Minor Harpettes take a Major title!

posted 19 Nov 2018, 11:25 by Derrygonnelly Harps   [ updated 19 Nov 2018, 13:57 ]
Ladies Minor Division 1 Final 

Harps 5-6 Kinawley 4-8

Played in sunny but cold Belcoo, which was immaculately turned out for the game, the Harps claimed a memorable Minor league title against a very impressive Kinawley side who had defeated the girls in their Minor A Championship final just over three weeks earlier.  

It took Kinawley, who were playing with the strong Belcoo breeze, some time to settle before their first score which was a well taken goal from full forward, Niamh McManus. Kinawley notched another couple points before the ten minute mark and Harps supporters were growing concerned.  However, these concerns were allayed by the Harpettes full forward Emily Cassidy who got the Harps on the scoreboard with a great goal, finishing to the net with confidence after a great flowing move which was well worked out of defence by a number of players. Bronadh Duffy, Aoibhinn Jones and Sarah Jane Jones in particular showed strongly for the Harpettes during this period as the girls tried to limit a Kinawley side seeking to take full advantage of the wind, whilst up front Stephanie Jones and Niamh Duffy worked hard to win possession for the team.  Kinawley pressed hard for other scores and scored two goals; one from Megan Murphy and the other well taken by Keeva Gilleece from an acute angle to leave the halftime score 3-5 to 1-2 in favour of Kinawley. The damage could have been a lot worse only for resolute defending from Derrygonnelly’s Emma Leonard, Natasha Cox and Emer McGlone.  Plus they had the wind, and as always at the Belcoo grounds, the wind is a bit of a game changer!

The Harpettes started the second half with a wonderful early goal from team captain Eimear Smyth, giving the Harpettes a real boost.  From here on in, the momentum was with Derrygonnelly and after an excellent point from Sarah-Jane Jones, and after another well-taken goal from the elusive Emily Cassidy, the large attendance was treated to an excellent finish into the roof of the net by hardworking midfielder Dearbhla Duffy after a lung-bursting run from halfway, and a further goal from Eimear Smyth put Derrygonnelly into a 4-point lead with just over 10 minutes left.  It was quite the comeback, considering the Harpettes had been 9 points down.

Kinawley however showed real character, and were to have a period of dominance in which Niamh McManus scored a goal quickly followed by a levelling point from midfielder Caragh Leonard.  It was all to play for with 5 minutes to go!  Urged on by a sizeable Harps support, there was an exchange of points including a cool finish from Caitlin Duffy before Eimear Smyth with a point from a ridiculously tight angle on the right put Derrygonnelly one up with time almost up.  But there was to be another twist in what was a gripping encounter.  From keeper Maeve Morris’s  kickout, Kinawley worked the ball down the field to Niamh McManus who made a surging run forward, laying off to the incoming Keeva Gilleece who was descended upon by the Harps defence and in the process fouled!  Referee Dermot Love correctly awarding a penalty with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.  Holy Mary Mother of God, it was Novena time!
Well into injury time Derrygonnelly goalkeeper Megan Maguire, who had been excellent all day, stayed cool under pressure and saved to her right, clearing much to the relief of the Purple and Gold Army of supporters on the hill, and when her clearance was safely gathered by the Harps cover, the final whistle blew to signal the start of joyous celebrations.

Full time score Derrygonnelly 5-6, Kinawley 4-8

Given we haven't fielded at Minor level for a number of years, this success is all the more stunning.  Credit to Louise Dundas and Garry Smyth and Abigail Greene who, along with all of our club coaches, have worked hard to help the girls fulfil their potential.  The Harpettes played brilliantly and played as a collective unit with strong performances from the entire team.  In addition to those already named, there were also good showings from defenders Savannagh Leonard and Ciara Woods, and hardworking half-forward Caoimhe Rainey with good support from second half substitutes Bronagh Smyth, Caitlin Duffy and Tara McAloon.  This was an excellent all-round squad effort however and the girls have some tangible reward for their efforts over the season.
For a gallant and sporting Kinawley team in defence Eimear Keenan, Lauren Murphy and Aine Drumm were to the fore front whilst in attack Keealen Murphy and Niamh McManus were lively.

Derrygonnelly Panel: Megan Maguire, Savannagh Leonard, Emer McGlone. Natasha Cox, Emma Leonard, Sarah-Jane Jones (0-2), Ciara Woods, Bronadh Duffy, Dearbhla Duffy (1-0), Caoimhe Rainey, Eimear Smyth (2-3), Aoibhinn Jones, Niamh Duffy, Emily Cassidy (2-0), Stephanie Jones, Aife Campbell, Nessa Corrigan, Caitlin Duffy (0-1), Ciara Leonard, Tara McAloon, Bronagh Smyth and Niamh Smyth