Magherafelt 1-7 Ballymaguigan 1-6
Magherafelt senior ladies made history on Wednesday night in Ballymaguigan when they claimed the clubs first ever senior title in a hard fought victory over a very strong Balymaguigan team in the All County Division 2 League play off.
The Rossa girls started off strongly with Leonie McErlain and Brid Corrigan gaining the early upper hand in midfield and delivering quick ball into the dangerous inside forward line. The lively Niamh Kerr was causing problems to the Loughshore teams defence and was rewarded with a well taken goal following good work from Siobhan Comer. Ballymaguigan reacted well however and opened their account with a well taken point , they missed two clear goal chances before finally putting the ball in the Rossa net to lead by a point. The home team were now well on top and both Eadaoin Smylie and Nicola Martin made goal line clearances, Gabriela McNicholl made a crucial block to stop a certain goal and this seemed to lift the Magherafelt team.
Magherafelt got back into the game when the impressive Catherine Hegarty won three kickouts in succession and set up points for Leanne Doak and Sinead Comer. Niamh Kerr capitalised on a mistake to score an excellent point but the home team countered with a two long range pointed effforts. When Niamh Kerrs strong run was halted with a foul Aimee McGuckin made no mistake with the free. The same player then pointed a 13 metre free to send Magherafelt in at half time two up Magherafelt 1-5 Ballymaguigan 1-3
Magherafelt faced the elements in the second half but got off to a good start when Leanne Doak pointed after a strong run from Siobhan Comer to put them four up. Ballymaguigan owned the ball for the next ten minutes but were unable to convert possession into scores and only managed one point in this period. Dearbhla McGuckin and Niara Walls in the half back line were working hard to get the Rossas back into the game and when team captain Karen O Kane intercepted a Ballymaguigan pass to set up Leanne Doak the lead extended to four again. Ballymaguigan came back strongly again and scored a point . With ten minutes to play and ahead by three Magherafelt conducted a fantastic rearguard action in the face on sustained pressure from the opposition. Aine O Donnell at full back was superb in this period , emerging time and again with the ball. Niamh McGuckin and Siobhan Comer were good outlets and won plenty of ball but it kept coming back and Ballymaguigan scored two points to leave just two in it with five minutes to go. Sinead Comer moved to midfiled in place of the injured Leonie McErlain and won some crucial possession but it was the home team who scored again to leave the minimum between the teams as the game moved into injury time.
Nicola Martin in goals was tested with two high balls and dealt with them superbly and both Aine O Donnell and Dearbhla McGuckin made crucial blocks. Ballymaguigan were awarded 13 metre free with virtually the last kick and when the effort just cleared the Magherafelt bar referee Gerry McCrystal signalled the end.
This was a gripping contest from start to finish with some good football played in very difficult conditions, the young rossas with six under 16s and five minors on board can be rightly proud of their achievement .
County secretary Gemma Watson presented the trophy to Rossa Captain Karen O Kane with Siobhan Comer picking up a deserved Player of the Match award.
Magherafelt Team : Nicola Martin , Eadaoin Smylie , Aine O Donnell, Karen O Kane ( capt ), Gabriela McNicholl , Dearbha McGuckin , Catherine Hegarty , Leonie McErlain, Brid Corrigan , Siobhan Comer , Sinead Comer (0-1),Niamh McGuckin, Niamh Kerr (1-1), Leanne Doak (0-2) Aimee McGuckin ( 0-3f). Subs Niara Walls for Gabriela McNicholl, Lias McElhone, Roisin McGuckin, Courtney Brown for Leonie McErlain, Katie McGuckin, Claire Shields and Lauren Kearns