Kerry SLFC: Southern Gaels retain title after dramatic shootout

The champions and Finuge/St Senan's could not be separated at the end of extra time and so a shoot-out followed where it took seven free kicks each before the outcome was decided
Kerry SLFC: Southern Gaels retain title after dramatic shootout

CHAMPIONS: The victorious Southern Gaels team celebrate. Pic: Noel Sweeney

Randles Brothers Senior Ladies Football Final

Southern Gaels 2-14 Finuge/St Senans 2-14 (AET) 

(Southern Gaels won 4-3 on frees) 

Drama at the Fitzgerald Stadium as Southern Gaels came from the brink of losing their SFC title to scoring 1-1 in added time in normal time against first time senior finalists Finuge/St Senans to force two periods of extra time.

But the sides still could not be separated at the end of extra time and so to a shoot-out where five frees from just in front of goal were going to decide the outcome. 

But it took seven free kicks each before Aoife Behan missed for Finuge/St Senans and Southern Gaels fullback Shaunagh Fitzpatrick became the heroine when she converted her free kick and in the cruelest fashion possible, Southern Gaels had retained their title.

However with some players cramping during extra time and with the Munster Club Championship outing not until October 23, a replay would have been fairer all round.

It was score for score during the opening quarter as Finuge/St Senans gave as good as they got and their physicality appeared to throw Southern Gaels off their stride. Both Rachel Dwyer for Southern Gaels and Jackie Horgan for Finuge/St Senans were giving their markers at the edge of the square a torrid time. 

The North Kerry side led 0-5 to 0-4 at the end of the opening quarter thanks to three Jackie Horgan points from play and two from Miriam O’Keeffe but Rachel O’Dwyer was keeping Southern Gaels in touch with three super points.

The crucial score of the opening half came in the 28th minute when Siofra O’Shea set up Aoife Dwyer for a cracking goal as Southern Gaels led 1-7 to 0-6 at half time.

But Finuge/St Senans, driven on by Patrice Diggin and Niamh Carmody, thundered into the game and though Rachel Dwyer kept kicking frees, the North Kerry side were denied by the brilliance of keeper Mary Ellen Bolger. 

But three points from Catriona Dillon, Patrice Diggin and Jackie Horgan closed the lead to 1-9 to 0-10. Then Bolger tipped a Rebecca Horgan over the bar and in the 53rd minute Jackie Horgan rattled the net and suddenly Finuge/St Senans were 1-11 to 1-9 in front.

Siofra O’Shea converted a free but in the 59th minute Finuge/St Senans struck for a goal from Aideen Cronin to give them a 2-11 to 1-10 lead in the 60th minute and on the cusp of history.

But in six minutes of added time it went awry for the underdogs as they conceded a penalty and Siofra O’Shea sent it low to the net. Rachel Dwyer converted a free in the final seconds and so to extra time.

The sides could not be separated after extra time, and then in the dreaded shootout, it was Shaunagh Fitzpatrick (daughter of manager Dan) who took the seventh free kick, and Southern Gaels regained their title but Finuge/St Senans hardly deserved to lose.

Scorers for Southern Gaels: R Dwyer (0-10, 8 frees), S O’Shea (1-1, 1f), A Dwyer (1-0), M O’Connell, E O’Connell and C Murphy (0-1 each).

Scorers for Finuge/St Senans: J Horgan (1-6, 1f), M O’Keeffe (0-4, 3’s), A Cronin (1-0), P Diggin, C Dillon, N Carmody, and R Horgan (0-1 each).

SOUTHERN GAELS: M Ellen Bolger; J Gill, S Fitzgerald, E O’Sullivan; F Keating, C Teahan, C Quinlan; M O’Connell, S O’Shea; A Dwyer, E O’Connell, C Murphy; S O’Donnell, R Dwyer, A Fitzgerald.

Subs: D Kelly for S Donnell (42), M Daly for C Murphy (52), S O’Donnell for A Dwyer (e/t). 

FINUGE/ST SENANS: L Houlihan; S Murphy, C Cullen; A Cronin, L Galvin, K Stack; P Diggin, C Dillon; M O’Keeffe, N Carmody, A Behan; R Horgan, J Horgan, E McCarthy.

Subs: A M Leen for E McCarthy (24), K Buckley for A Behan (56), A Behan for R Horgan (e/t), and S Behan for K Stack (e/t).

Referee: J Brosnan (Currow).

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