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Carmen Ladies Progress in Tyrone Senior Championship

Tuesday 11.08.2015
Team Talk Mag
Club


 

Last years, beaten senior finalists, An Charraig Mhor, advanced to the next round of the championship with a comfortable win over Cil Iseal at Dunmoyle last Friday night.

The Carrickmore girls signalled their intent from the throw-in playing at a high intensity for most of the hour. Time and again sweeping, incisive moves culminated in well taken scores. County star Gemma Begley opened their account with a free which was followed by a point from play by Etaoine O’Kane to establish an early 2 point lead. Winning the kick-out the Carmen girls again pressed forward with Etaoine O’Kane and Gemma Begley combining to send the hard working Roisin Rafferty through for point number three.

It was all Carrickmore at this stage and as Cil Iseal attacked to try to get a foothold in the game. They were stopped in their tracks on this occasion by Maria Grogan who made a great tackle. She fed Connie Fox who immediately sent a long ball into full forward Begley. Alanagh Treanor found herself being drawn out of her corner back position and she made a great supporting run to receive from Begley to blast the ball over the bar, a rare score from the tenacious corner back.

Cil Iseal at last found their feet and after some great defending from Carrickmore opted to shoot from distance with midfielder Grainne Rafferty sending over a fine long range point. They had another chance seconds later when Catriona Mc Gahan sent Zoe Loughran through only to blast wide.

It did not take the Carmen girls long to respond to this brief period of Cil Iseal dominance and they scored 1-3 without reply via points from Begley, Megan Mc Cann, Ciara Clarke and a goal from the impressive Etaoine O’Kane.

A probing run by Nuala Loughran, an assured performer on the night, saw her slip a ball across the square to O’Kane who finished with her usual coolness. Cil Iseal replied with an individual point from the strong running Zoe Loughran but it was to be a temporary stop gap as goal number two for An Charraig Mhor followed shortly after. Stacey Mc Cann made yet another of her trademark breaks from defence only to be fouled. Connie Mc Nally sent the resultant free in long to Gemma Begley who immediately slipped the ball to the onrushing championship debutant Megan Mc Cann who showed calm beyond her years to find the net with a low shot to the corner.

Sensing the game slipping from their hands Cil Iseal rallied and pushed hard for scores to close the ever widening gap. They could only manage one wide but could have had a goal but for a brave goal-line block by Carmen’s tenacious full back Aideen Loughran from a Catriona Mc Gahan shot. Steadying the ship Carmen added 3 more points per Etaoine O’Kane, the energetic Kathy Mc Aleer and Ciara Clarke to send them in at half time 2-11 to 0-2.

A resurgent Cil Iseal opened the scoring in the second half from the boot of the excellent Grainne Rafferty Cil Iseal’s star player on the night. Lisa Marie Skeffington added another and a free from Grainne Rafferty began what appeared to be a Cil Iseal comeback. Their efforts were rewarded with a penalty which was converted by the impressive Rafferty to leave them trailing 2-11 to 1-5.

Sensing a turning of the tide Connie Mc Nally, Alanagh Treanor and Shauneen Mc Aleer intercepted several dangerous, probing, long balls and this was the platform for scores from Gemma Begley, a point, and a goal from Megan Mc Cann, following a superb build up from midfielder Maria Grogan and the experienced Sinead O’Neill.

Cil Iseal however were not content to throw in the towel just yet and it took a great save by the Carrickmore goalie Claire Donnelly to deny them a goal which would have provided them with a chance entering the final quarter.

It was not to be however as the resolute Carmen defence were not in the mood to surrender their commanding lead. Time and again they tackled and drove from the back and supplied the forward line who were to add another goal, Ciara Clarke, and a point from captain Begley.

All credit must go to Cil Iseal’s Grainne Rafferty who played with great determination for the hour and her hard work sent Lisa Marie Skeffington through for a goal with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Carrickmore brought in fresh legs at this stage with Niamh Mc Elduff for Sinead O’Neill, Ursula Mc Kernan for Kathy Mc Aleer, Aoife Loughran for Alanagh Treanor and Elish Slane for Etaoine O’Kane. Ursula Mc Kernan’s impact was immediate and she won a free which Begley converted. Niamh Mc Elduff also made an immediate contribution sending over a fine point. Carmen’s last point came from the boot of Ciara Clarke.

It was damage limitations for Cil Iseal at this stage and a point from Grainne Rafferty and a goal just before referee Brain Mc Ginn’s final whistle left the final score 4-16 to 3-6 in favour of the Carmen girls.

The bedrock of their victory lay in their vast reservoir of experience in almost every sector alongside a good mix of youthful energy notable Megan Mc Cann (2-1) and Ciara Clarke (1-2) as well as the return of Roisin Rafferty after a 3 year absence in Australia. The returning Connie Mc Nally at centre half back also proved to be central to this Carrickmore victory.

For Cil Iseal only Catriona Mc Gahan, Zoe Loughran and the exceptional Grainne Rafferty were able to measure up to the Carrickmore onslaught. For An Charraig Mhór a tougher test lies ahead as they are drawn against Errigal Ciaran in the semi final a tie that is sure to offer up another competitive clash between these historic rivals. Errigal were most impressive in dispatching Cappagh with ease in their first round clash and represent serious contenders for this years’ title.

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