Galway champs dig deep to force replay in thrilling final

Former Galway star Annette Clarke who scored 3-4 for Kilkerrin/Clonberne in their thrilling Connacht senior ladies football final against Carnacon on Sunday.
Former Galway star Annette Clarke who scored 3-4 for Kilkerrin/Clonberne in their thrilling Connacht senior ladies football final against Carnacon on Sunday.

Kilkerrin/Clonberne 6-14

Carnacon 5-17

CORA Staunton scored 4-13 and Annette Clarke hit a hat-trick. The teams were level 11 times and shared 11 goals. And two players received red cards in a pulsating battle. And that was just the start of detailing this sensational provincial ladies football senior showdown which delivered excitement and drama.

The talk beforehand inevitably centred on Australia-bound Staunton and her contribution stole the headlines. The 10-time All-Star kicked as many points from play, struck three penalties and even landed a long range free underneath the crossbar that looked to turn this decider Carnacon’s way.

But Kilkerrin/Clonberne responded to every hammer blow and keeper Lisa Murphy made three top drawer saves. John Fleming’s charges showed massive character to rescue this decider. However, they also knew they had a chance to win it.

Staunton commenced her impressive tally on five minutes. Louise Ward won Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s first free two minutes later allowing Olivia Divilly to level as the pot gently simmered before exploding into life. On eight minutes, the first shots were fired even if it didn’t result in a score. Fiona McHale and Michelle McGing were two chief Carnacon tormentors and the former was allowed get in range too easily before rattling the crossbar with a fierce strike.

On 10 minutes, Staunton was brought down in the square and the Carnacon captain duly obliged from the spot kick, making it 1-1 to 0-1.  Their lead was short-lived after Louise Ward was fouled two minutes later and Annette Clarke showed her execution skills getting Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s first penalty.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.