Mayo girls fall just short of the mark

Ladies' All Ireland U16A Shield Final

The agony of defeat: Mayo's Aileen Gilroy is dejected at the end of Sunday's All Ireland U16 A Shield final. Photo: Sportsfile.

The agony of defeat: Mayo's Aileen Gilroy is dejected at the end of Sunday's All Ireland U16 A Shield final. Photo: Sportsfile.

Dublin 3-12   Mayo 3-11

Ger Loughnane maybe well known for putting out dummy team sheets before big games in his time in charge of Clare and Galway, and on Sunday the Dublin ladies u16 team took a leaf from the Clare mans book, with four players not listed in the starting 15 taking to the field and three other positional changes to the programed starting line up for Mayo to contend with. But with less than five minutes to go before the break, none of these swaps and changes looked like they had put Mayo off as they lead by seven points on the field.

A week maybe a long time in politics, but last Sunday it was proved that five minutes is a long time in ladies' football. When Elena Naughton fired the ball over the bar from 25 yards out on the stand side of the field to put Mayo 2-5 to 0-4 in front, it looked like there was going to be no way back for the metropolitans. But within the next five minutes they scored two goals of their own and tacked on three points to go in at the break leading by 2-7 to 2-5.

It all had started so well for Mayo, Amy Hopkins scored the first of her seven points for the day a minute in, this was followed up by the first goal of the day from the boot of Niamey Kelly. Stephanie Delaney started a move that saw the ball pass through Ciara Hanahoe and onto Hopkins who dropped a perfect pass in front of the breaking Kelly who left fly first time to drive the ball to the back of the net. Mayo tacked on two more points before Dublin were able to chalk up a score on the board through Siobhan Killeen on 14 minutes. Mayo kept plugging away and two minutes later were eight points to the good thanks to points from Hopkins and Elana Naughton along with Kelly's second goal of the game, with Dublin only breaking up the Mayo scoring spree to register their second point of the game from Killeen again.

But the capital side were starting to find their feet in the contest and points from Killeen and Nicole Owens saw them six behind with nine minutes left in the half. But Mayo looked to have stemmed their resistance when Naughton pushed Mayo's lead back out to seven points with seven minutes left on the clock.

But from here on into the median whistle it was all about the girls in sky blue and navy. They ran off 2-3 with out reply before the break. The goals coming from Killeen with a great strike from distance and Lauren Ebbs who found the Mayo defense asleep as she was played in free in front of goal by Nicole Owens a minute into over time.

Mayo knew they had to get back into the groove after the break and Amy Hopkins cut the gap to a point shortly after the restart, but the one thing Mayo couldn't afford to do was concede another goal. Which they did almost immediately, a poor kick out fell into the arms of Nicole Owens who had the easy task of breaking through to raise the green flag for the third time for the Dublin girls. But credit to the Mayo girls they kept plugging away and had the gap at only three points on a number off occasions as the clock ticked down and they tried to get the goal which would through the contest wide open again. They finally did get that goal right at the death through a Avril Kilkelly drove the ball to the net, but it was too little to late for her side, as Dublin had already tacked on the insurance score through Owens to leave Mayo a point behind at the end.

Mayo: A Tarpey; R Tierney, M Hegarty, S Delaney; A Bell, G Kelly, A McHugh; R Conway, A Gilroy (0-1 ); A Kilkelly (1-1 ), A Brennan, A Naughton (0-2 ); C Hanhoe, A Hopkins (0-7,6f ), N Kelly (2-0 ). Subs: S Rowe for A Brennan (41 mins ), R Keane for A Naughton (53 mins ).

Dublin: A Gillen; L Caffrey, L Curry, L Collins; G Barret, J Ward, A Caffrey; C Ruddy, E McDonagh, A Philips (0-1 ), N Owens (1-4 ), L Ebbs (1-2 ); M Carney (0-1 ), E McGrath, S Killeen (1-4, 01f ). Subs: J Wall for C Ruddy (30 mins ), S McCaffrey for G Barrett (50 mins ), C Ruddy for E McDonagh (53 mins ), S Woods for A Philips (56 mins ), S Garvin for M Carney (59 mins ).

Ref: MJ O'Keefe (Cork )

 

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