Annaghdown suffer agony for second year running in Intermediate decider


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Annaghdown suffer agony for second year running in Intermediate decider Annaghdown suffer agony for second year running in Intermediate decider

Salthill/ Knocknacarra 3-5

Annaghdown 2-6

By Ivan Smyth at Tuam Stadium

WHAT a time for ladies football in Salthill/Knocknacarra. Sarah Prendergast’s injury time goal ensured the city side secured their second successive promotion to inflict a heartbreaking defeat upon Annaghdown.

In a game which Salthill/Knocknacarra controlled for the vast majority, they had almost squandered a winning hand when seeing a 2-5 to 1-1 lead turn into a one point deficit as the contest ticked towards injury time. Annaghdown had kicked 1-5 without reply as Salthill/Knocknacarra began to falter as they closed in on a first Intermediate title.

There was still time for one last twist in this dramatic affair. After Player of the Match Siobhán Divilly claimed Laura Carroll’s kickout, she was hauled back with Brenda Naughton sin binned for the foul. This meant both sides were on a level playing field after a costly earlier sin binning for Salthill/Knocknacarra’s Orlaith de Bairead.

Salthill/Knocknacarra poured forward from the resulting free as Galway U16 footballer Zainab Rather saw her long range point attempt smack the post. Substitute Sarah Prendergast, who was only on the field five minutes, reacted quickest to gather possession, swivel and fire to the bottom corner of the net to propel her side back in front.

The goal was a hammer blow to an Annaghdown side who had fought so valiantly and with de Bairead’s 10 minute period in the sin bin ending moments later, Salthill/Knocknacarra had done enough. The win is a huge boost for a club now setting their sights on the provincial championship. Donal O’Connell’s side won the county Junior A title last year before progressing to claim Connacht and All-Ireland glory.

They will face Roscommon’s Éire Óg in the Prairie this Sunday with little time for them to enjoy this historic triumph. The fitness of midfielder Ailbhe Finnerty, daughter of former Mayo footballer Anthony Finnerty, is a concern as she was forced to depart inside the opening 10 minutes. Zainab Rather, who looks a real prospect, was pushed into midfield but Salthill/Knocknacarra will be keen to see their captain play a role this weekend.

Pictured: Siobhan Divilly of Salthill/Knocknacarra is presented with the Player of the Match award by Betty Hernon, Galway Ladies Football Chairperson.

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