Glenfin Ladies have reached an Ulster Senior Club final as they beat County Down’s Bredagh in the Ulster semi-final at Pairc Taobhoige on Saturday.
Glenfin Ladies 3-17 Bredagh Ladies 1-15
Report by Charlie Collins at Pairc Taobhoige
Photography by Geraldine Diver
Bredagh gave up home advantage for this semi-final clash so they could play the game a week earlier due to the involvement of their men’s senior team in the Down intermediate final on Sunday 21st – when this game was due to be played – and their minor girls, who are also part of the senior team, playing in the Down minor final the day before.
Both sides displayed some brilliant individual play throughout, Yvonne Bonner (Glenfin) and Eva Hicks (Bredagh) converting nine points each for their respective sides.
It was an eventful first half as Glenfin scored four-points within the first 15 minutes of play to open their accounts, Karen Guthrie getting on the board twice from open play.
Karen Ward and Katy Herron followed by Guthrie’s example – scoring two points of their own, giving Glenfin the quick start they would’ve wanted.
However, this semi-final affair wasn’t as clear-cut as it seems, County Down’s Bredagh converting four points of their own to draw level.
An Eva Hicks double, one from a superb piece of open play and the other from a well-placed free-kick, brought the game 0-2 to 0-2 after 11 minutes.
By the midway point of the half, an Ella Durkan point brought Bredagh to within one point, a point they quickly turned over, Eva Hicks with her third score in less than six minutes.
The game, which was surrounded by damp conditions, was more than an even contest and the number of scores drawn by both sides in the opening half is a credit to themselves.
Under pressure and with the game level, Glenfin needed to take the contest to Bredagh and against the run of play they gave themselves breathing space going into the last ten minutes.
Opening up a 0-07 to 0-04 advantage, Yvonne Bonner and Karen Guthrie did the early damage before Katy Herron, who was full of confidence at the half-forward line, scored a brilliant solo effort to stretch Glenfin’s lead.
In the closing minutes before the interval, Hicks salvaged two important scores back for Bredagh to pull them to within one.
Francie Martin urged his side on in defence but in the last minute of the 30 minutes played, Laoise Duffy was cheaply fouled inside the area as Glenfin conceded a needless penalty – Clare Timoney converting from the spot to make it 1-06 to 0-07 by the break.
It was a poor error of judgement and defensive discipline on Glenfin’s part – conceding five points in the last three minutes of the first period.
Early the second half, Bredagh, however, didn’t learn from Glenfin’s defensive mistakes, Glenfin substitute Colene McGrath being fouled inside the area.
Karen Guthrie converted the penalty for Glenfin to bring the game level again, but the County Down opposition wasn’t shortened in confidence from their mistake. The brilliant Bredagh full forward, Hicks scoring three more accurately placed free-kicks to open up a three-point advantage after 39 minutes.
This was attacking ladies football at it’s very best with the two teams frenetic going forward – both also failing to control the game, giving up leads time and time again, and with 15 minutes remaining Glenfin had the game at 1-10 to 1-10.
After 40 minutes, Yvonne Bonner had a great chance to orchestrate Glenfin’s second goal but her effort clipped the crossbar before crawling over for a single point.
Katy Ward added another point from open play a minute later before Karen Guthrie added upon some excellently worked action from Katy Herron.
The two semi-finalists would add four more scores before the end, but it was Bonner’s late free-kick that caused the drama as she sent the game to extra-time four minutes into added time of the second half.
Bonner’s point must have come as a sociological blow for Bredagh, who thought they had won the game with a score of their own after 61 minutes and gave Glenfin a new lease of life.
The Donegal side emphatically scored nine points in extra-time, including two goals from Colene McGrath and Sinead McGinty, compared to a tired looking Bredagh side, who added one score before the end.
It was a hard fought struggle throughout and both teams left everything they had on the field.
Glenfin Ladies: Sharon Conahan, Daire McGlynn, Tara Martin, Karen Ward (0-1), Ann Marie Logue, Ann Maria McGlynn, Sinead McGinty(1-0), Grainne Houston, Karen Guthrie (1-04), Kathy Ward (0-1), Katy Herron (0-2), Lauren Martin, Gemma Glackin, Yvonne Bonner (0-9 4F), Katie Long.
Subs: Colene McGrath (1-0), Danielle McGinty, Mary Martin.
Bredagh Ladies: Emer Murtagh, Aislinn McCloskey, Dee Curran, Clare Timoney (1-02), Maeve Deery, Hannah Murray, Orla Duffy, Aoibheann McCarvill, Laoise Duffy, Eva Hicks (0-9 3F), Ciara McCreanor, Anna McKee (0-2), Ella Durkan (0-2), Aislinn McFarland, Muirin McCreanor.