Heartbreaking last-gasp loss for ladies

Mayo Dublin LGFA

Photo: @RTEgaa

Bloody hell but sport sure can be cruel at times. After a nightmare start in this evening’s LGFA All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin, the Mayo ladies fought back bravely in the second half to tie the game up. With the seconds ticking down to the hooter they had a few chances to snatch the lead but instead were undone by a last-second pointed free at the other end, a score that handed Dublin a one-point win on a scoreline of 2-10 to 1-12.

Throw-in was delayed by half an hour at Breffni Park this evening due to the extra-time played beforehand in the Intermediate semi-final between Kildare and Sligo. When the match eventually got going at 7pm it was Dublin who settled better and they quickly took a firm hold on the contest.

They got the first three points of the game and then added two more following our first score of the evening. This came courtesy of a pointed free by Cora Staunton.

It looked like the Mayo girls were about to get right back in it when Sarah Rowe wriggled through and got a shot away but her goal-bound effort was parried away by the Dublin keeper. They came charging up the field, with a slick counter-attacking move culminating in a goal for them by Sinead Aherne.

That setback jolted Frank Browne’s charges to life. Three points in a row – two from Aileen Gilroy and a cracker from Cora – cancelled out the goal but then a defensive mix-up from a kick-out at our end let them in for a second major, once again netted by Sinead Aherne. That looked to be the fatal blow.

They added a point from a free to extend their lead to eight points but two pointed frees by Cora cut the deficit to six at the break.

Mayo Dublin LGFA half-time

Photo: @ColmGannon

Two further points for Dublin by Sinead Aherne on the resumption restored their eight-point lead. At that stage it was difficult to see the Mayo girls mounting an effective comeback but that’s precisely what they proceeded to engineer.

Three points in a row gave the girls some momentum. Cora then had the ball in the net but the goal was disallowed – correctly you’d have to say – for over-carrying.

What wasn’t correct was the persistent fouling of the Carnacon legend by the Dublin girls. Held back off the ball and pulled, pushed and rugby tackled when she was on it – that effectively was Cora’s lot this evening. Like Aidan in the men’s game, it looked like nothing was a foul where it came to Cora and she understandably grew ever more frustrated the longer this went on.

The tide remained in our favour after the disallowed goal. Two long range frees from Cora cut the gap back to a goal and soon after we were sensationally level when Rachel Kearns found the net with a raking, low shot to the corner.

I thought for a while that they mustn’t have cards in the ladies game but then, just after we got the goal, I discovered that this wasn’t the case. Aileen Gilroy was sin-binned for a foul, one no worse than the two dozen or so that had already been committed with impunity by the Dublin girls on Cora.

There was, however, some justice in the fact that Dublin were unable to make their numerical superiority count on the scoreboard. Ironically it wasn’t until just after they had one of their players, Siobhan Woods, sin-binned that they edged back in front. The lead didn’t last long, however, with Carol Hegarty thumping over the leveller for us at the other end.

With our girls back up once again to fifteen, them down to fourteen and time running out, it looks as if we were well placed to seal the win and a place in the final. The last few minutes were tense and tight but we failed to get anything from a few long-range frees we were awarded. Dublin were getting cuter with their fouling now, only doing so well out of scoring range.

They eventually broke upfield with seconds to go and won a scoreable free. With the final seconds ticking down on the clock Sinead Aherne kicked the winner to send Dublin into their third successive final.

It was the cruelest possible way to lose, not least given how well the team had battled back from eight points down early in the second half. With perhaps a little more luck and, for sure, a ref prepared to apply the rules on a more even-handed basis this knife-edge result could easily have gone the other way.

Mayo Dublin LGFA full-time

Photo: @Inphosports

But it didn’t and so, sadly, the Mayo ladies’ football journey is over for this year. What a year it’s been – unbeaten in the League all the way to the final, the Connacht title recaptured and, literally, ending up just a kick of a ball away from getting to the All-Ireland final.

Huge commiserations to them on tonight’s heartbreaking loss but also well done on what’s been, all told, a very positive year for ladies football within the county. You did us all proud, and more.

30 thoughts on “Heartbreaking last-gasp loss for ladies

  1. What a most enjoyable game but again the refereewill be the talking point. He was terrible!. No consistency. How many times does Cora have to be pulled down before the referee takes action.

  2. Nothing but the utmost respect for the character and courage shown. That second half come back was reminiscent of the first semi-final come back against Dublin last August. I watched on streaming so could not judge the justification behind denying Cora’s goal.

  3. absolutely gutted for the women and so bloody proud of them…there is no nice way to lose but this surely is a sucker punch…though it reminds me of the goal Cora got to win the AI v the Dubs many years ago!!! Hard luck but so proud of our women…Maigheo go deo !!

  4. I have to agree with Peter above.

    Is there something in the refereeing gene pool to suggest that mayo are sometimes
    getting the wrong end of the stick?

    Mayo did not deserve to lose .

  5. Awful in the end. We could not get our scores in the end and we had so many chances but we did not deserve to lose like that. Dublin barely played in the 2nd half. Draw would have been fairer at that point. Last 2nd of the game.

  6. Brilliant effort by the Mayo ladies tonight – deserved so much more – the lads would be proud to put together some of their sweeping attacks they made in that second half. Cora is some legend – the abuse she had to put up with !

  7. That, referee, gave nothing to Mayo.
    They, had to play Dublin and the ref.as well.
    Dublin were,dirty, @ got away with it.
    When will ,Mayo teams, get fair play, from referee’s.

  8. After such a second half come back what a cruel ending to the game. Well done to the ladies and to the supporters that travelled. I really hope that wasnt Coras last game.

  9. Thought the refereeing in both games today was terrible. The ref in the Sligo v Kildare game was throwing out yellows at random as far as i could see.Think Sligo in patricular were treated harshly and have even more cause for complaint than we do.

  10. A pic of Cora in tears on facebook..Awful ending after clawing back a six point deficit..Sickened..

  11. Hard luck to the ladies gutted for them. Can we please please stop playing the victim. Yes cora ( the greatest player the county has ever produced ). Was pulled and dragged around the place, in the 1 st half we were unlucky not to pick up a I sinbining ourselves . Plenty of chance, s to kick the winner in the last few minutes . We’re here saying we don’t care that media don’t see us as the golden boys anymore but we don’t care we don’t like it when it happens to us though. If the ref is against us as a lot of times it does seem it costs us say 2-3 points in crucial games, Well then we score 4-5 more and shag them . Change of attitude is what we want from our players it’s also needed by us on the side line. Screw the refs screw the media. If we want this we have to do it for ourselves.

  12. Sincere commiserations. I listened online and was kicking every ball with them. So hard on them after that comeback, sport is very cruel at times and all I can say is chin up and forward March for 2017 in better shape

  13. Absolute sickener for the ladies. Life is not fair and sport certainly isn’t. We know that better than anyone.

  14. Heart braking for mayo ladies that put some much in please god I hope not the same for the men

  15. Enjoyable game and great effort. Plenty of cynical and tactical fouling by dubs but Richie duck is right, we really do have to stop blaming everybody else for our woes. I thought the Mayo team were excellent and showed enormous character but we dominated late on and could not get that winning score. Heart breaking but that’s sport.

  16. I agree the ref was very poor and probably cost us in the end. But I agree with other posters that we had the opportunities in the last 5 minutes. We had the extra player but did not make it count. Two 45’s and one or two possessions in their half did not result in that vital lead score. I’m convinced of we did go ahead in those final five minutes we would have got over the line. In saying all that it was a wonderful second half performance that all players and management could be proud of. As for Cora, she surely will go down in history as the most talented lady to ever have played the game.

  17. Mayo teams need to realise you must keep playing to win up to last kick of game. Mayo had same opportunity to score winner. Less of hard luck stories and Refs. We know GAA refs are mostly very poor. Look at all the games won in last kick or two like Kilkenny Kerry etc

  18. Hard luck terrible the way it finished.cora had a great game if only she would look up an odd time and lay it off to someone in a better position.we can’t be blaming ref.

  19. We had chances to win it in the last few minutes but did not take them. Dublin were going to catch us one on one with a quick break and only option was to foul. Dublin missed a free with a few minutes to go but we then gave them a gift at the end. Cora battled all day but had at least two Dublin players on her every time she got the ball. We will not see her likes again. Always next year.

  20. The standard of football in the ladies has gone through the roof in recent times….even though I’d still prefer to see them doing ballet.! JOKE!
    Looked like they were going to be washed away yesterday till they found themselves at end of first half. I really felt there was more of a team about them on this occasion than ever before and it bodes well for the future. A bit more cuteness up front and they were away in a hack! But….!! Matches need to be fairly reffed!

  21. Hard defeat to take, but they had ample opportunity to win the match and didn’t do it. The second half performance showed that they are a better team than Dublin, but they completely lacked composure in the first half. If they’d played to their potential throughout, they would have won, no question.

  22. Ref was poor but Mayo had three chances to win it just before Dublin free and messed it up. You just have to take your chance when it comes around.

  23. Willie Joe ya might get aiden to change he’s name on here don’t want to get confused with the aidan variety!!!

  24. Same old hard luck story with a Mayo team in Croke Park. When a match is there for the taking, you have got to seize the moment. Mayo had a few of those moments yesterday, but alas like so many teams before, lacked the belief, the composure or what ever else it takes to get over the line. How hard it must be on those players who have given so much and then see their dreams slip right through their fingers !!!

  25. Dubs completely imploded in that half, will see what they are made of in 2nd half. Still expect them to take it.

  26. Ref was a joke, 45 was a wide, clear foul for next Dub score, Peter Crowley fouled at end. 16 v 15 today.

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