LADIES GAA | Bronagh’s goal gives the Brides a big win in their senior opener against the Geraldines

Halpenny Travel Louth Ladies Senior Championship Group Two
St Brides 4–6
Geraldines 2–9

St Brides’ Phyllis Coyle gets away from Geraldines’ Sinead O’Keefe in Sunday morning’s Louth Ladies Senior Championship game. PICTURES: BEN MCSHANE

Following their promotion from the Intermediate Championship last year, St Brides started life in the senior grade with a deserved win against the Geraldines In McGeough Park on Sunday morning.

Played in fine conditions, both teams provided an exciting game of football which ebbed and flowed with St Brides coming from behind to win in the last five minutes of play with a Bronagh McArdle goal.

The Geraldines, who won their opening game against St Kevin’s, got off to a flying start, scoring 2–2 without reply with goals from Ciara O’Connor and Grainne Finnegan and points from O’Connor and Roisin Soraghan.

St Brides’ Phyllis Coyle runs into Geraldines’ Emma Gartlan. PICTURE: BEN MCSHANE

The Haggardstown side were also unlucky not to go further ahead as Finnegan had another goalbound effort well saved by Brides goalkeeper, Sarah Kieran.

It took nine minutes for the Brides to register their first score when Emma McArdle took the ball from the left corner and advanced along the end line towards goal and found the back of the net from a narrow angle.

This stirred the Knockbridge side into action and they added two further points without reply in the next five minutes to close the gap to a goal with both scores coming from championship debutante, Aoife Reilly.

Geraldines’ Helen Ryan gets this pass away in Sunday’s Louth Ladies Senior Championship game. PICTURE: BEN MCSHANE

The next 10 minutes saw play move from end to end with defences dominating but the teams added two points apiece with Sandra Lynch and Fionnuala Cafferty scoring for the Geraldines and the McArdle sisters, Bronagh and Emma, replying for the Brides to leave the scoreline 2–4 to 1–4 in favour of the Geraldines at the break.

The Geraldines got off to a good start again in the second half, scoring three points without reply in the opening five minutes with Ciara O’Connor, Sandra Lynch and Emma Gartlan getting on the scoresheet.

The Brides, however, refused to give in despite the six-point deficit. Mickey Heaney’s side worked hard to remain in the game and their appetite and enthusiasm gained its reward.

Geraldines’ Jade Reddy holds on to the ball under pressure from St Brides’ Niamh Belton. PICTURE: BEN MCSHANE

They established a foothold in the game with Ruth Hanna dominating in defence and Kate Wynne and Tara McEnteggart taking a grip of midfield. Support came from Karen Gogarty at full forward and the McArdle sisters, who tormented the Geraldines backline.

The game was turned on its head midway through the second half when Bronagh McArdle broke through the Geraldines defence and smashed the ball to the net.

From the resulting kick out, the Brides again won possession and sister Emma showed she had equal ability, crashing her effort to the net to bring the sides level for the first time since the game began.

Geraldines’ Ciara O’Connor gets this pass away despite the attentions of St Brides’ Kate Wynne. PICTURE: BEN MCSHANE

The Geraldines dug in and forged a two-point lead after 20 minutes of the second half thanks to scores from Lorna Moriarty and Emma Gartlan.

The Brides, however, hauled back the Gers’ advantage by the 25th minute of the half with Bronagh McArdle converting a free and Kate Wynne advancing forward from midfield to draw the teams level for a second time.

The visitors were now playing with confidence with Kate Wynne again in the thick of it as she played in Bronagh McArdle who unerringly found the back of the net again, giving the Brides the lead for the first time and a substantial one with three minutes remaining.

St Brides’ Rebecca Hilliard breaks through the challenge of Geraldines’ Grainne Finnegan. PICTURE: BEN MCSHANE

The Geraldines, knowing a goal was required, applied pressure in the closing stages but the Brides protected their goal doggedly and emerged deserved winners in their first Senior Championship encounter.

GERALDINES: Alannah Finn, Sinead O’Keefe, Ciara Power, Eilis Hand, Abbi O’Connor, Jade Reddy, Megan Scully, Helen Ryan, Gemma McCrave, Emma Gartlan (0–2), Ciara O’Connor (1–2), Grainne Finnegan (1–0), Fionnuala Cafferty (0–1), Sandra Lynch (0–2), Roisin Soraghan (0–1). Subs: Katie Todd for C Power; Maebh O’Hagan for G Finnegan; Lorna Moriarty (0–1) for S Lynch; Victoria Prendergast for R Soraghan.

ST BRIDES: Sarah Kieran, Caitriona Sweeney, Ruth Hanna, Rebecca Hilliard, Daragh Hoey, Caoimhe Hoey, Sarah McArdle, Kate Wynne (0–1), Tara McEnteggart, Phyllis Coyle, Niamh Belton, Aoife Reilly (0–2), Bronagh McArdle (2–2), Karen Gogarty, Emma McArdle (2–1). Subs: Nel Meegan, Niamh Sweeney, Niamh Mackin.

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