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Banner Spa Rathmore Munster Snr Semi 2015

Munster Senior B Semi-Final

Banner 5-22        0-7 Spa / Rathmore

The Banner Ladies have stormed their way in to the Munster Ladies Football Senior B Final with an emphatic win over Kerry Senior County Champions Spa/Rathmore. Played last Sunday in Askeaton and refereed by John Murphy (Cahir), the Banner took control from the outset and maintained a strangle hold on the game throughout.

Several near misses in the initial minutes served as a range finding exercise for the Saffron and Blue as once Grainne Nolan opened the scoring on three minutes with a lovely goal coming at the end of a Sinead Power / Niamh O’Dea manoeuvre, the Banner played what might be called total football dominating in all positions. At the end of the first quarter, the Ennis side had 2-08 on the board compared to Spa / Rathmore’s two points. With Louise Woods commanding the defence from centre-back position, Captain Niamh Keane and Louise Henchy in centre-field and Niamh O’Dea in centre-forward held the central ground, pinning in the Kerry side and stunning them with a massive workrate that yielded scores from Grainne Nolan (1-2), Niamh Keane (0-1), Niamh O’Dea (0-3) and Karen Roche whose tireless running off the ball split the Rathmore defence, receiving a pass from Sinead Power to take an exceptional Banner goal. When Niamh Keane collected the kickout, she set Roche up for a point on the fifteen minute mark, putting a twelve point gap between the two teams. 2-08 to 0-2 with Caroline Reen pointing for Spa / Rathmore side on seven minutes and and Noreen Murphy took another point on eleven minutes but that would be it until the thirtieth minute.

An almost impenetrable Banner defence on the day that included exceptional performances from Eva O’Dea, Sinead Quinn, Orlaith Lynch and Siobhan McMahon also included several penetrating runs from half-backs Louise Woods and Sinead Power over-running the Kerry side in waves of pressure. At the start of the second quarter, when captain Niamh Keane was pulled down en-route to the net, Niamh O’Dea converted the free, followed by a flurry of points from Aoibheann Malone (2), Niamh Keane (2), Louise Henchy (1) and O’Dea again (2). A brave Spa/Rathmore side struggled to retain composure anda defiant spell before the break yielded a second point from Caroline Reen and a converted free on the whistle. An incessant hunger for scores in the first half seemed to have the Banner Ladies on the winning course but it remained to be seen if the Aislinn Desmond led Spa/Rathmore side would pull itself together in the second hald. Referee blew up the first half with the scores heavily in favour of the Banner 2-16 to 0-4.

On the resumption, a Niamh O’Dea point inside of a minute showed the determination of the Clare club to finish what they started. An Aoife Keane point was quickly followed by Nolan’s second goal of the day (after a pass from Niamh Keane) to make it 3-18 to 0-4 points with thirty three minutes gone. With no solution to the Banner’s superior performance, Saffron and Blue points continued with a lovely left footed effort from Karen Roche and ceasless work by Louise Woods saw her take an inspiring point after a fifty metre solo run,  shortly after that.  College all-star Niamh O’Dea was in superb form on the day and when she poached a cheeky goal from a 50-50 ball with Spa/Rathmore custodian Linda Bruggner she brought her personal tally to 1-8 pushing her side into a 4-20 to 0-4 lead going into the last quarter. A flush of Banner subs took to the field for the last fifteen minutes (Rachel Grogan, Chloe McNamara, Roisin Martin, Aleisha Malone, Emma Neylon) and Spa / Rathmore took advantage taking two point through Mags Cronin and Claire Moynihan. Louise Henchy was back with her third point and a careless kickout fell to the indefatigable Grainne Nolan to cooly passed the ball past Bruggner into the Kerry net for her third goal and registering an impressive 3-2 for the day with her last remaining score of the day. A Spa Rathmore point on the whistle was well taken but only their third point of the half.

A blitzkrieg performance in the first quarter by Banner Ladies shocked and awed their opponents who never regained their composure. A solid performance across the board, good ball handling and retention, tenacious defending attackers up front, physical strength all over the pitch and a massive will to score and win. However, the Banner defence probably weren’t significantly tested on the day a situation that will be very different next Sunday when they play in the Munster B Final against arch nemesis Ballymacarbry of Waterford who also methodically defeated their opponents Brian Boru’s. Ballymac field several players from last week’s All-Ireland Intermediate Championship winning side Waterford.

 

Banner: Emma O’Driscoll, Siobhan McMahon, Eva O’Dea, Sinead Quinn, OrlaithLynch, Louise Woods(0-01), Sinead Power, Niamh Keane (0-3), Louise Henchy(0-02), Grainne Nolan (3-02), Niamh O’Dea (1-08,3f), Aoibheann Malone(0-02), Karen Roche (1-02), Aoife Keane (0-01), Ciara Corbett. Subs: Emma Neylon, Chloe McNamara, Roisin Martin, Aleisha Malone, Rachel Grogan. Michaela Roughan, Sue Higgins, Alannah McNamara, Olivia Tuohy, Anne Marie Meenaghan, Emma Kavanagh, Nicole Talty, Nicole Roche

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