By Mark Jones
Monaghan 4-7, Waterford 1-16
DUBLIN — Monaghan and Wateford will have to do it all again following last Sunday’s thrilling draw in the All-Ireland Ladies Football Final at Croke Park.
The historic Canal End might have been a pile of rubble as bulldozers moved in to prepare for the next phase of the GAA headquarters’ modernization, but on this evidence, women’s football is in no need of any facelift.
It was a pulsating finish to a wonderful occasion that saw Waterford claw their way back from a halftime deficit of 3-4 to 0-7 to deservedly earn a replay.
Monaghan got off to the proverbial flier with an early goal by Diane Dempsey as their forwards twisted and turned the Munster team’s defense.
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It wasn’t long before Dempsey and Margaret Kierans combined to set up Niamh Kindlon for a second goal. At this stage, Monaghan were rampant. However, Waterford responded at last with points by Catriona Casey, Claire Ryan and Julieann Torpey, only for Jenny Greenan to blast home a third Monaghan goal.
It was hard to see Waterford working their way back into contention, but four quick points after the interval in quick succession from Casey (2), Geraldine O’Ryan and Aine Wall tilted the balance of the match. The Munster side’s period of dominance continued and they surged into the lead when Mary O’Donnell fired home a fine goal.
Now it was Monaghan’s turn to look down and out, yet they somehow contrived a goal in reply from substitute Ciara McGuinness and then Edel Byrne popped over the equalizing point. In a dramatic closing phase, Byrne almost won it for Monaghan and Waterford’s Martina O’Ryan saw her pressure shot drift wide of the posts.