Semi-final awaits ladies footballers

DCU’s senior ladies won comprehensively on Wednesday night in a 5-10 to 2-06 victory over Carlow IT that sees them into the semi-finals of the league for the fourth consecutive year.

The match began at St. Clare’s despite freezing conditions and was greeted with a goal less than thirty seconds from the throw in. Niamh Recard rattled the ball into the Carlow net after a lofted ball in from midfield to start her side where they left off after their 42 point hammering of Sligo IT a fortnight ago.

Carlow hit back immediately with a point and a goal in quick succession, leaving the Dublin side temporarily stunned. Carlow IT followed up on this by winning and converting a penalty after a long ball delivered into the DCU box was not dealt with properly.

Outstanding defensive displays from the DCU half-back line led by Sinead Green meant that Carlow could not penetrate within scoring range of the DCU goal for long periods.

Consistent wides from the DCU forward line might have been rued later on before a Laura McEneaney point from outside the 20 metre line steadied DCU nerves. This was followed up by an outstanding period of intricate hand-passing play from Clodagh McManoman and Sinead Green that culminated in a Sarah Lowe goal for DCU.

The first half ended in a flurry of points for both sides before another DCU goal arising from quick switches between half-back Katie Murray and Siobhan Woods ended in a Sinead Green finish.

With only the late goal separating the sides at half time DCU began an onslought in the second period. Whereas the first half had been plagued by persistent fouls and over-carrying, the second was a scoring spree – for DCU anyway. Three early points from the combined efforts of Niamh Recard and Sarah Lowe saw DCU slowly begin to run away with the affair. The lead was further stretched with two thunderous goals from the DCU full-forward line of Siobhan Woods and Carol Hegarty, the lead now stood at twelve points.

The half ended with Carlow registering two points in between four more from DCU.

It was not only the comprehensive victory from DCU that was impressive, but the determination of the players not to allow Carlow back into the game even when the match itself was over as a contest was striking. A modest DCU manager spoke of the determination of his players.

“A lot of it would be down to the players themselves, they drive it on the field, and they worked hard particularly after a poor enough start in our book in the first twenty minutes. They showed great character and great determination to drive on in the second half and pull out a good victory.”

Although numerous chances were missed in the opening 30 minutes, DCU steadied with the defensive capabilities of Clodagh McManoman and Aoife O’ Reilly in midfield throughout the second half.

With this 13 point victory on top of the dismantling of Sligo IT, it’s hard to think of areas that need improving.

“You have to take it game by game and just face into every opposition. We knew Carlow would be a far stiffer test than anything we’ve faced and it proved that way, particularly in the first half they put it up to us”, spoke the manager.

With the bitter defeat to Queen’s University Belfast in the O’ Connor Cup final still fresh in memory, the team’s manager spoke with determined optimism of his team’s chances in the league.

“If everyone buys into what we’re looking to do and into the team ethos we can go and definitely contest for a league final and hopefully that will start with next week’s semi-final.”

Aaron Gallagher

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