Walsh and Eilian star in county junior final triumph over Gráinne Mhaols

Oughterard 1-16

Gráinne Mhaols 1-14

By Mike Rafferty in Rosmuc

FOUR years after their formation as an adult club, Oughterard collected their first county title with a great success in the County Ladies Football Junior A Final in Rosmuc on Saturday.

Aided by the elements in the opening half, Kevin Joyce’s side opened up an advantage that was never reeled in as they led by four points at half time and that was extended to eight when Ina Butler found the net on 38 minutes.

However, that was also the signal for Paul Gannon’s team to respond and they did so in outstanding fashion as a Máiread Coyne goal kick started a comeback that came up just short at the end.

Led by the outstanding Meabh Walsh, it was the Oughterard captain and Player of the Match who opened their account in the first minute and this was followed by a point from another capable performer in Aoibhinn Eilian.

The centre forward slotted over six points from play and it was an occasion when her pace and ball carrying skills had the Gráinne Mhaols in trouble every time she got possession. Oughterard’s ability to turn defence into attack quickly led to a lot of scores and with Walsh and fellow midfielder Kara McCleane linking play well, they used this advantage to the full, as Eilian got their third score of the day.

It is fair to say that Gráinne Mhaols were not without their chances, but an over elaboration in attack was to cost them scores. They had just about as much possession in the forward positions, but stray passes led to scoring opportunities being lost. However, credit is also due to the Oughterard defence where Grace Webb, Marta Banek and Éilis Keogh gave little away as they put pressure on the ball continuously.

Two Máiread Coyne frees gave the West Connemara side some scoring reward, before Ina Butler set up Caoileann O’Halloran Bell to point. McCleane then collected a kick out and soloed through to slot over another score. It was typical of the fast breaking scores that Oughterard collected all day, as Eilian added to their tally.

While they took time to convert their chances, Gráinne Mhaols continued to threaten as Paula Coohill, Katie Flaherty, Megan Walsh and Amy Gannon offered greater influence and points from Abby Deane, Máiread Coyne (free) and Roisin Mannion reduced matters to the minimum at 0-6 to 0-5 after 28 minutes.

Pictured: Oughterard team captain and Player of the Match Meabh Walsh with Berty Hernon, Galway LGFA Chairperson, after their victory over Grainne Mhaols. Photo: John McDermott.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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