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Athlone Junior Ladies win opening match in a tough battle yesterday...

posted 3 Jul 2017, 14:52 by Athlone GAA
​Westmeath Ladies GAA Junior Championship
Athlone 3-9 Ballycomoyle 3-7

Athlone Ladies opened their Junior Championship campaign with a significant win over Ballycomoyle in a tough contest in Pairc Ciaran on Sunday. This was a close contest, contentious at times, and in a match where Ballycomoyle held the lead for long periods, the Athlone Ladies had to dig deep to take victory.

Ballycomoyle took hold of the game early with a two early points but a superb goal from Cathy McGettigan settled Athlone. A further point Ballycomoyle point was answered by a well-taken score from Lorna Mulvihill, but the visitors then scored their first goal to lead 1-1 to 1-3. Athlone responded to this setback in the best possible manner when Niamh Byrne turned over possession and released Ally Mahon who found Chloe Moran in space, and she finished well for her side’s second goal.  At the other end, the pacy and skillful Ballycomoyle forwards were causing problems for the Athlone full-back line and they added a fourth point to bring themselves level, before scoring their second goal to open up a three point lead.  Again, however, Athlone replied with a goal, this time from Lorna Mulvihill, but the visitors regained the initiative with a couple of points to lead by two at half time.

The Athlone half-back line of Alannah Reynolds-Duignan, Kasey O’Neill and Lil Stuart-Trainor, and midfield of Cathy McGettigan and Eimear O’Rourke, got on top in the early stages of the second half and scores from the excellent Siobhan Coleman and Aoife Gill brought them level again, before corner-back Caoimhe Mannion gave Athlone the lead with a wonderful point after one of her trademark runs out of defence.

The home side were able to take advantage of a strong subs bench to introduce fresh legs as the humid conditions took their toll on energy levels, while the full-back line of Lauren O’Connor, Katie Henshaw and Caoimhe Mannion, augmented by Shauna Moylan, got to grips with the Ballycomoyle full-forward line and the visitors found scores a lot harder to come by in the second half, although they did add a point to bring themselves level again.

With the game in the melting pot as it entered its closing minutes, the experience of Aoife Gill showed when she finished neatly over the bar to edge Athlone into the lead, while Niamh Byrne gave Athlone some breathing space when she finished nicely after a surging run.  This forced Ballycomoyle to go throw everything at Athlone as they went for the match-winning goal, but keeper Aoife Temple and her defence held firm and Athlone held on to win a thrilling clash by 3-9 to 3-7.

Athlone:  Aoife Temple, Lauren O’Connor, Katie Henshaw, Caoimhe Mannion 0-1, Alannah Reynolds Duignan, Kasey O’Neill, Lil Stuart-Trainor, Eimear O’Rourke. Cathy McGettigan 1-0, Siobhan Coleman 0-2, Niamh Byrne 0-2, Ally Mahon, Chloe Moran 1-0, Aoife Gill 0-3, Lorna Mulvihill 1-1. Subs: Anna Redmond, Shauna Moylan, Ellen O’Connell, Sorcha O’Rourke, Sinead Dunning, Ciara Higgins, Amy Brill, Kelly Brill.