Begley inspires Red Hands to first final

TYRONE advanced to a first TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC final after squeezing past Kerry in Saturday’s semi-final replay at Banagher, Offaly.

Influential centre-forward Gemma Begley led the charge with a 1-3 haul as the Red Hands edged out the Kingdom by a point (1-9 to 0-11).

Tyrone face last year’s beaten finalists Dublin in a novel decider at Croke Park on September 26.

The victors didn’t have things their own way as they came from three points down at half-time (1-2 to 0-8) to secure the win. Begley netted after just 65 seconds to set the Red Hands on their way but they were outscored by 0-2 to 0-8 for the remainder of the half as Kerry came on strong.

Tyrone also suffered an early blow when Neamh Woods was unlucky to receive a yellow card for a challenge on Louise Galvin and spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

Kerry were level by the 12th minute (0-4 to 1-1) and went a point in front after a superb Mags O’Donoghue score two minutes later. Kerry then had a goal disallowed for a square ball in the 20th minute when Emma Sherwood fisted home Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh’s free.

Catriona McGahan’s 22nd-minute point for Tyrone levelled the tie at 1-2 to 0-5 but three unanswered points before half-time saw Kerry regain the initiative.

After the break, Tyrone stormed back and full forward Sarah Connolly shot the opening point of the second half.

By the 11th minute, Tyrone were level at 1-6 to 0-9 before Ní Mhuircheartaigh responded with her and Kerry’s second point of the half.

With 11 minutes left, Tyrone’s Nina Murphy hit a shot off the post with just the keeper to beat but Cathy Donnelly hauled the Red Hands level.

Points from ace corner forward Joline Donnelly and Aisling O’Kane pushed Tyrone two points clear – 1-9 to 0-10 – with three minutes remaining before Ní Mhuircheartaigh popped over her sixth point in the final minute.

Scorers for Tyrone: G Begley 1-3 (0-3f); J Donnelly (0-2, 1f), A O’Kane, C McGahan, S Connolly, C Donnelly (0-1) each.

Scorers for Kerry: L Ni Mhuircheartaigh (0-6, 4f), L Galvin (0-3), M O’Donoghue (0-2).

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