Kildare 2-10 -
Midway through the second half of Sunday’s Division Three ladies’ league tie at wet and windy Newbridge, Roscommon trailed by nine points and their task seemed insurmountable.
Kildare appeared to be in total control, having led at half time by 1-8 to 0-4. When the home side netted again ten minutes into the second half, they looked to be home and dry.
However, credit to Roscommon manager Michael Finneran. His made a number of substitutions, and one of them, Sheila Brady, grabbed two cracking goals in a frantic final 15 minutes to complete a famous comeback.
Indeed Roscommon kept Kildare scoreless for the final quarter, with Brady accounting for 2-2, and the other three points coming from Rebecca Finan frees.
It was truly an amazing recovery from a Roscommon perspective, considering the dominance enjoyed by Kildare in the opening half. Their goal came from Ellen Dowling, and only a number of missed chances prevented them from being further ahead at the break.
Roscommon’s scores in the first half came from Rebecca Finan (two frees) and Laura Fleming (one free and one from play). But in general, the visitors toiled against the wind and found decent opportunities hard to come by.
Roscommon began the second half with more initiative and when Katie Daly was fouled after a long run, Rebecca Finan pointed. However, disaster was to strike when Dowling, who had now moved to full-forward, netted after a long ball over the top caught the Roscommon defence out of position.
Jenny Higgins and Sheila Brady were introduced and immediately the forward line began to move with more purpose. Katie Daly and Siobhan Tully drew frees, which were punished by Finan, while Lara Curran pointed from a free for Kildare. Incredibly the home side wouldn’t score again.
Roscommon’s defence tightened up with Sinead Kenny and Joanne Cregg closing off the middle, and Honor Ennis and Niamh Feeney giving little away in the corners. Shauna Bannon was solid in the half-back line and Roisín Wynne made some strong runs down her wing. Laura Fleming worked tirelessly at midfield, as did Aine Ryan until she was replaced by Rachel Brady.
The comeback began with a great move set in motion by Cregg and Fleming, and ended with Higgins finding Tully who was fouled in the square by the Kildare goalkeeper, Rebecca McGuirk, who was subsequently shown a yellow card. Brady had to wait several minutes before taking the penalty but she wasn’t deterred, coolly slotting home the spot kick.
Three frees followed before Brady landed a superb point after good work from the hard-working Sorcha Bruen. Even though Finan landed her eighth free of the afternoon, Roscommon were still a point behind entering injury time.
But they were rewarded for their efforts when Higgins and Finan set up Brady for a dramatic match-winning goal.
This team can face the rest of their league campaign with confidence. If they display the same heart, determination and never-say-die attitude in future games, they can have a major influence in the final stages of the league.
With maximum points from their opening two games, Roscommon travel to Meath in their next match to renew the rivalry of last year.
ROSCOMMON: Helena Cummins; Honor Ennis, Sinead Kenny (captain), Niamh Feeney; Shauna Bannon, Joanne Cregg, Roisin Wynne; Laura Fleming, (0-2, one free), Aine Ryan; Katie Daly, Sorcha Bruen, Lisa Flynn, Siobhan Tully, Rebecca Finan (0-8, all frees), Louise Brady. Subs used: Sheila Brady (2-2, one free), Jenny Higgins, Rachel Brady, Grainne Lohan