St Nathy’s show style

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First-half goals set up stylish victory over arch-rivals Geevagh

Sligo LGFA Snr League
Division One Final
St Nathy’s 4-12
Geevagh 1-9

Liam Maloney

THIS was a battle of Sligo LGFA’s Senior heavyweights but such was St Nathy’s dominance in this Sligo LGFA Connacht Gold Senior League Division One final, with a winning margin of 12 points, that one would be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t Geevagh they were playing but lesser opposition.

St Nathy’s 10-point interval lead, 3-7 to 0-6, left Geevagh with too much to do at Connolly Park last Sunday morning, even if 1-3 in the first six minutes of the second-half, their tidy goal coming from Jemma Brehony, hinted that St Nathy’s control might be in jeopardy.

The winners had the greater firepower, typified by full-forward Ciara Gorman’s contribution of 2-7, with Carol Coleman chipping in with 1-1 and Mary Ann O’Kennedy, who heads to America later this year, adding St Nathy’s other goal. Denise McGrath was also excellent, earning frees and influential in several fruitful attacks.

It wasn’t just that St Nathy’s cancelled out Geevagh’s big guns – Stephanie O’Reilly only scored one point from play and her sister, Elaine, bagged six points but all were from frees – St Nathy’s won duels elsewhere on the pitch, with the likes of Jane O’Dowd and Katie Reynolds doing well.

Having an outstanding goalkeeper, Noelle Gormley, was a significant help, too. Carrying the baton given to her by St Nathy’s previous top net-minder, Katrina Connolly, Gormley stopped Nora O’Reilly’s goalbound shot late in the first-half – a big save – and had luck on her side in the second-half when efforts from Jemma Brehony and Stephanie O’Reilly were marginally wide.

St Nathy’s, who opened the scoring with an excellent point from Ciara Gorman, never trailed in this game and before Mary Ann ‘Maizy’ O’Kennedy netted their first goal after 16 minutes, a cool finish from Ciara Gorman’s quick free, St Nathy’s were already 0-6 to 0-2 up.

Ciara Gorman’s first goal was a fortuitous 20th minute point attempt that dropped into the net, catching out Geevagh goalkeeper Aisling Sweeney. But four minutes later her second goal was a straightforward close-range shot, a score that put 12 points between last year’s county finalists, 3-7 to 0-5.

Geevagh tried in spurts – Sarah Reynolds was prominent – and the calibre of the O’Reilly siblings, Stephanie and Elaine, was evident in the way they created a chance for substitute Niamh Mohan, who pointed two minutes into the second-half.

Referee Gerry O’Connell, who let the proceedings flow as much as he could, warned the players early on that he was the only one with a whistle. “Anyone who tells me how to ref this game will do it from the sideline,” he said.

On a lighter note, Geevagh substitute Sinead Mohan needed running repairs within a minute of coming on when her right boot became unusable. It was one of those things on a day when nothing went right for Geevagh, who’ll hope to prevent St Nathy’s from completing the double later this year.

Player of the Match: Denise McGrath
Geevagh: Aisling Sweeney, Nicola Brehony, Sinead McTiernan, Rebecca Brehony, Catherine Mulvaney, Yvonne Frazer, Mairead Supple, Bernice Byrne, Sarah Reynolds (0-1), Jemma Brehony, Stephanie O’Reilly (0-1), Kristy Cullen, Megan Davey, Elaine O’Reilly (0-6, 6f), Nora O’Reilly

Subs used: Niamh Mohan (0-1) for Kristy Cullen, h-t; Sinead Mohan for Megan Davey, 46
St Nathy’s: Noelle Gormley, Belinda Mitchell, Angela Doohan, Martina Keane, Ann Marie Coleman, Etna Flanagan, Jane O’Dowd, Katie Reynolds (0-1), Tara Doddy, Aine Gormley (0-2), Carol Coleman (1-1), Denise McGrath (0-1), Mary Ann O’Kennedy (1-0), Ciara Gorman (2-7), Kathleen Coleman

Subs used: Ciara Lavin (0-1) for Kathleen Coleman, 51; Emma Coleman for Carol Coleman, 60; Una Cafferkey for Ciara Gorman, 31; Rihanne Gilligan for Belinda Mitchell, 62
Referee: Gerry O’Connell

O’Kennedy’s AMERICAN gig
ONE of St Nathy’s rising stars, forward Mary Ann O’Kennedy, is heading to the USA in August. The teenager, who is sitting her Leaving Certificate at St Attracta’s Community School, Tubbercurry, is embarking on a two-year women’s soccer scholarship with Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi.
O’Kennedy, 17, previously played women’s soccer with Mayo outfit Castlebar Celtic and featured in the FAI Women’s National League. Last year she won an FAI Women’s U-18 Cup medal with Castlebar Celtic along with the Connacht Girls U-18 Cup.

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