LADIES GAA | Stabannon Ladies see off the Fechin’s to book final showdown with the Geraldines
Dowdallshill/Kilkerley to meet Kevin’s in Division Two final
Clans to meet Mattock in Division Three decider
Stabannon Ladies were pushed all the way by a hard working St Fechin’s side in Sunday’s Louth Ladies League Division One semi final in Stabannon, the county champions winning on a 4–9 to 3–9 scoreline.
Played in ideal conditions, the home side got off to the perfect start when Grace Rogers was hauled down inside the area after just 30 seconds. Danielle Sharkey converted the penalty and two minutes later, Rogers added a point to put the mid-Louth side four points ahead.
St Fechin’s, playing their first senior league semi final, soon got to grips with the game and a point from a Rachel Kinch free, followed by a goal from the impressive Hayley McDonnell brought them level after 10 minutes.
The match was closely contested and a second Danielle Sharkey goal, together with a further 1–1 from the dangerous Grace Rogers, gave the holders a 3–3 to 1–5 lead at the interval.
The Fechin’s, however, went into the break very much in contention with Kinch, Louise McCullough and Hayley McDonnell all hitting impressive scores.
The second half proved to be an even tighter affair when Rachel Kinch fired a penalty to the net and left the minimum between the teams.
Stabannon were then reduced to 14 players with 20 minutes to play and they had to dig deep and call on all their experience to survive a Fechin’s onslaught.
A third Fechin’s goal from McDonnell and another free from Rachel Kinch looked to have put the 2016 Division Two champions in the driving seat, 3–6 to 3–3.
Stabannon, however, didn’t panic and a brace of points from Grace Rogers was followed by a superbly worked goal from Amy Malone to set up a tense final few minutes.
The county champions called on their wealth of experience and Aine McBride, Grace Lynch, Michelle McArdle and Siobhan Giggins made excellent use of possession.
That set up a late flurry which saw Rachel McNally (0–2), McBride and Grace Lynch add vital points to settle the encounter and book Stabannon a place in this weekend’s final against Geraldines.
The Fechin’s finished with two late points from Catherine McGlew and Rachel Kinch. There is no doubt this young team will benefit from this performance and with the Intermediate Championship approaching, they look like the team to beat in that grade.
Best for St Fechin’s on the day were Kinch, McDonnell, McGlew and the outstanding Ciara Nolan in defence. For Stabannon, Grace Rogers, Grace Lynch, Aine McBride and Rachael McNally were excellent throughout.
In the other Division One semi-final, the Geraldines beat St Brides by 3–7 to 1–6 in Haggardstown to book their place in a first ever senior league final.
In Division Two, St Kevin’s will meet the Dowdallshill/Kilkerley combination following their big win over Naomh Fionnbarra.
On Friday night, Clan na Gael beat Newtown Blues B in the Division Three semi-final. They will meet Mattock Rangers in the decider after the Collon outfit beat O’Rahaillaigh’s/Plunketts in the other semi-final.
The Division One and Two League finals are due to take place on Sunday with times and venues to be confirmed in the coming days.
The Division Three final between Clan na Gael and Mattock Rangers will take place on this Saturday in Dunleer with a throw-in time to be confirmed.