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GAA: Late charge takes title for Na Fianna

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Na Fianna used a late scoring burst of 1-5 to 1-1 to secure the Annie Kearney ladies title with a brilliant scoring performance by Molly O’Rourke who accounted for 3-5 over the hour. Na Fianna annexed their third Kearney title in a row.
 
The first half of the brilliant final was a very even affair. Both sides had their shooting boots on with brilliant scores at both ends of the field. 
 
Cavan had the first three points of the game, with Linda McKeon opening the scoring and Emma Clarke also on the mark.  Brianna Tierney did have a point in reply for Na Fianna, but Cavan added a further score to their total when an Emma Clarke shot bounced off the crossbar and over -- it could have been much more. 
 
Na Fianna dominated the next 10 minutes as they came more into the contest.   Tierney set up O’Rourke for a brilliant goal, and before Cavan had time to settle O’Rourke had her second three pointer. 
 
Cavan were now reeling at the Na Fianna dominance.  Two further points from Mary O’Rourke had the side sitting in a pivotal position with 10 minutes left in the half.  Those 10 minutes, however, belonged to the Breffni girls Clarke, Alisha Jordan and Catriona Rafferty who had three points for the side.
 
Na Fianna replied with a brace of points, but Cavan again responded with a further 1-2 as the first half wound down. The goal was another Clarke special as she was first to react to a long dropping ball from Nicola King.  Clarke created the rebound that Jordan picked up and smashed to the back of the neck.
 
As the second half opened Na Fianna quickly killed off the Cavan score with a goal of their own.  Aine Dwyer did the spade work as she soloed in from the right wing and found Molly O’Rourke, who punctuated her performance on the day by stealing her hat trick.
 
O’Rourke was denied her fourth goal by an excellent save by Nora Kilkenny in the Cavan nets a minute later. Cavan responded by firing over three scores in the next two minutes.  Clarke had a free from 14 yards while McKeon and King both had points from play. 
 
Na Fianna did have another goal chance with 12 minutes gone when Celina Mallon was set free by Molly O’Rourke, but again Kilkenny made a brilliant save. 
 
With the match level at 3-9 to 1-15 the stage was set for a brilliant finish.  It was Na Fianna who then dominated the game to pull off the win. 
 
It started with a Dwyer point which preceded their fourth goal.  On this occasion Mallon could not be denied after she finished a three player move by firing the ball to the net. 
 
Further points from Dwyer and Michelle Brennan extended the lead.  Cavan did have one last hurrah when they had a late goal when they introduced Kelly Donohue, but at this point it was all statistical as the victory was Na Fianna's.
 
Na Fianna: 1 Alison Leyden, 2 Imelda Clarke, 3 Katherina Lynch, 4 Sharon Spillane, 5 Jessie Garcia, 6 Joanna Monaghan, 7 Stephanie Tierney, 8 Mairead Brennan, 9 Fiona Dwyer, 10 Selina Mallon, 11 Aine Dwyer, 12 Brianna Tierney, 13 Kelly McCormack, 14 Molly O’Rourke, 15 Mary O’Rourke.
 
Cavan: 1 Nora Kilkenny, 2 Bridget Mulligan, 3 Ashley Callery, 4 Caroline O’Brien, 5 Mary Maguire, 6 Paula Lally, 7 Nicola O’Reilly, 8 Linda McKeon, 9 Amy Gomez, 10 Alisha Jordan, 11 Rosie O’Reilly-Broderick, 12 Caitlin Hynes, 13 Nicola King, 14 Emma Clarke, 15 Catriona Rafferty.
 
Player of the game:  Molly O’Rourke

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