Zoe Guinane of Goldsmiths gets away from Eva McQuaid and Eimear Hanlon (St Mary’s Rochfortbridge) in the ladies football league Div. 4 final at Kinnegad.

Super second half surge earns victory for Goldsmiths

Goldsmiths 0-9, St Mary's Rochfortbridge 1-5

Gallant Goldsmiths gained a narrow victory over St Mary's Rochfortbridge in an exciting ladies football Div 4 league final at Kinnegad on Saturday.

Six unanswered points with the breeze at their backs paved the way for this Goldsmiths win and it was Aoife Mulligan's converted free in the 46th minute that ultimately saw them through.

Cathal Tighe's charges were forced to play out the final eight minutes with 14 players after Grace Park was sin-binned for a challenge on Jen Whelehan as she attacked up the right flank. They coped admirably and were still in attacking mode at the finish, creating a late chance for the excellent Rebecca Higgins.

This final could have gone either way in a pulsating finish, but scores were at a premium in the final quarter. A terrific team score, finished by Kacey Geoghegan, brought St Mary's within a point on 48 minutes and they seemed to have momentum, but it proved to be the final score of an intriguing final.

It was St Mary's Rochfortbridge who led at half-time by 1-4 to 0-3, after a dramatic exchange in the 26th minute. Goldsmiths were almost through at one end only for Niamh Carey to make a telling interception and following a slick counter attack, Kacey Geoghegan's shot struck the crossbar and the rebound was gathered by Sophie Collins who booted home the only goal of the final. The exchanges were generally was nip at tuck and it was level at 0-3 apiece after 22 minutes. Kacey Geoghegan put St Mary's ahead with an early point but Rebecca Higgins' free levelled it and that was the trend of play - Geoghegan's free putting the saints in control again before Emma Tumelty equalised from play.

After a good spell of pressure, Higgins put Goldsmiths ahead for the first time with a 20th minute point but Collins restored parity. Then came the dramatic Rochfortbridge goal and they were in control at the interval.

Gritty Goldsmiths weren't finished, though and a superb spell saw them score six unanswered points. Higgins (two frees), Tumelty, Sinead Seery and Aoife Mulligan (two, one free) were all on target in a terrific 15-minute spell, giving Goldsmith's a two-point lead (0-9 to 1-4). A wonderful team score gave St Mary's renewed energy at this stage - Ellie Syron, Geoghegan and Aisling Moran all involved in a flowing attack that ended with Geoghegan firing over.

Both sides had scoring opportunities in a keen contest, but neither could find the finishing touch and it ended in a one-point victory for Goldsmiths. A delighted Eva Fitzpatrick accepted the trophy from Geraldine Giles, Westmeath LGFA chairperson, after the game.

Scorers - Goldsmiths: R Higgins 0-4 (3f), E Tumelty and A Mulligan (1f) 0-2 each, S Seery 0-1. St Mary's Rochfortbridge: S Collins 1-1, K Geoghegan 0-4 (2f).

Goldsmiths: Aisling English; Grace Park, Eva Fitzpatrick, Ellen McCabe; Cara Fitzpatrick, Niamh Hanley, Deborah Keneally; Sinead Seery, Laura Madden; Ciara Irwin, Rebecca Higgins, Zoe Guinane; Ciara Fox, Emma Tumelty, Aoife Mulligan. Subs: Gemma Guinane for Z Guinane (43), Megan Hanley for Irwin (54), Charleigh Seery for Tumelty (56).

St Mary's Rochfortbridge: Selina Bradley; Niamh Carey, Lucy Brogan, Laoise Byrne; Eva McQuaid, Becky Scally, Eimear Hanlon; Catriona Dunne, Jen Whelehan; Elizabeth Carey, Emma Collins, Nicola Judge; Aisling Moran, Sophie Collins, Kacey Geoghegan. Sub: Ellie Syron for Hanlon (40).

Ref: Enda Kenny (Ballinagore).