Shanahoe surrendered a seven point lead, and two crucial league stage points, when they drew with St Brigid’s in the Laois Ladies SFC Round 2 game in Shanahoe on Friday.
St Brigid’s, an amalgamation of Ballylinan and Killeen, are participating in the championship for the first time and have already recorded a win over Park-Ratheniska, so they now go into second place in the table, with four points, behind Sarsfields on six. On the balance of play over the hour Brigid’s fully deserved the draw and their recovery from a seven point deficit was testimony to their fitness and football talents.
On the other hand Shanahoe will wonder how they allowed a match, which they appeared to have wrapped up, slip away from them in the last quarter. Both sides needed a win to copper fasten a semi-final slot and a draw was hugely frustrating to the players, but for the neutral it was an absorbing contest.
Shanahoe started well and went into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after ten minutes, their points coming from Martha Kirwan (2), Mary Kirwan and Denise Quigley while Anna Moore and Alice Malone were on target early for St Brigid’s. Alice Miller and Eimear Fitzpatrick then exchanged goals, both of them expertly put away, and by half time the hosts had eased into a 1-9 to 1-5 lead.
A four point salvo from Shanahoe’s outstanding performers, Mary Kirwan and Eimear Fitzpatrick, and a Chloe Ryan response for Brigid’s, pushed Shanahoe into a very comfortable looking lead of 1-13 to 1-6 after 12 minutes of the second half. It looked ‘done and dusted’ but a fortuitous goal, from newly introduced Niamh Power for St Brigid’s, changed the course of the game and suddenly it was Shanahoe who were on the back foot. Another sub, Shanahoe’s Noirin Kirwan, picked off a trade mark point for her side to steady the nerves but the respite was short lived.
The hosts were to add only one more point for the rest of the game which largely belonged to St Brigid’s. Midfielders Anna Moore and Danni Callanan wrestled control of that vital area from Marion O’Grady and Mary Kirwan and their forwards benefitted accordingly. Alice Malone nipped in for point which was quickly followed by another Niamh Power goal to leave a single point between the sides with time running out.
When Chloe Ryan levelled the match in the 29th minute it was obvious that the next score could decide the outcome. Neither team however was capable of exploiting the opportunity; Eimear Fitzpatrick and Mary Kirwan pulled shots wide and Alice Malone hit the post at the other end before referee Niall McCormack called a halt.
To stay in contention Shanahoe, with just one point to their name, must now beat Park-Ratheniska and hope that Sarsfields will defeat St Brigids. A win for Brigids over Sarsfields would put them in top spot, the Mountmellick side in second place and eliminate Shanahoe from the competition.
Apart from those already mentioned, Shanahoe had excellent performers in Marion O’Grady, who worked tirelessly in the middle, while in defence Deirdre Moore, Hannah Bailey, Lisa Dunne and Martha Kirwan stood out. St Brigid’s best defenders were Ciara Moore (goalie) , Blaithnaid Wall, Aisling Wall and Jane Moore while six players shared the scoring tally Anna Moore, Grace Miller, Deirdre O’Shea, Alice Malone, Chloe Ryan and Niamh Power.
SCORERS - Shanahoe: Mary Kirwan 0-9 (five frees), Eimear Fitzpatrick 1-3, Martha Kirwan, Denise Quigley, Noirin Kirwan 0-1 each; St Brigid’s: Niamh Power 2-1, Grace Miller 1-1, Chloe Ryan 0-3, Alice Malone 0-2, Anna Moore, Deirdre O’Shea 0-1 each
SHANAHOE: Eimear Barry; Linda O’Reilly, Deirdre Moore, Hannah Bailey; Lisa Dunne, Martha Kirwan, Áine Malone; Mary Kirwan, Marion O’Grady; Sharon Moylan Maggie Fitzpatrick, Eimear Fitzpatrick; Edel Siney, Denise Quigley, Miriam Dalton. Subs; Noirin Kirwan, Catherine Malone.
ST BRIGID’S: Ciara Moore; Blaithnaid Wall, Aisling Wall, Amy Potts; Tara Farrell, Jane Moore, Rhona Julian; Anna Moore, Danni Callanan; Grace Miller, Deirdre O’Shea, Averil Kelly; Alice Malone, Chloe Ryan, Kelly Farrell. Sub: Niamh Power, Niamh McDonald.
Ref: Niall McCormack.