Dramatic Finish in Centennial Park Toronto27 May 2012
2010 Allstars 4-10, 2011 Allstars 3-11
EDEL Murphy was the star of the show as the 2010 TG4/O’Neills Allstars scored a thrilling victory in the week-end exhibition game in Centennial Park, Toronto. The Kerry goalkeeper saved an injury-time penalty from Cork forward Rhona Ni Bhuachalla and it denied the 2011 Allstars a draw in a marvellous contest.
Behind by ten points at the interval, the 2010 combination were inspired by two goals in rapid succession inside the opening three minutes of the second half from Waterford hurling manager Mick Ryan’s daughter Michelle. Additionally, Leitrim player Aine Tighe found the net a second time at a crucial stage.
Ladies Football President Pat Quill was delighted with the quality of the play, saying: “you couldn’t have written the script. People couldn’t believe the level of skill, the score-getting and the athleticism of the girls. I have no doubt it will give Ladies Football a great boost.’’
With Meath goalkeeper Irene Munnelly proving herself as early as the 5thminute when denying Dublin sharpshooter Sinead Ahern, the 2011 team settled down to take control. Goals came from Kerry starlet Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh and Monaghan stylist Ciara McAnespie and it saw them lead 2-3 to 0-1 after eleven minutes.
With Monaghan captain Sharon Courtney and Kerry’s Aisling Leonard strong in the central positions in defence, Cork dual star Briege Corkery highly influential and team captain Juliet Murphy in form, they stayed in control until Aine Tighe got her first goal in the 29th minute. However, a quick goal from Meath’s Fiona Mahon had them 3-7 to 1-3 ahead at the break.
“It looked like one-way traffic at one stage we were so far behind,” commented winning manager Gerry McGill, Dublin’s All-Ireland winning manager two years ago and now a Tipperary football selector. “We seemed to go a bit more direct in the second half.’’
Six minutes after the resumption, the margin was down to two points following two snap goals from Michelle Ryan, daughter of the Waterford hurling manager Michael Ryan. And, a general improvement, marked by impressive play from the Laois pair Lorraine Muckian and Tracey Lawlor and Cork star Brid Stack, along with Gemma Begley (Tyrone) and Dublin’s Sinead Aherne made for a really competitive last 20 minutes.
Three times Edel Murphy brought off important saves from Ni Mhuircheartaigh, McAnespie and Ni Bhuachalla and after Tighe’s second goal levelled the game, points from Ryan, Kerry’s Bernie Breen and Tighe again set the scene for a dramatic finish which saw Murphy correctly anticipate Ni Bhuachalla’s penalty to tip the ball over the bar.
Robbie Griffin, TG4 analyst and former Kerry manager agreed it was ‘a brilliant exhibition. “We saw everything that’s good about Ladies Football,’’ he said.
Losing captain Juliet Murphy captured the general mood. “It was a great spectacle and that was number one!’’
Scorers: 2010 Allstars: M. Ryan 2-2 (0-1 free); A. Tighe 2-1; Y. McMonagle 0-3; A. McGuinness 0-2; S. Aherne and B. Breen 0-1 each.
2011 Allstars: L. Ni Mhuircheartaigh and C. McAnespie 1-1 each; F. Mahon 1-0; R. Ni Buachalla 0-3 (0-1 penalty); M. Kirwan 0-3; B. Corkery, G. O’Flynn and J. Murphy 0-1 each.
2010 Allstars: E. Murphy (Kerry),R. Ruddy (Dublin), L. Muckian (Laois), S. McLaughlin (Tyrone); S. McGrath (Dublin), B. Stack (Cork), G. Fay (Dublin);D. Masterson (Dublin, capt.), T. Lawlor (Laois); C. Donnelly (Tyrone), G. Begley (Tyrone), A. McGuinness (Dublin); Y. McMonagle (Donegal), S. Aherne (Dublin), J. Donnelly (Tyrone). Inter-change players: A. Tighe (Leitrim), C. Hegarty (Donegal), B. Breen (Kerry), N. Keane (Clare), M. Ryan (Waterford), A. Doherty (Donegal/Toronto), A. Gallant (Toronto), C. Murphy (Wexford/Toronto).
2011 Allstars: I. Munnelly (Meath), G. McNally (Monaghan), S. Courtney (Monaghan), C. Reilly (Monaghan); B. Corkery (Cork), A. Leonard (Kerry), G. O’Flynn (Cork); J. Murphy (Cork, capt..), A. Holton (Kildare); C. McAnespie (Monaghan), M. Kirwan (Laois),T. McNally (Monaghan); A. O’Shea (Cork), R. Ni Bhuachalla (Cork), L. Ni Mhuircheartaigh (Kerry). Inter-change players: S. Goldrick (Dublin), F. Mahon (Meath), E. Kelly (Dublin), A. Doonan (Cavan), E. Loughnane (Toronto), S. Ó Muiri (Toronto), A. Nault (Toronto).
*Cork’s Deirdre O’Reilly was an absentee because of a broken thumb, while team-mate Amy O’Shea made a successful return to action. Briege Corkery was chosen as the player of the game.
Referee: Keith Delahunty (Tipperary).