Gaelic Park in the Bronx, NYGoogle Images

The New York Ladies football side advanced to the All-Ireland semifinals with a convincing win over Carlow on Saturday.

With four of the six starting forwards on the score sheet and Alison Leydon saving a Carlow penalty with minutes left on the clock, it was a brilliant win for the traveling Big Apple side. They now play Wexford in the semifinal on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Birr, Co. Offaly, with a place in the final against Wicklow for the winners.

New York were forced to change its starting 15 as Joanne Monaghan was ruled out due to injury before the ball was thrown in, with Katrina Lynch drafted back into defense and Courtney Traynor brought into the half forward line.

When Carlow opened up the scoring with 0-1 after three minutes it looked precarious as New York were playing into a stiff breeze. The initial 10 minutes were scrappy, with both teams evenly matched, but the New York midfield began to take command of the game.



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Emma Clarke almost scored a goal driving the ball into the side netting in the early going before sheregistered New York’s first score with a goal after 10 minutes.

New York followed up with a point from Mary O’Rourke, and then Molly O’Rourke converted a free.  Méabh De Burca was next to register a score as New York enjoyed dominance for the last 15 minutes of first half.  

Molly O’Rourke converted another free for a point and Aine O’Dwyer added another goal with time ticking down in the first half. The last score of the half fell to Carlow to leave the score 2-4 to 0-2 at the short whistle.

Carlow opened the scoring in the second half with a point, but this was cancelled out with a Molly O’Rourke point. Carlow continued to apply the pressure and missed two goal opportunities in the early going of the final thirty minutes.

De Burca added another New York point to increase the advantage to 2-5 to 0-3, with Carlow canceling it out with a point of their own within minutes.

With 15 minutes gone Molly O’Rourke added to her tally with a goal. New York added two more points from Molly and Mary O’Rourke to extend the advantage to 3-7 to 0-4, but they were reduced to 14 players when corner back Imelda Mullarkey was sin-binned with less than eight minutes on the clock.

New York closed rank in the back line and made everything difficult for Carlow, who were awarded a penalty with less than five minutes to go but the kick was saved by Leydon.

The final two scores fell to Carlow but they needed goals not points and they never were allowed to get that close.

Tracey Ann McCullough, Aine O’Dwyer and Molly O’Rourke all shone for New York in the historic victory. The early goal from Emma Clarke was a settling factor while the midfield dominance changed the flow of the game.

Wexford will bring a much stiffer challenge, Two years ago they were demoted from intermediate status after losing to Leitrim in the 2007 All-Ireland intermediate final.

Wexford were beaten by near neighbors Wicklow in the Leinster junior championship by a point, and when the two teams met again in the group stages Wexford ran out winners by a point on a score line of 6-11 to 5-13.

Wicklow have already claimed their spot in the All-Ireland final as they beat Louth in the second semifinal.

New York scorers: Molly O’Rourke 1-4, Mary O’Rourke 0-2, Méabh De Búrca 0-2, Emma Clarke 1-0, Aine O’Dwyer 1-0.

New York lineout: 1 Alison Leyden (Na Fianna), 2 Louise Lilly (Kerry/Donegal), 3 Tracey Ann McCullough (Fermanagh), 4 Imelda Mullarkey (Na Fianna), 5 Jessie Garcia (Na Fianna), 6 Cathriona Brady (Kerry/Donegal), 7 Katrina Lynch (Na Fianna), 8 Aine O’Dwyer (Na Fianna), 9 Linda McKeon (Cavan), 10 Courtney Traynor (Rockland), 11 Kelly Roche (Kerry/Donegal), 12 Méabh De Búrca (Fermanagh) 13 Mary O’Rourke (Na Fianna), 14 Molly O’Rourke capt. (Na Fianna), 15 Emma Clarke (Cavan). Subs: Nora Kilkenny (Cavan), Michelle Brennan (Na Fianna), Aoife Gibson (Kerry/Donegal), Niamh Britton (Kerry/Donegal), Karen Henry (Na Fianna), Claire McElroy (Fermanagh), Fiona O’Dwyer (Na Fianna), Rosie O’Reilly (Cavan), Joanne Monaghan (Na Fianna) Aislinn Gormally (Fermanagh), Michelle McVann (Kerry/Donegal), Ashley Callery (Cavan), Caroline McBrien (Cavan).