The Tyrone Ladies Junior Final played on Friday night at Healy Park was won by favourites Coalisland but only after they were taken to the wire and beyond by an excellent Castlederg side that battled right to the final whistle. Played in difficult conditions this match had everything and was a superb advert for the ladies game.
The Fianna settled quickly and were 0-4 to 0-1 ahead midway through the first half and, playing into the breeze, looked well placed to open up a sizeable lead. With team captain Eime Duffy and player of the match Nicole Murphy driving the team forward they more than justified their favourites tag.
Castlederg took time to settle and missed several good chances before Leah Mc Menamin got the scoreboard moving. But from then until half time the Derg dominated with Laura Mc Sorley, Kellie Meehan and Shannon Lynch outstanding. Leah Mc Menamin added a brace of points to leave one in it before they had a great chance to move ahead when they won but missed a penalty. However they reached the break leading 1-7 to 0-4 following some fantastic play and a superb goal and two points from corner forward Laura Mc Sorley and a fine strike from Amelia Coyle.
There was no let up in the second half as both teams continued to battle with the elements and with their opponents. Coalisland began to eat into the Derg lead as points from Eadaoin Early, Milena Mihadjuka, Cáelainn O’Donnell and midfielder Aoife Quinn reduced the deficit. The Derg replied with a fine point from Kellie Meehan to steady the ship. However further scores from Quinn and Murphy deep in injury time took the game to extra time.
Extra time was every bit as close and competitive with both sets of players suffering cramp and running on close to empty. A point from Caoimhe Quinn put the Fianna ahead but a fine score from Amelia Coyle levelled the scores just before half time in extra time. Kellie Meehan burst through to put her team one up after restart before Coalisland added late points from Aoife Campbell and player of the match Nicole Murphy to take the title on a score line of 0-14 to 1-10.
A special word of thanks to Muphy’s Gaelic Gloves for sponsoring our player of the match awards for this weekend’s three finals.