Madeline Murray, Chairperson of the Longford Ladies GAA County Board, presenting the Junior Championship Cup to Longford Slashers captain Aisling Cosgrove. Photo: Declan Gilmore
After years of heartbreak there was joy at last for Longford Slashers Ladies as they won the county Junior Championship title at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday last.
Longford Slashers . . . 2-10 Colmcille . . . 2-8
Slashers had endured the agony of losing three finals in a row and then last year, they weren’t involved in the decider before they set the record straight and captured that elusive title on this occasion.
Trailing by four points at the break, 1-4 to 2-5, Slashers upped their performance in the second half with Kara Shannon’s well taken goal in the 32nd minute levelling the game.
Jessica Barry was accurate with her free taking, goalkeeper Emer Casey pulled off a stunning save in the 58th minute while captain Aisling Cosgrove played a real leader’s role and picked up the Player of the Match award.
Colmcille bossed the opening half and despite having early chances it was Slashers that opened the scoring with a pointed free from Barry in the 6th minute.
Colmcille replied in fantastic fashion with Grainne Reilly finding the back of the net with a stunning finish.
Barry kicked over another free in the 14th minute but Megan Jobe and Genevieve Reilly responded for Colmcille to put them ahead by four points, 1-3 to 0-2. Down the other end Barry was keeping her side in it with another free.
Michelle Farrell kicked over a fine point in the 18th minute but that was cancelled out by Barry’s fourth free, 1-4 to 0-4. Genevieve Reilly kicked over an excellent point in the 27th minute and one minute later Colmcille extended their lead to seven points; Caroline Doyle was fouled and Megan Jobe put away the penalty, 2-5 to 0-4.
Slashers though responded with a goal of their own from Aoife O’Brien as they went in at the break trailing by four points.
Within two minutes of the resumption, the Slashers girls were on level terms thanks to a neat point from Orla Nevin and a terrific goal from Kara Shannon made it 2-5 apiece.
A point from Nevin put Slashers in front for the first time since the 6th minute. Barry then kicked over a free to put two between the sides, 2-7 to 2-5.
After going 17 minutes without a score Michelle Farrell kicked over an excellent point. Sarah Madden had a goal chance in the 45th minute but hit her effort wide and one minute later Caroline Doyle drew Colmcille level.
Slashers enjoyed possession but kicked a number of wides before Barry kicked over another free in the 51st minute to edge Slashers in front again, 2-8 to 2-7. As the clock ticked down both sides became wary of each other and the next score didn’t come until the 57th minute with Barry kicking over her 7th free of the game.
One minute later and Colmcille broke with Genevieve Reilly setting up Jobe but Slashers keeper Emer Casey pulled off a superb save to deny her and keep her side in front. Jobe did kick over a free to cut the gap to one but that was to be Colmcille’s final score of the game.
In stoppage time Barry kicked over a wonderful point as Slashers finally claimed the silverware that had eluded them for years.
LONGFORD SLASHERS: Emer Casey; Ciara Flynn, Aine Barry; Laura Kenny, Eimear O’Brien, Emily Reilly; Aisling Cosgrove, Orla Nevin (0-2); Orlagh O’Brien, Jessica Barry (0-8,7f), Sarah Madden; Aoife O’Brien (1-0), Kara Shannon (1-0).
Subs:- Gemma Reilly for E O’Brien (injured, 12 mins); Elaine Murphy for O O’Brien (half-time); Grace Shannon for E Murphy (60+3 mins).
COLMCILLE: Ruth Jones; Nessa Farley, Ciara Gormley; Nadine McKeon, Karen Reilly, Grainne Reilly (1-0); Genevieve Reilly (0-2), Claire Doyle; Patricia Hourican, Shauna McCabe, Caroline Doyle (0-2); Megan Jobe (1-2, 2f, penalty), Michelle Farrell (0-2).
Subs:- Kate McNerney for S McCabe (47 mins); Ali McKeon for K Reilly (53 mins); Patricia Reilly for M Jobe (injured, 60+3 mins)
REFEREE: Tony Gaffney (Mostrim).