All Ireland Ladies Football Junior Semi Final.
Dee Rangers 0-00 Murroe Boher L.G.F.C 1-13.
The ladies of Murroe Boher ladies Gaelic football team made the long journey to Meath Hill GAA Grounds last Sunday to contest the All Ireland Semi Final and came away with a remarkable victory. Playing the Leinster champions who had already accounted for the Laois, Longford, Dublin and Kildare Champions on their way to a Leinster title the girls knew it was going to be a tough encounter. The occasion itself was superb. A huge travelling support from Limerick added to the nearly 1000 attendance and the preamble to the game included a parade behind a marching band, the playing of Amhran Na bhFiann and the attendance of Pat Quill the LGFA President.
Playing on their home pitch Dee Rangers were obviously anxious to get off to a good start but it was the Murroe Boher girls who applied the pressure immediately. Straight from the throw in the ball was worked up the pitch and Niamh Richardson blasted the ball over the bar after 10 seconds to settle any nerves the team may have had. Murroe Boher continued to apply the pressure and after a flowing move the ball broke to Megan O Mara who slotted home to the bottom corner of the net to give Murroe Boher the dream start. Shauna Ryan added another fine score from distance before Niamh Richardson scored a long range free to extend Murroe Bohers advantage. Aimee O Brien and Alannagh Russell at corner forward kept testing the Dee Rangers defence but it was their tackling that really impressed. No Dee Rangers player was allowed to come out uncontested and the pressure applied was intense. It was by no means one way traffic. Dee Rangers launched many attacks but some superb defending by Siobhan O Connor Saoirse Barry and Aoife Meaney in the full back line kept the scoring chances to a minimum. Aoife had a superb match marking Rebecca Goodwin who was by far the most dangerous of the Dee Rangers attack. Some excellent goalkeeping by Aoife Barry prevented a certain goal after 22 minutes when she advanced from her line to narrow the scoring angle and Rebecca’s shot hit the side netting.
The introduction of keely Lenihan at corner forward increased the pressure on the Dee Rangers defence and went on to have a fine game.
A couple of frees went astray also for Dee Rangers and then Louise Crowley made a brilliant stop on the goal line to prevent a certain goal 5 minutes from half time. Aisling Regan and Kathryn Fahy were outstanding at wing back marking Aoife Conlon and Grace Moloney, 2 very dangerous players but it was the Murroe Boher girls who won this battle hands down. The Murroe Boher girls weathered the storm and after a fine run Alannagh Russell was fouled and Grainne Regan tapped over the free which was followed by the score of the 1st half, a superb point from Niamh Richardson from out on the touchline. Unbelievably Murroe Boher led by 1-06 to no score at the short whistle.
The girls were calmness personified at half time knowing that there was still 30 minutes of hard graft ahead. The 2nd half began where the 1st half ended with Murroe Boher attacking and Claire Keating who had an excellent match turned Orlaith Duff and hoisted a shot over the bar from 30 metres to lay down a big marker. Shauna Ryan pointed from 35 yards before 2 more Claire Keating points put the girls 1-11 to no score ahead. Catriona Laffan was introduced and fitted seamlessly into the attack. Niamh Richardson and Shauna Ryan continued to dominate the midfield battle despite the best efforts of Emma Rafferty and Briona Rowe. Michelle Norris was always a threat and her high fielding was excellent as was her distribution. The introduction of Mary O Reilly Roisin O Malley and Niamh Holmes into the backline provided fresh legs for the final minutes. Grainne Regan tacked on another point before Niamh Richardson rounded off a fine personal display with the last score of the game. This is a remarkable achievement by the Murroe Boher squad. To hold the Leinster champions scoreless for 66 minutes of top quality football and reach the clubs 1st and only Limericks 2nd ever all Ireland final at ladies club level is a tremendous achievement. St Ciarans from Roscommon await in the final on Saturday 29th November. Finally a special word of thanks to the Dee Rangers club who hosted a magnificent occasion making the team management and supporters feel so welcome on the day. Before during and after the match they were the epitome of sportsmanship and courtesy. Providing food to the team and supporters at their lovely facility was so welcome and we would like to sincerely thank them for all they did for us on the day.
Roll on the All Ireland Final.