By Marisa Kennedy
The ladies football weekend brought mixed emotions to the UL GAA family. Friday proved a very successful day with both the intermediates and seniors qualifying for the Lynch and O’Connor Cup finals respectively. The Lynch Cup team overcame WIT with a strong performance, while the O’Connor Cup team overturned the league semi-final result by beating DCU.
On Saturday the Lynch Cup team arose early and headed to the pitch with a send-off by the O’Connor Cup team. DIT stood between UL and their first ever Lynch Cup title.
This was the second time this side met DIT in the competition, having lost to the Dublin side in the earlier stages. However, UL were not going to let history repeat itself and laid down an early marker after just 13 minutes when Emma Needham hit the back of the net. Bronagh Sheridan helped keep DIT in touch through a well taken free. The UL defence put in an enormous shift, not allowing DIT a path through and clearing a huge amount of ball and the forwards responded. Sarah Ryan hit a wonderful point before Player of the Match, Laura Rodgers scored the teams second goal. DIT hit a slight purple patch just before half time, scoring three unanswered points from the boot of Sheridan and Aoife Thompson.
It was all UL at the start of the second half. Shauna Molloy and Ellen Dowling put points on the board before Ryan did supreme work to gain a penalty which she herself put away. DIT pulled a goal back through Niamh Halton but this only served to motivate the UL team who scored five more points to see out a nine-point victory.
Next up the O’Connor Cup team took to the pitch for the showcase event of the day. UL were looking for their third consecutive title, while oppositions UCD were looking for their first title since 2006. The first half was a tight encounter to say the least. Both defences ran the show, both UCD and UL having to work extremely hard to gain a score. Kate O’Sullivan was first off the mark for UCD, closely followed by Niamh O’Dea for the Limerick side. A rasper of a shot from the Clare star then rattled the crossbar. A point apiece then followed to leave the sides level after the low-scoring first half.
Then came the UCD onslaught. Player of the Match, Nicola Ward fired home for the game’s only goal, while substitute, Emma Guckian immediately made her presence known with two points.
UL eventually weathered the storm and started to gain their own momentum late in the second half. Roisin Leonard struck four frees plus a magnificent point from play, while O’Dea also added to the cause. However, the clock was not the friend of the UL girls as the final point to draw the game evaded the Limerick side and the O’Connor Cup returned to Belfield.
The Ladies Football weekend marks the end of the competitive season for UL GAA Club and we would like to thank all players, mentors, supporters, sponsors and members for the time and dedication they have shown our club over the past year. It has been a hugely successful year with our four senior teams making the weekends, two All Ireland League titles, a Fresher Blitz title, a Munster Championship and four All Ireland Championship titles. Well done to all involved and we are looking forward to next year already!