By Patricia Sheridan
Roscommon 0-11, New York 2-4
A furious rally by the New York Ladies GAA All-Stars fell just short as the team lost to Roscommon by a single point in the Junior All-Ireland semifinal last weekend at Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.
"I’m very proud of all the girls," said the team’s manager, Philip Sheridan, whose team failed to reach the final at Croke Park for the third time. "No one knows better than I the commitment they put into training these last few months. I would have given anything to bring them to Croke Park."
One couldn’t have asked for better weather. With temperatures in the 70s, a large crowd turned out to bask in the sunshine. New York had support from their families and friends who traveled from as far away as Donegal, Kerry and Down, and the men’s All-Stars, who arrived in Dublin that morning.
With Alison Lineen and Justine Clifford paired in the middle of the field at the start, Lineen was first to catch the ball and send it into the forward line. New York made several attacks at this stage of the game with Tracey Rice unfortunate not to convert one of them. Roscommon were quick to counterattack and scored the first point of the game. Back came New York with a point from Norma McCarthy. However, Roscommon quickly scored five points in a row before Joanne McKenna converted a free for New York.
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While it looked like Roscommon were dominating, Colette McElligott was giving nothing away in the cornerback position and made a great run to intercept a ball that was heading straight for the back of the net. Captain Olive Wilson had a busy first half at fullback and Mary McEvoy, playing in goals for the first time, didn’t hesitate to come off the line to make a fine save and clear the ball out of danger. McEvoy had a great hour. Her strong kick-outs kept the pressure off the backs.
New York had several more chances, with Joanne McKenna missing a free and Ellen McGrail, with the right idea of slapping the ball over the bar, narrowly missing a point. McCarthy had a great chance for a goal just before halftime, but the Roscommon goalkeeper made a great save and the half ended with New York trailing by 0-6 to 0-2.
At the restart, Roscommon were able to add two more points, but New York showed great determination. Caroline O’Sullivan had a great second half and the substitute of AnnMarie McMunn gave new life to the forward line. Soon, Ellen McGrail scored a goal and, with three points separating the sides, Roscommon responded with another point, but Rosie O’Reilly countered with one for New York. New York kept attacking, but it was Roscommon that added two more points to push their lead to five. Again, New York dug deep. Catherine Russell and Mary Touhey entered the game, giving fresh legs to the forwards, and Mary Toolan and Joanna Hoenninger gave welcome relief to the back line. Shortly after these changes, AnnMarie McMunn was fouled in the square and the referee awarded a penalty to New York. Alison Lineen stepped up and kicked a great goal into the corner of the net.
Two points between the sides and two minutes to go. The New York bench were out of the dugout urging on their teammates. On the kick-out the ball ended up in the hands of McCarthy, who sent it back in again to score a point. It was a ball that could have easily gone under the bar and into the net as the Roscommon goalkeeper came off her line and the ball went across her head. With mere seconds to play the ball went back down the field and the referee blew the final whistle.
New York scorers: Norma McCarthy 0-2, Joanne McKenna 0-1, Ellen McGrail 1-0, Rosie O’Reilly 0-1, and Alison Lineen 1-0.
Starting 15: Mary McEvoy, Fiona Ward, Olive Wilson, Colette McElligott, Caroline O’Sullivan, Mary Kearney-Cooney, Sharon Gallagher, Alison Lineen, Justine Clifford, Mags Dineen, Norma McCarthy Ellen McGrail, Tracey Rice, Joanne McKenna and Rosie O’Reilly.
Subs: AnnMarie McMunn, Mary Toolan, Catherine Russell, Cathy McKenna, Mary Touhey, KerryAnn Galvin, Joanna Hoenninger and Siobhan Neville.
Players of the Game: Alison Lineen and Colette McElligott.