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30 Nov 2021

Finn double powers Ballyfin to Laois Junior Ladies football title

LAOIS LADIES FOOTBALL JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL

Finn double powers Ballyfin to Laois Junior Ladies football title

LAOIS LADIES FOOTBALL JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL

Ballyfin 2-10 

The Heath 1-6

Ballyfin came into the Junior final on Sunday with more than enough experience of heartbreak in this competition. Ballyfin had lost the last four finals at this grade, but they finally got over the hump by defeating The Heath this time around.

Edel Finn helped herself to a brace of goals on the day, as a great mixture of celebration and relief broke out from the Ballyfin camp at the full-time whistle.

Ballyfin opened the scoring in this Junior final, as Michelle Lynch went on a run from midfield from the throw-in and took her point well.

The Heath missed two chances to level before Alice Keane found the target with a point. However, Ballyfin’s Edel Finn quickly restored her side’s lead, as she placed over two lovely scores despite being put under pressure by The Heath defence both times.

The Heath had the first real goal sighting of the game, as Aisling Fitzpatrick won possession off the Ballyfin kick-out and swiftly fed Grace Salmon. However, Salmon’s blazing effort went just wide of the goalposts.

The Heath had another goal chance just before the first water break was whistled for. Laura Whelan’s rasping shot struck the crossbar though and Ballyfin remained 0-3 to 0-1 in front.

Ballyfin’s Rachel Walshe got on a lot of ball in the first half and utilised it well. Walshe also grabbed the first score of the second quarter, as she went past a couple of challenges before kicking over the bar.

The Heath enjoyed a lot of possession in the second quarter, but they could not convert enough of their chances. Ballyfin, on the other hand, were far more clinical and struck for their first goal. Rachel Walshe intercepted The Heath’s kick-out and handpassed to Edel Finn, who found the bottom left corner with a powerful strike.

The Heath returned to the scoreboard through their centre-forward Aisling Fitzpatrick, as she received an offload from Lisa Keane and Fitzpatrick found the target for a point. However, Ballyfin struck for a second goal before half-time to really put daylight between the teams.

Again, it came from Ballyfin putting The Heath’s kick-out under pressure and winning possession off it. Christine Wren caught the kick-out and transferred it to Edel Finn. The Ballyfin full-forward saw her first shot come back off the crossbar, but Finn followed up to round The Heath goalkeeper Rachel Cross and tap home.

Ballyfin led 2-4 to 0-2 at the interval and grabbed the opening score of the second half through Christine Wren. The Heath deserve credit for picking themselves up though and making it a competitive contest for the rest of the half.

Lisa Keane, substitute Alice O’Donoghue and Aisling Fitzpatrick all raised white flags for The Heath as they found their accuracy in front of the posts. Chloe Scanlon (free) and Sinead O’Rourke replied for Ballyfin with points, but Alice O’Donoghue landed her second point since being introduced for The Heath at half-time to leave seven in it.

Ballyfin remained calm and poised, as they scored the opening two points of the final quarter. Christine Wren and Edel Finn pointed for them before The Heath grabbed a lifeline. Lisa Keane’s first shot was blocked down, but there was no mistake with her second attempt, as she rattled the back of the net to leave six in it with ten minutes to go.

However, that would be the last score The Heath would manage as Ballyfin showed experience to control the remainder of the game. Finn fisted over the last score of the contest, with Ballyfin running out deserving winners in the end.

BALLYFIN

Scorers: Edel Finn 2-3, Christine Wren and Sinead O'Rourke 0-2 each, Michelle Lynch, Rachel Walshe and Chloe Scanlon (free) 0-1 each 

 Team: Ella Dunphy; Rena Duff, Aine O’Rourke, Cathy Hogan; Orlaith Meade, Niamh O’Rourke, Rachel Wheeler; Michelle Lynch, Sinead O’Rourke; Rachel Walshe, Chloe Scanlon, Liadan C Fennell; Christine Wren, Edel Finn, Maeve Carroll. Subs: Orla Horgan for Walshe (56 mins), Emma Kealy for Carroll (58 mins)

THE HEATH

Scorers: Lisa Keane 1-1, Alice O’Donoghue and Aisling Fitzgerald 0-2 each, Alice Keane 0-1

 Team: Rachel Cross; Chloe Conroy, Nacola Nerney, Eva Booth; Sheena Moore, Rachel Redmond, Sarah Gorman; Anna Lalor, Dee McCaul; Laura Whelan, Aisling Fitzpatrick, Alice Keane; Lisa Keane, Emily Dowling, Grace Salmon. Subs: Alice O’Donoghue for Dowling (HT), Niamh Hyland for Whelan (56 mins), Louise Cody for Fitzpatrick (58 mins)

REFEREE: Michael Tarpey (Sarsfields)

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