LADIES GAA | Third time lucky for St Fechin’s as they storm to Ladies Intermediate Championship

Louth Ladies Intermediate Championship Final
St Fechin’s 3–11 St Patrick’s 0–4

After two consecutive final defeats, St Fechin’s powered their way to Intermediate Championship glory with a stunning 3–11 to 0–4 win over St Patrick’s in Stabannon on Sunday afternoon.

Paul Brennan’s side came through the group stages with relative ease but they couldn’t have envisaged that the decider would prove to be such a one-sided affair.

After a bright opening, Pat’s simply faded into the background, scoring just once beyond the 13th minute. Unlucky to be beaten by Mattock Rangers in the Division Two final earlier in the season, this one will take a bit longer to digest on the peninsula.

The Fechin’s, who were led by the free-scoring Rachel Kinch, made it look oh, so simple. After going close in 2016 and 2017, they have now tasted success and are looking for more with the Geraldines standing in their way of a league and championship double.

The vicious wind that blew across the pitch made life really difficult for both sets of players. The strength of the gale was illustrated inside the opening five minutes when it took hold of Kate Flood’s free and dragged it well wide of the upright.

Pat’s had already opened the scoring at that stage, Nicola Connor firing over before Flood added a second, converting a close-range free after she was taken down.

Pat’s looked to have taken a real charge of things when Flood managed to evade her Louth teammate Ceire Nolan and play the ball inside for the supporting Grace Treanor to fire over the Lordship side’s third point with 13 minutes played.

The Fechin’s, though, responded emphatically, hitting the next seven scores without reply to go in six ahead at the break. Kinch, who was ruthless in front of the posts, set them on their way with a ferocious drive that flew past Nadine Callan before hitting the net.

Points from Sara Moore, Louise McCullough and Kinch followed to put Brennan’s side in the ascendancy and with Pat’s struggling to get out of their own 45, the Fechin’s added three more with Kinch (0–2) and Moore adding to their respective tallies.

It could have been more but referee Stephen Murphy ruled out Sharon McDermott’s palmed effort after she met Hazel Haughney’s pass while positioned in the square.

The Fechin’s had another goal ruled out early in the second-half when substitute Catherine McGlew’s effort was also chalked off for a square ball, the Louth forward reacting quickly after Callan could only spill Sharon McDonnell’s swirling effort.

Damien Connor’s Pat’s just weren’t allowed to establish a foothold in things and the Fechin’s reeled off 1–3 without reply with Kinch, McGlew and Roisin Kavanagh all shooting over. Kavanagh also scored a fine goal to make it 2–9 to 0–3 and leave Pat’s on the ropes.

Flood, who was kept at bay by the Player of the Match Nolan, scored Pats’ first point in 29 minutes but it proved to be their final effort of the afternoon and Kinch and Kavanagh added one more apiece to their impressive tallies before Rebecca Howell put the icing on the cake with a late goal.

ST FECHIN’S: Emma Dunne; Rachel Beirth, Jenny Mulrey, Anna Redmond; Orla McEvoy, Ceire Nolan, Orla Brennan; Rachel Kinch (1–5, 1f), Pamela Campbell; Sara Moore (0–2), Hayley McDonnell, Roisin Kavanagh (1–2); Louise McCullough (0–1), Sharon McDermott, Hazel Haughney. Subs: Catherine McGlew (0–1) for H Haughney; Rebecca Howell (1–0) for S McDermott; Erin McDonagh for L McCullough, Shayleen McDonagh for S Moore.

ST PATRICK’S: Nadine Callan; Naomh Butterley, Caoimhe Breen, Deirbhle O’Doherty; Claire Savage, Aine Breen, Melissa O’Hanlon; Grace Treanor (0–1), Anna Whyte; Jacqui Kirk, Nicola Connor (0–1), Aisling O’Doherty; Meg Woods, Catherine O’Connor, Kate Flood (0–2, 1f). Subs: Evelyn Donnelly for D O’Doherty; Roisin Butterly for C Savage; Mary Loughran for M O’Hanlon; Eimear Breen for C O’Connor; Ellen Barry for A Whyte.

REFEREE: Stephen Murphy.

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