FOOTBALL: Roscommon 0-9 Wexford 1-5 (Lidl NFL Division 3 Final)
By AISLING CLERY (Róisín Wynne of Roscommon in action against Sherene Hamiliton of Wexford. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile)
Rosie Lennon scored the winning free three minutes from time and Roscommon claimed the Lidl National Football League Division 3 title with the win against Wexford at St Brendan’s Park in Birr.
The sides were level at 0-4 to 0-4 at the first water break and in a low scoring encounter, every point mattered. Catríona Murray netted the only goal of the game just before the second half water break to put Wexford into a two-point lead. A re-energised Roscommon fought back in the final quarter and levelled the game through a Lennon free, before her second free was enough to claim the title.
Wexford dominated possession in the opening stages and two frees from Murray gave them a two-point lead after six minutes. Laura Fleming reduced the gap to one from a free but that was cancelled out when Sherene Hamilton finished a team move after good work from Aisling Murphy.
Scores were at a premium in the opening quarter but two Fleming frees and a point from Jenny Higgins after a terrific run, saw the sides level 0-4 to 0-4 at the first half water break.
They both spurned chances in the second quarter but it was Róisín Wynne who was closest as her shot was saved by Helena Cummins. At the other end, Jenny Higgins was unlucky when she blasted wide. Murray pushed Wexford into a one-point advantage on 22 minutes when she converted her third free. Roscommon were dealt a blow as Lisa O’Rourke was shown yellow a minute later. Both sides had chances but at half-time it was Wexford that led by 0-5 to 0-4.
Lauren Shanagher and Fiona Tully both claimed points to send Roscommon into the lead after 43 minutes and they could have been further ahead but O’Rourke’s shot was saved by Sarah Merrigan.
Wexford continued to hassle their opponents and were rewarded when Murray found herself in space and she finished high into the net just before the second half water break was called.
Fleming reduced the deficit to one on 50 minutes before substitute Lennon levelled the game from a free two minutes later and added a second free three minutes from time.
Wexford did have a chance to tie it up in the final moments but Murray sent her free wide of the posts, as Roscommon celebrated their first Lidl NFL Division 3 title since 2009, and promotion to the second tier.
Scorers – Roscommon: L Fleming 0-4 (3f), R Lennon 0-2 (2f), J Higgins 0-1, L Shanagher 0-1, F Tully 0-1.
Wexford: C Murray 1-3 (3f), S Hamilton 0-1, A Wilson 0-1.
ROSCOMMON: H Cummins; S Kenny, R Fitzmaurice, L O’Rourke; R Wynne, R Brady, A McAuliffe; K Nolan, L Fleming; M McHugh, J Higgins, C Conway; A Hanly, F Tully, N Feeney.
Subs: R Lennon for Hanly (30), L Shanagher for McHugh (39), S McVeigh for Brady (48), N McHugh for Conway (51).
WEXFORD: S Merrigan; C Neville, A Halligan, N Cloke Rochford; O Kehoe, R Murphy, C Donnelly; K Kearney, C Banville; S Hamilton, C Murray, E O’Brien; A Wilson, A Murphy, B Breen.
Subs: S Harding Kenny for Cloke Rochford (45), A Cullen for Wilson (46), T Doyle for Breen (50), E Tomkins for O’Brien (59).
Referee: Gavin Finnegan (Down).
“Even at half-time, they knew they weren’t at their best, in the second half they still weren’t at their best but look it you dig out these results,” said Roscommon manager Ollie Lennon.
“At the end of it all, the history books will show we won, nobody will be bothered about the quality of the game.
“We are absolutely thrilled. You can play all the fancy football you want, it’s a better result than going out in a shootout and losing by a point.
“We are thrilled for the girls, it’s a huge achievement and a huge step forward for this bunch of players.”
“It’s the tightest of margins but I’m massively proud of the performance of the girls,” said Wexford manager John Nolan.
“We are the ones at the end fighting tooth and nail for the winning of the game. We are bitterly disappointed that we couldn’t get our hands on silverware but I’m massively proud of the side and of the performance and there will be bigger things to come because we have learned a lot in a very condensed league.”