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