Limerick L.G.F.A. Intermediate Final – Drom-Broadford hold out in nail biting finish

The victorious Drom Broadford team following their win over Mungret St. Paul’s in the Ladies Gaelic Football Intermediate County Final in Knockaderry last Sunday. — Ladies Intermediate Football Final — Photo by Eddie Guiry

By Matt O’Callaghan
MUNGRET ST. PAUL’S……………..……………………………………………..3-4
Drom-Broadford were crowned Limerick LGFA Intermediate champions for a fourth time and the first time since 2016 after withstanding a late surge to see off the challenge of Mungret St. Paul’s in Knockaderry on Sunday.
A very poor and tentative first half gave way to a cracking second thirty minutes and in the end Drom-Broadford just about deserved to get over the line.
The victory completed a memorable eight days for Drom-Broadford quartet, team captain Áine Cunningham, Caitlyn O’Connor, Ellanna Mulcahy and Sarah Shanahan who the previous Sunday played important roles in Killeedy lifting the Limerick Senior Camogie Championship title.
Scores were at a premium in the first half and misfiring in that period when they were on the front foot almost came back to haunt Drom-Broadford as they had miscued eight times by the short whistle. That grim statistic had dilated to 19 by the final whistle. A lot of the wides were due to the pressure exerted by a strong, organised Mungret rearguard. Mungret for their part missed the target on 10 occasions.
The statistic overall gives a sense of a level of mastery that Drom-Broadford enjoyed and greater efficiency and better decision making in the final third would have yielded a greater winning margin.
The poor first half gave way to a memorable second 30 minutes when both sides shed the shackles to put on a full blooded contest with the victors making most of the running. Having achieved parity and edging in front, Drom-Broadford despite the profligacy in front of goal threatened on occasions to draw clear going four and five points in front at different stages only for Mungret St. Paul’s to refuse to succumb and hitting back.
A late flourish by Mungret St. Paul’s closed the gap to the minimum. In the closing minutes, a brilliant block by Meadbh McCarthy denied Clare Coughlan when she seemed about to plant the ball in the Drom-Broadford net.
On the day, the winners had heroes all over the field, two times All-Ireland camogie winner with Milford Laura Stack, who was named Player of the Match orchestrated the attack excellently, holding up the ball and releasing judiciously to score hungry forwards and from which Sarah Sheehan, Áine Cunningham and Saoirse McCarthy all profited.
The McCarthy siblings, Limerick captain Niamh at centre half back and her sister Meadbh behind her formed a very solid spine to the Drom-Broadford defence which worked very efficiently and were disciplined when hit by a number of Mungret St. Paul’s counter attacks.
Jenni O’Malley and Emer Quinn led the Mungret St. Paul’s resistance and up front Megan O’Malley, Aoife Morrissey and especially Clare Coughlan looked menacing throughout
“It went down to the wire, it was a very entertaining game. Both teams were in it from start to finish, we were fit this year and we managed to get ourselves over the line,” was the immediate post-match reaction of Drom-Broadford coach, Moss McCarthy.
On his side’s wides tally, the coach said “We just didn’t have our shooting boots on today, I still think we were entitled to the shots but they were a foot wide either side of the post. You have those days, if we had nailed them it would have made life easier for ourselves but look we do it the hard way.”
Mungret St. Paul’s funnelled back in numbers early on but then came out of their shell. “We were expecting that, that is the way Mungret play. As the game went on they got that bit tired and we were able to let the ball in earlier, it was down to one on ones and when it was that we managed to get scores.”
Norma O’Sullivan kicked Drom-Broadford into the lead in the third minute and her Mungret St. Paul’s namesake from a free replied two minutes later.
Team captain Áine Cunningham edged Drom-Broadford back in front in the sixth minute after which the scoreboard operator was redundant until the first water break with the west Limerick girls in the ascendency 0-2 to 0-1.
After the break, the Lyons brothers’ charges upped the tempo and were rewarded in the 21st minute following a well-crafted move culminated in Laura Hanlon steering the ball to the Drom-Broadford net. Mairéad Clancy quickly added a point and Mungret St. Paul’s looked to be asserting a grip on proceedings.
Drom-Broadford arrested the surge and the industrious Saoirse McCarthy supplied her side’s third point and that is how it remained until the short whistle, Mungret St. Paul’s 1-2, Drom-Broadford 0-3.
Four minutes after the resumption, Sarah Sheehan closed the gap to the minimum and two minutes later Laura Stack landed an equaliser and five minutes on sent over a lead point. Drom-Broadford had a grip on matters at this stage and appeared to put daylight between the sides in the 45th minute when Sarah Sheehan rounded off a well-crafted move when she booted the ball to the Mungret St. Paul’s net.
It prompted an instant response from the city representatives and less than two minutes later, following swift move up field, Megan O’Malley crashed to the net, the minimum between the sides 1-6 to 2-2 at the second half water break.
Drom-Broadford reasserted control soon after the resumption when team captain Áine Cunningham slotted home her side’s second goal to open up a four points lead.
Clare Coughlan narrowed the gap but her point was trumped by efforts from Laura Stack and Olive Linehan as Drom-Broadford moved five clear with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Mungret were not finished and in the 59th minute, Aoife Morrissey waltzed through the Drom-Broadford defence and crashed to the net to throw her side a lifeline and when Clare Coughlan added a point two minutes into time added on, there was still time for ma turn around.
However the Siobhán McCarthy managed Drom-Broadford shut up shop and closed in on a memorable victory.
Scorers: Drom-Broadford: Áine Cunningham, Sarah Sheehan 1-1; Laura Stack 0-3, 2fs; Norma O’Sullivan, Saoirse McCarthy, Olive Linehan 0-1 each.
Mungret St. Paul’s: Laura Hanlon, Megan O’Malley, Aoife Morrissey 1-0 each; Clare Coughlan 0-2; Norma O’Sullivan free, Máiréad Clancy 0-1 each.
Drom-Broadford: Ciara McCarthy; Zoe O’Connell, Meadbh McCarthy, Ava Mullane; Áine O’Sullivan, Niamh McCarthy, Caitlyn O’Connor; Ellanna Mulcahy, Norma O’Sullivan; Sarah Sheehan, Laura Stack, Sarah Shanahan; Olive Linehan, Áine Cunningham (Captain), Saoirse McCarthy.
Subs: Ciara Meaney for Zoe O’Connell (44), Gemma Barrett for Saoirse McCarthy (51), Caoimhe Sheehan for Ellanna Mulcahy (51), Niamh Fahy for Ava Mullane (54).
Mungret St. Paul’s: Maire Lyons: Caoimhe O’Neill, Jenni O’Malley, Fiona Browne; Emer Quinn, Yvette Moynihan (Captain), Ciara Conway; Áine Ryan, Clare O’Meara; Megan O’Malley, Aoife Morrissey, Mairéad Clancy; Laura Hanlon, Norma O’Sullivan, Clare Coughlan.
Subs: Orlaith O’Neill for Laura Hanlon (37), Aoife Dineen for Emer Quinn (52).
Referee: Eamonn Moran, Kerry.