Senior Championship Round 3
Royal Gaels 1-12
It was a calm and dry evening in Dunshaughlin making it ideal playing conditions for the third round of the Senior Championship in Meath. Our very own All Star Niamh O’Sullivan landed the opening score from a free within seconds of throw in from a foul on Meadhbh Byrne. As the game went on and some ping pong like play the ball returned back into the Donaghmore Ashbourne 45 which resulted in a free for the home side. O’Sullivan stepped up to the plate and the ball sailed between the uprights. The away team keen to make an impression on the scoreboard pressed hard, were fouled and awarded a free, Donaghmore Ashbourne took their chances and entered their first score 7 minutes in. Michelle O’Hare kicked the ball out to captain, Laura Quinn who scanned the pitch for a receiver and delivered the ball into the forwards, which found the hands of O’Sullivan who registered her third point in the game. Ella Moyles was a thorn in Donaghmore Ashbourne sides with her succession of turn overs, which made it difficult for the away team to make into the Royal Gaels 45m. The ball travelled back to the forwards with a direct pass to Elena Kennedy who saw Ciara Gorman making a run off the shoulder, who then took a shot and added another point to the score line. Niamh Gallogly read the Ashbourne kick outs well and won the long range shots and finally paid off as she managed to seal another point for the hosting Team. The lead was short lived by the home side as Donaghmore Ashbourne were patient and managed to work the ball into scoring range and banked a point. Hoping to make more of trend of scoring, they slotted a goal in against the home side, making the game level. Both teams were neck and neck and guilty of a few wides not to mention but Donaghmore Ashbourne anxious to pull ahead at any opportunity they got however, this was denied on a few occasions as the backs intercepted.
While both keepers were kept on their toes throughout the game with some drop balls, O’Hare in particular braved beyond the goal line to become integral player of support play out of their defence which was well backed by Ava O’Brien. Sonia Leonard was in top form with turn overs and blocks, paired well with Karla Kealy, both safely saw the ball out of the Royal Gaels defensive zone. Donaghmore Ashbourne worked hard and managed to stick a further 2 points over the bar. Royal Gaels forwards were getting impatient as they wanted to answer Donaghmore Ashbourne’s scores, they fought tooth and nail for balls played into them. Suzie O’Rourke, making her debut on the Senior team for the 2022 championship, worked hard for the spilled ball, was fouled and was signalled a free. Gorman struck the ball and slotted it over the bar in style. Donaghmore Ashbourne were back on the attack but Quinn came out of the crowd of green jerseys strong and played the ball to Petra Reilly who went on a 50 yard sprint in the direction of the goals but switched play over to Byrne who unfortunately was denied a score. With a brief introduction of the physio play was paused, Royals Gaels reset and were adamant to bring the game back to a draw heading into the latter stages of the first half. Moyles was finally awarded for her efforts and pinged the ball over the bar just before half time.
Donaghmore started the second in similar fashion to the first half, however were not a match for the home side as they upped the ante after the wise words from Farrelly, Lane and Munnelly at half time which ensued hunger in the Royal Gael’s bellies to give them the edge which deemed fruitful for the scoreboard. After another attempt on attack the Black and Amber side came up against a strong Ashbourne defence the ball scrambled in front of the Ashbourne goal and Gorman skilfully flicked the ball in with her right foot into the back of the net. The 3 pointer boosted the confidence of the home side as it saw Troy extend the charge for the hosts with a point from play. Donaghmore Ashbourne got their competitive streak back temporarily with a shot on goal, in order to narrow the difference between sides but this was spurned by O’Hare. 10 minutes into the first half saw the Royal Gaels pull away with a 5 point lead. After the away teams kick out which was plucked out of the sky by Moyles was passed into the forward line promptly where the Ashbourne side were willing by any means to put a stop to the Gaels attack, ended up in a Sin Bin for Ashbourne, reduced to 14 the home side went on a scoring spree with further points from Byrne and O’Sullivan taking advantage of being a player up.
The introduction of fresh legs in the forwards with Laura Murray and Niamh Mc Entee joining the field, creating runs increased the pace and kept the away team exhausted trying to climb back. With a few chances to retaliate Sadhbh OMuiri denied the away team on serval occasions with her smart positioning and quest to retain possession for the home side. Caitlin O’Neill joined the troop and was ready for battle making some key support runs out of defence. Karla Kealy won a kick out from the travelling team and delivered it sweetly to Kennedy in wing half forward to add to the final score taken by the home side. As Royal Gaels surged ahead in the second half and dominated the game they managed to keep Donaghmore Ashbourne at bay on the scoring front only allowing them to score a single point to close out the game. The Black and Amber Ladies saw out the game with patience and composure and secured their place to the knock out stages making it three round games from three. Full time score Royal Gaels 1-12 to Donaghmore Ashbourne 1-05.