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Burrishoole ladies reach final frontier


ON THE BALL Westport’s Aoife Staunton tries to start an attack as Burrishoole’s Clodagh McManamon moves in to challenge during Sunday’s Mayo LGFA SFC semi-final. Pic: Conor McKeown

Burrishoole 1-10
Westport 0-12
Michael Gallagher

THIS was everything championship football is meant to be. A huge crowd, neighbours facing off for a place in the county final, rivals looking to make a statement, cheers, screams, roars, oohs and aahs.
There was plenty of good football, some excellent scores, a smattering of mistakes, close shaves and what-might-have-beens, but in truth this was a classic.
Burrishoole arrived in town with savage belief in their own ability. Westport emerged from the dressing-room fully focused on securing a spot in their first senior final. It was set up for a thriller and that’s exactly what was delivered.
Burrishoole were deserving winners in the end. They were the better team for long periods and there was a time in the second half when they could have built an unassailable lead, but Westport might have stolen it in the end.
A frantic finish saw the homeside camped in the Burrishoole danger zone and a goal at that stage would have won it for the home side.
However, that net-shaker never arrived and when the final whistle sounded the outpouring of Burrishoole joy had to be seen to be believed.
“Any day we come to Westport and win is special, but this is different. This is huge. We’ve won nothing yet and we’re well aware of that, but it was a great effort by the girls and we’ll enjoy it,” team boss Colm McManamon told The Mayo News afterwards.
The former Mayo star was rightly proud of his team who took and early lead, defended stoutly and built up a healthy lead going into the final quarter, only for Westport to eventually find their rhythm and almost force extra-time.
Westport never hit the high spots they’re capable of.
They were stymied by Burrishoole’s excellent defensive display and the energy they required only arrived in the closing stages. At that time, the guests were on the cusp of victory and refused to be shifted.
McManamon’s women started brilliantly. The impressive Maria Cannon kicked her first point after 20 seconds, her second two minutes later, just seconds after Sarah Baynes had also raised a white flag for the visitors.
It was a serious statement from the visitors, but Westport responded and were in front after 19 minutes.
Laura Moran had kicked two points by then while the impressive Aoife Staunton and Aoife Geraghty had landed singles.
Burrishoole were defending deep and countering at speed. That tactic worked brilliantly after 20 minutes to create a goal chance for Ava Palaz but her well-hit shot went just over the bar.
The goal Burrishoole craved arrived a minute later when Ann Sheridan powered through to blast the ball to the roof of the net and the large traveling support celebrated.
They finished the half strongly to lead 1-6 to 0-4 at the break and the prospect of victory was coming into their thinking. The leaders should have had a goal four minutes into the new half when Feena McManamon did well to work an opening but her fine shot came back off the bar.
Burris’ retained their five point lead going into the final furlong but Westport eventually found the energy needed to try and rescue the situation.
Katie Chambers, Moran, Saoirse Ludden, Lisa Tully and Staunton took the fight to the opposition and, with time almost up, they had closed to a point but Lucy Wallace, Ciara McManamon, Cannon, Leona Ryder and their colleagues refused to budge and the final whistle was greeted like a lotto win.
They will now face into a first senior decider against defending champions Knockmore.

C McManamon; Clodagh McManamon, Ciara McManamon, L Ryder; L Wallace, Clodagh McManamon (twin), A Sheridan (1-0); S Baynes (0-2), J Cawley; R Baynes (0-1), A Kelly, A McNulty; M Cannon (0-6, 3fs) A Palaz (0-1), F McManamon.

R Scott; R Cafferky, S Lally, S Kelly; S McCarney (0-1), L Tully (0-2), S Mulroy; N O’Malley, A Geraghty (0-1); K Chambers, L Moran (0-5, 5fsf), A Staunton (0-3); J O’Malley, N Moran, S Ludden.
Sub used; L Scahill for Kelly.

Referee: K Corcoran (Islandeady)


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