Mercy Ballymahon 6-13
St Leo’s College 3-10
By Deniese O’Flaherty
A STRONG second-half performance helped Mercy Ballymahon claim the Lidl ladies football post primary schools Leinster senior B title with victory over a gallant St Leo’s side in Tullamore on Friday.
Just three points separated the sides at the break with the Longford school ahead 4-5 to 3-5. Three minutes into the second half Mercy got their fourth goal of the game and despite St Leo’s cancelling that score in a three-minute spell, they couldn’t eat into the lead further as Mercy became Leinster champions.
In an entertaining game, St Leo’s opened the scoring with a point from Eibhe Lawlor inside the first minute. Mercy replied with a point from Lauren McGuire.
From the kick-out Melissa O’Kane won possession and passed to McGuire who found the back of the net. Doyle fired over a neat point for Leo’s while down the other end Ballymahon got a second goal in the fifth minute.
Doyle hit over a second point in the seventh minute and started the move which lead to Leo’s first goal in the 11th minute scored by Ciara McDonald. McGuire fired over a free before Clodagh Lohan scored her first goal in the 17th minute to put five between the sides.
The lead was just one point in the 21st minute when Doyle burst through and shot to the net, Jade Nolan followed up with a point. Zoe Guinnane pointed for Ballymahon and in the 24th minute Leo’s went in front when McDonald scored her second goal.
Mercy’s response was terrific with Lohan grabbing her second goal to put Mercy back in front. McGuire hit over two points (one free) while Caoimhe Fitzpatrick scored a point to leave Leo’s trailing by three at the interval.
Three minutes into the second half, Ballymahon extended their lead to six when Lohan fired to the net after McGuire’s effort came off the post. Two points from Doyle (one free) and a neat effort from Eibhe Lawlor cut the gap to three again in the 37th minute but that was as close as the Carlow school got to Mercy.
McGuire hit over another free while Lohan scored her fourth goal of the game in the 43rd minute to stretch Mercy’s advantage to seven points. Lohan and McGuire fired over points as the Longford school upped their performance and try as they might, Leo’s just couldn’t contain them.
Two more McGuire points (one free) put 11 points between the sides in the 49th minute. After going 13 minutes without a score Doyle scored a free. Lohan and Melissa O’Kane replied with points for Mercy.
Jade Nolan got up to score a fine point in the 56th minute and two minutes later Leo’s misery was compounded when Sara Doyle was shown a red card. McGuire hit over a free for the last score of the game.
Mercy Ballymahon: Bláthnaid McDonagh; Tara Gunning, Clodagh Dillon, Katie Devlin; Leah Shannon, Emma Ballesty, Zara Mulvihill; Casey McNamara, Eimear McDonagh; Melissa O’Kane (1-1), Lauren McGuire (1-9, 0-5 frees), Clodagh Lohan (4-2); Ciara Mulligan, Zoe Guinnane (0-1), Rebecca Higgins. Subs: Jillian Ballesty for T Gunning (42 mins), Eabha Healy for Z Guinnane (49 mins), Maeve Greene for Z Mulvihill (57 mins), Jill Glennon for K Devlin and Emma Howlin for R Higgings (62 mins)
St Leo’s College: Amy O’Shea (Castlemitchell, captain); Sara Kerfah (Graiguecullen), Danielle Forbes (Graiguecullen), Aine Fahy (Bennekerry/Tinryland); Georgina Donovan (Graiguecullen), Jade Nolan (Graiguecullen, 0-2), Jasmin Brennan Dowling (Éire Óg); Niamh Phelan (St Brigid’s), Aine Lacey (St Brigid’s); Aoife Gallagher (St Brigid’s), Sara Doyle (St Brigid’s Clomore, 1-5, 0-2 frees), Caoimhe Fitzpatrick (Graiguecullen, 0-1); Eibhe Lawlor (Old Leighlin, 0-2), Ciara McDonald (Killeshin, 2-0), Kelly O’Neill (Graiguecullen). Subs: Méabh Gallagher (St Brigid’s) for A Fahy (16 mins), Katie Collins-Byrne (Graiguecullen) for A Gallagher and Kate Wall (St Brigid’s) for J Brennan Dowling (36 mins), Lucy Gaffney (Killeshin) for A Lacey (54 mins)
Referee: Ciaran Groome (Offaly)