LADIES GAA | Siobhan’s strike proves to be crucial as Cooley see off the Blues

Halpenny Travel Louth Ladies Senior Championship Group One
Cooley Kickhams 3–14 Newtown Blues 2–13

Players from each of this year’s Halpenny Travel Louth Ladies Senior Championship. PICTURE: WARREN MATTHEWS

Cooley Kickhams will feel they have one foot in the quarter finals after this four-point victory over Newtown Blues in a high scoring encounter at Fr McEvoy Park on Sunday.

Another win over Roche/Na Piarsaigh should see the peninsula side into the next round but the Drogheda side must beat champions Stabannon if they are to remain in contention for this year’s title.

After an even opening quarter which saw the home side lead by 0–3 to 0–2, Cooley hit the game’s opening goal when Eibhlin Rice’s shot beat Elaine Flood in the Blues goal, her shot from an acute angle finding the bottom corner of the net.

The Blues almost replied instantly when Sarah Dyas got through the Cooley defence only to be denied by a superb save by Coirin Rice. It one of many excellent stops the Cooley netminder produced on the day.

The home side added further points from Siobhan McDonald and a superbly taken long distance free from Lauren Boyle. Sandwiched in between was a Laura Collins minor. Niamh Rice then added two further points to extend Cooley’s lead to 1–7 to 0–4.

The Blues could have been much closer but for the intervention of the woodwork as both Sarah Dyas and Laura Collins both saw efforts come back off the post in this period.

Cooley continued to look dangerous in attack and their second goal arrived when the impressive Lauren Boyle scored a stunning goal to propel the Kickhams into a 2–7 to 0–6 lead after 27 minutes.

Laura Collins added two points to keep the Blues in contention and the visitors received a further boost when Lisa Kelly was fouled, leading to referee Brian Brady awarding a penalty which was clinically converted by Collins.

It proved to be the last action of the half, cutting the Cooley lead lead to just two points, 2–7 to 1–8, at the break.

With the momentum of a strong finish to the first half behind them, the Blues started the half well with Collins again on target.

It got even better for the Drogheda side just three minutes later when Kate Gerrard beat a couple of defenders before firing a wonderful shot to the Cooley net.

The hosts responded well with points from Boyle (0–2) and Niamh Rice moving them back in front, 2–10 to 2–9 after 42 minutes.

As the excitement mounted, former Louth star Collins and Leah Tuohy kicked the next three points to put Keith Lynch’s charges back in front, 2–12 to 2–10 after 45 minutes.

With 10 minutes left, Lauren Boyle again hit the target with a free after Sarah Jane O’Reilly was fouled.

The decisive moment arrived just a minute later when Siobhan McDonnell won possession and drilled a brilliant shot to the Blues net from 20 metres, 3–11 to 2–12.

That proved to be a hammer blow that the Blues couldn’t recover from and Cooley finished strongly with points from Boyle, Rice and O’Reilly ensuring the valuable points went to the home team after a thrilling contest.

COOLEY KICKHAMS: Coirin Rice, Renee McGlynn, Megan Ferguson, Shauna Murphy, Aoife Traynor, Claire Donnelly, Laura Traynor, Niamh Quigley, Siobhan McDonald (0–1), Leanne Tuohy, Sarah Jane O’Reilly (0–1), Niamh Rice (0–5), Kerrie Ferguson, Eibhlin Rice (2–1), Lauren Boyle (1–6). Subs: Patsi Boland, Rita O’Brien, Lauren McGrath, Emily Ward, Sinead Rice, Ella Murphy, Katie McMahon.

NEWTOWN BLUES: Elaine Flood, Kim O’Hara, Lisa Finglas, Emma Thompson, Laura O’Shaughnessy, Cliona Smith, Orlaith Nugent, Maura O’Sullivan, Rebecca McAllister, Hannah O’Neill (0–1), Lisa Kelly, Roisin Crowe, Kate Gerrard (1–4), Laura Collins (1–8), Sarah Dyas.

REFEREE: Brian Brady.

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