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Tyrone Minor Ladies Battle Through In Epic encounter

Sunday 22.07.2012
Team Talk Mag

Tyrone Minor Ladies put the disappointment of last year’s semi-final defeat against Cork firmly behind them by emerging as narrow winners over Mayo in this year’s All-Ireland Minor Championship Semi-Final played on Saturday in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim.

Going into this game as slight underdogs the Tyrone girls started the game brightly with a point from Teri McCusker in the first minute. Mayo responded well and the Tyrone defence conceded three frees, all from scorable positions, which luckily enough only one was converted by the Mayo midfielder Niamh Kelly. This was followed up by two wides from Tyrone and then another foul on Mayo’s Sarah Rowe allowed Mayo to ease into the lead.

The Red Hand girls were now dominating possession but were unable to convert this into scores. Following two further wides from Teri McCusker and Louise Kelly it was full-back Faoiltiarana Keenan who drew the sides level. Tyrone continued to be in control with Emma Collins and Orla Mallon making their presence felt in the middle of the field but Mayo once again eased in front with a score from Sarah Rowe. Laura McSorley scored a fantastic long range free for Tyrone to bring the teams level once again.

At this stage of the game there was nothing much between these sides but some sloppy tackling by the Tyrone defence gave Mayo the opportunity to go ahead again with a free kick from Sarah Rowe. Then for the first time in the game Laura McSorley got sight of the Mayo goal and duly rifled the ball into the back of the net. Tyrone were now leading by two points and captain Louise Kelly extended this lead with a point from play. Mayo responded immediately with a point from Aine O’Reilly. Laura McSorley restored Tyrone’s three point advantage before Carrie O’Malley pulled one back for Mayo on the stroke of half-time.

Mayo came out for the second-half not intending to let this game be taken from them. The Tyrone girls faced an onslaught from their Connaught opponents in the first ten minutes of this half. However, due to a succession of missed shots and two superb close range saves from Tyrone keeper Leah Lynch Mayo failed to score during this period. Tyrone were struggling to move the ball out of their own half and the loss of full back Ursula Magee, who was outstanding in the first half, and Emma Collins through injury was a huge blow at this time.

The first score of the second-half didn’t come until the 44th minute, again from the boot of Mayo’s Sarah Rowe. Then in Tyrone’s first foray into the Mayo half of the field in the second period captain Louise Kelly scored an inspirational point to maintain Tyrone’s two point lead. Sarah Rowe again clawed Mayo back to within one point before Laura McSorley restored Tyrone’s two point advantage with a point from a free kick.

Tyrone were hanging on to their lead now and Mayo scored two points from play to level the game. This was now end to end stuff and the crowd were getting behind their respective teams. Teri McCusker nosed Tyrone ahead once more before Mayo scored two more points to take the lead for the first time since early in the game. Tyrone were now chasing the game and in the last minute Laura McSorley scored a point for Tyrone to draw the sides level once again and to take the game into extra-time.

Just as Mayo had come out in the second-half, Tyrone started extra-time at a blistering pace but saw their three attempts at scores go wide. Tyrone hearts then sank when Mayo poked the ball into the net for a goal. The pressure was now on the Red Hands and Laura McSorley stepped up to score a free to reduce Mayo’s lead to two points going into the second period of extra-time.

Louise Kelly then reduced Mayo’s lead to the minimum early in the second period before Laura McSorley drew the sides level again with 6 minutes to play. The momentum was now with Tyrone and the final two points came from Faoiltiarna Keenan and Laura McSorley and Tyrone were able to play down the clock to progress into the All-Ireland Minor Final much to the delight and relief of the Tyrone management and supporters.

Team: Leah Lynch, Faoiltiarana Keenan, Ursala McGee, Rebecca Barker, Ellen McCullagh, Tori McLaughlin, Laura Kilpatrick, Orla Mallon, Emma Collins, Anne Scullion, Louise Kelly, Emma-Louise Mulgrew, Teri McCusker, Laura McSorley, Cara McCrossan. Subs: Michelle Christy, Caoileann Kelly, Breige Mullan, Alice McNally, Fionnuala Conwell, Genevieve Scullion, Emma Connolly, Shannon Skelton, Grace Quinn, Emma McAleer, Eadaoin Devlin.



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