John the Baptist ladies produce the goods again to claim All Ireland Victory

Holy Rosary College 1-6

Lidl are the new sponsors of the LGFA this year and they have a new slogan, “serious athletes deserve serious support”, today anyone lucky enough to be in Gort’s GAA ground got to witness some very serious athletes performing at the very highest level. The athletes in question came from John the Baptist Community School Hospital, Co Limerick and Holy Rosary College Mountbellew, Co. Galway. They served up an exhibition of football with John the Baptist CS coming out on top after 60+ minutes.

The opening minutes of the game were intense with both teams attempting to get a foothold. Mountbellew had the wind with them and looked eager to capitalise, as they ran at the JTBCS defence the JTBCS ladies stood firm and broke down successive attacks. Both teams in the early stages could be accused of being a little scrappy in attack as they struggled to find the final killer ball. Mountbellew also missed two frees in the opening exchanges, they were the first on the scoresheet though with a well taken point by centre forward Aoife Thompson after 7 minutes.

This seemed to spark JTBCS into life and they got the next two scores from the ever accurate boot of Anna Rose Kennedy. Around the pitch the JTBCS ladies were working very hard, Kate O’Meara carried a lot of ball forward as did Gráinne Ryan and Caitlin Kennedy in midfield but they were not getting any clear cut goal chances that they seemed to be looking for. Chloe Miskell looked very dangerous at all times for Mountbellew, her frightening change of pace seemed like it would cause serious trouble. Some astute tactical knowhow nullified her threat as Katie Heelan was given the task of shadowing Miskell, one she was more than capable of the words “tough as nails” come to mind when describing Katie. Another stalwart of the JTBCS defence Maeve McCarty, was also excellent throughout the game and she dealt with a very dangerous ball from a long range free on 18 minutes as Mountbellew continued to look for any chinks in the armour of JTBCS.

Even though scores were limited on occasions in the first half it was an utterly enthralling affair, the quality of tackling was outstanding from both sides. Niamh O’Brien and Michelle Donovan were not giving an inch in the full back line. Miskell did manage to produce a moment of individual brilliance though to complete a mazy run with a well taken point on 20 minutes, she also took a great free on 27 minutes. Niamh Holland made sure that the Mountbellew defensive unit had plenty to think about as she made several powerful runs, one ending with a selfless hand pass for Anna Rose to slot over a point.

In the closing minutes of the first half Mountbellew assaulted the JTBCS defence, Áine Murray took a great long-range point that struck