Claremorris this afternoon qualified for the LGFA All-Ireland Junior football final, when they beat off the challenge of Erin’s Own, Lavey of Derry in a high-scoring semi-final. Roared on by a noisy home crowd, Claremorris emerged from a frantic finale to the game with a 5-4 to 2-11 victory. The final is set to take place two weeks from now.
Claremorris enjoyed the perfect start in today’s semi-final, which was played in bitterly cold conditions, though at least the fog that had played havoc to the match in Castlebar yesterday wasn’t a factor in this game.
Two early goals from Nina Wallace, with points from Bree Hession and Rebecca Kean (free), gave the home side an eight-point lead before their opponents got motoring. But it wasn’t long before the Derry side were firing nicely and they rattled off six points on the spin to cut the Claremorris lead to two.
Goals were vital to the Claremorris win and, after enduring that Lavey fusillade, they found the net for the third time. This one was scored by Laura Kelly and this score, along with two points beforehand, swelled their lead to seven at half-way.
Lavey came out of the traps fast after the break, nicking 1-1 in rapid fashion. Claremorris then had Sarah Dee sin-binned and soon after the Derry team levelled the game with their second major of the afternoon.
The Claremorris response was immediate and emphatic. Bree Hession’s shot was low and hard and the goal gave her side some valuable breathing space at just the right time.
When Ashleagh Sammon banged in the Mayo team’s fifth goal soon after they began to look comfortable again. Little did they know then, however, that this would prove to be their last score of the game.
From there to the end Lavey piled on the pressure. With time running out the gap was down to two and when Alanna Fitzpatrick was shown a yellow, Claremorris had to withstand Lavey’s late, late attacks with fourteen players.
But withstand them did they did. Neither side managed a further score and so Claremorris it was who emerged with a hard-fought win by a margin of two points.
Claremorris will now face O’Donovan Rossa of Cork in the All-Ireland final. They beat Gusserane of Wexford in the other semi-final, which was played yesterday (report on that one here). Congrats to Claremorris on today’s win and the best of luck to them in the All-Ireland decider.