Derry 3-09 vs 1-06 Limerick
Derry claimed the All-Ireland æB’ title with a fine second-half performance against Limerick in St Peregrines on Saturday.
Despite playing against the breeze it was Limerick who started the brighter of the two sides, Elaine Mullane causing the Derry backline problems and she soon had her side on the scoreboard with a well taken point. Shannon Kearney raised the white flag for Derry with a great long range effort and she was unlucky not to have her side in front with her next effort inching the wrong side of the post. Limerick’s Niamh Ryan doubled her side’s lead with a finely taken point under pressure from Aoife NÝ Chaisde.
The Shannonsiders could have increased their advantage when Mullane broke through the Derry defence, her effort seemed goal-bound but Unß Bradley saved well, pushing the shot beyond the in rushing Rebecca Delee Limerick continued to pressurize the Derry defence but they stood firm, Megan Kerr and Maeve Quinn clearing their lines.
The Derry half-back line of Captain Aoife NÝ Chaiside, Bronagh McGillian and Noeleen McKenna broke down attacks and pushed up to support the midfield. This proved the difference as Derry began to press the Limerick defence Kearney slotted over a further two points and Player of the Match Shauna Quinn soon had the Derry girls two points up. Derry soon raised the green flag, Michaela Mullan’s long ball eluded ækeeper Claire Keating putting the Oak Leafers in front by five. This lead was soon reduced to four, Kristy Carroll slotting home from inside the ’21 to leave the half-time score 1-04 to 0-03 in Derry’s favour.
Derry started the second-half in the same manner that they had left the first and soon extended their lead Michaela Mullan sending over a long range effort after NÝ Chaiside found her in space with a quickly taken free. Derry midfielder Shauna Quinn began to dominate the game, this helped Derry’s attack, Aneica Duffy and Rachel Mullholland raising the white flag.
Limerick were determined to get back into the game but Unß Bradley denied Elaine Mullane, Martina McMahon slotted over the resulting ’45. Knowing that time was against them the Shannonsiders took action moving keeper Claire Keating to the full-forward line, this move paid off as she soon had her side back in contention with a well taken point. Derry pulled further ahead with Quinn and Kearney controlling the midfield area; indeed it was a well placed ball from Quinn that played MairÚad McNicholl in for Derry’s second goal. Claire Keating got Limerick back in contention when she rounded Maeve Quinn to place to ball beyond Bradley in the Derry nets.
Derry put the game beyond Limerick when substitute Orlaith Mullan found Rachel Mulholland on the edge of the square and the Newbridge girl made no mistake, firing home to ensure victory for her side.
“”They totally deserve their achievement today; they gave everything they had in the second-half. They are a fantastic bunch of girls who gel well as a team and work for each other. They worked hard in training all year and the enthusiasm and passion for the game really shines through, we’re so proud of them,”” said Derry managers Michelle Friel and Caroline Wilson.