Termon (Donegal) 3-12 Mourneabbey (Cork) 1-13
Termon delivered a powerful second-half display, to become the first Donegal club to win any level of All-Ireland Ladies Football Club title, after claiming a five-point victory in today’s Tesco Homegrown Senior decider at Tuam Stadium.
Aiming to become the first club to win All-Ireland Senior, Intermediate and Junior Ladies Football Club titles, Mourneabbey worked hard.
They did well to curb Donegal Senior player Geraldine McLaughlin in the opening half, the floodgates opened on the restart, as McLaughlin brought her tally to 3-8, on an historic day for her side.
Captain Roisin O’Sullivan held her defence well during the opening exchanges as Termon were handed little change in the first half.
Mourneabbey began this game in composed fashion and raced to a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after three and a half minutes, with Laura Fitzgerald, Brid O’Sullivan and Roberta Harrington on target.
By the interval O’Sullivan had brought her tally to six points, as the full-forward punished Termon hard with her dead-ball accuracy and also with some fine scores from open play.
Points form Sharon McLaughlin and veteran player Maureen O’Donnell brought Termon back into contention to cut the gap to the minimum after nine minutes.
A goal chance fell Mourneabbey’s way soon after, and although the ball was deflected out for a 45, Ciara O’Sullivan got through for her opening score.
Termon sensed the danger and switched Emer Gallagher onto the two-time All-Star, and at the opposite end Termon started to reap dividends.
Geraldine McLaughlin was marshalled by up to four defenders at times during this game, but came free to catch a high ball from Roisin McCafferty, for McLaughlin to turn her defender and send the ball to the net from the left boot.
Ahead for the first time on a 1-2 to 0-4 score-line after 11 minutes, things were starting to look brighter for Termon.
However, the Donegal side only managed one further point before the interval, a 22nd minute Geraldine McLaughlin pointed free, as Mourneabbey regained dominance.
Laura Fitzgerald and Ciara O’Sullivan were excellent in front of the posts, while Grainne McDaid was sin-binned for Termon in the final four minutes of the half, as Mourneabbey claimed a 0-10 to 1-3 half-time lead.
Ciara O’Sullivan brought her tally to three points early on the restart, but Termon responded strongly.
O’Sullivan’s effort was quickly cancelled out by a Maureen O’Donnell point to ensure a 0-11 to 1-4 score-line after 32 minutes.
Six minutes later Geraldine McLaughlin cut the gap further with a pointed free, after her initial effort was over the cross-bar, but was called back by referee Gus Chapman.
Termon continued to build momentum and another McLaughlin score cut the gap to two points at 0-11 to 1-6.
Frustrations set in for Mourneabbey, with half-back Rebecca Larkin sin-binned after a rash challenge.
McLaughlin continued to be composed and kicked her third point of the half to cut the gap to the minimum with 18 minutes remaining.
The Termon supporters sprung to their feet as again Geraldine McLaughlin proved her worth, taking her second goal to equal her semi-final tally, and hand her side a 2-7 to 0-11 lead.
Well shackled in the opening half, McLaughlin continued to prove ruthless as she further extended her sides advantage.
McLaughlin went in search of a hat-trick and found Roisin Friel in support who shot for her sides third goal, but was denied by Meabh O’Sullivan, and eventually Friel popped the ball over the bar to ensure a 2-9 to 0-11 lead.
Mourneabbey’s search for scores proved fruitful, as Fitzgerald claimed her sides first point in 16 minutes and stopping Termon’s nine-point turnaround.
Termon were reduced to 14 players, with a little over 10 minutes to go, following the sin-binning of Emer Gallagher, and Mourneabbey punished them almost immediately as substitute Kate Healy broke through for their opening goal, after being set-up by Doireann O’Sullivan.
Healy’s effort cut the gap to a point with nine minutes and 40 seconds remaining, but both sides suddenly found themselves with 14 players, after full-back Cathy Ann Stack was sin-binned for Mourneabbey.
Termon drove on in the closing stages, and held their opponents to just a point, with McLaughlin on fire.
She kicked 1-2 late on, including a sneaky goal with six minutes left on the clock, as she toe poked the ball to the bottom corner to ensure a 3-11 to 1-13 lead.
Momentum was certainly with Termon, and buoyed on by a large support, McLaughlin brought her match-tally to 3-8 with the final point to confirm a five-point win, and a first All-Ireland title.
After the game Termon captain Geraldine McLaughlin accepted the Dolores Tyrell Memorial Cup from LGFA President Pat Quill, while also receiving her Player of the Match award.