By Marie Flood
Ulster 1-4, Munster 0-7
Munster will be disappointed with this Railway Cup draw, as they had all the play in the second half and should have had this game in their pocket.
The Ulster side, captained by Justine Clifford, started the fresher of the two, with points coming quickly from Monica Slevin, Varina Carey and Rosie O’Reilly. However, once Munster settled down and AnnMarie McMunn and Colette McElligott got into the swing of things, they made their mark, setting up scoring opportunities for Maree Maloney and Pat Meade.
Playing in the Railway championship takes some adjustment by the players because now they are suddenly playing against their teammates, as was the matchups between Mary Kearney and Maree Maloney and Rosie O’Reilly and Anne Holland.
Munster continued to attack right up to the half time but were unable to register scores due in part to some fine play by Louise Fox and goalkeeper Catherine Flood, who made a fine save on a Helena Champion attempt at goal. Although only two points separated the teams at the half, one could sense that both sides were only starting to get used to their new teammates.
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The second half saw Munster dictate matters, with McMunn, Champion and Debbie Murphy giving great supply to the six forwards. It wasn’t long before Munster took the lead for the first time. A great battle raged between the two Colett’s, McElligott and Goldrick, who marked each other tough for the hour. With Ciarra Ferry working hard in the backline and Justine Clifford giving nothing away in the middle, Rosie O’Reilly goaled for Ulster, and suddenly we had a game on our hands once again. A period of some fine saves by Flood in goals saved the Ulster side and held Munster to two more points ending the game in a tie.
For Ulster, they will be happy with a draw. Fox kept Munster at bay in the first half with great assistance by Ciarra Ferry and Shauna O’Flynn (who went off just before the half with a knee injury).
Clifford and Varina Carey tried their best in the middle of the field, while up front Catherine McIntyre, Colette McGoldrick and Rosie O’Reilly were at their best. A special mention must be given to goalkeeper Catherine Flood, whose fine saves and kick outs saved the day for Ulster.
Munster will feel they let this one get away. Breda McCrohan, Anne
Holland and Debbie Murphy were impressive in the backline, with Colette
McElligott outstanding at centerhalf. McMunn and Champion paired well
in the middle, while up front Pat Meade, Eibhlish Dineen, Marie Curran
and Camie O’Shea proved to be always dangerous with the ball.
Ulster: Rosie O’ 1-1, Monica Slevin 0-1, Varina Carey 0-1, Cathy McKenna 0-1.
Munster: AnnMarie McMunn 0-3, Maree Maloney 0-1, Pat Meade 0-1, Marie Curran 0-1, Camie O’Shea 0-1.
Leinster 1-8, Connaught 0-4
Leinster held their lead almost from the start. Connaught was the first to score, however, with a point from a free by Ann Barcoe and looked set to take control of the game. But Leinster’s players bonded much quicker, with their passing flowing as though they’d played all year together. Connaught’s attempts to work the ball up the field were stopped by a strong Leinster back line in Caroline Conway, Mary McEvoy, Una Burke, Joanna Hoenninger and Cathy Dunleavy. Leinster notched up some fine scores, including a goal by Ann Ryan to leave the half time score Leinster 1-3 to Connaught’s 0-1.
After the break, Leinster continued to be the stronger side and increased their scoreline with great points from Rose Dunican. mConnaught fought hard trying to win possession and bridge the gap. Their backline were under constant pressure and great play from Michelle Davis, Mary P Toolan Caroline O’Heave and keeper Chris Gallagher kept the Leinster scores to a minimum. Supply of the ball to their forward line was not as plentiful as they’d have liked and as with the first half they were forced to take shots from further out limiting their scoring attempts. Leinster’s passing won out on the day and it will be interesting to see what they’ll be like as a full panel in the final.
Leinster panel: Sharon Levins, Caroline Conway, Una Burke, Joanna Hoenninger, Cathy Dunleavy, Mary McEvoy, Ann Hanrahan, Mary Tuohy, Sadie Bolger, Catherine Russell, Rose Dunican, Ann Ryan.
Connaught panel: Chris Gallagher, Fiona Fallon, Mary P Toolan, Teresa O’Malley, Louise McMahon, Caroline O’Heave, Ann Barcoe, Michelle Davis, Lorainne Duffy, Deidre Feeney, Maudy Lynn, Rosie Downey.
Leinster: M. Tuhoy 0-2, C. Russell 0-2, A. Ryan 1-0, R. Dunican 0-3, Sadie Bolger 0-1.
Connaught: Ann Barcoe 0-3, T. O’Malley 0-1.