By Martin McBrien
Kinawley had to fend off a late Derrygonnelly rally as they secured a magnificent five minor titles in a row last Wednesday evening.
The Harps girls dramatically cut a 1-3 to 3-9 deficit back to four points but were unable to come any closer as the Boru’s ran out winners.
The champions’ greater experience and game management expertise saw them safely through for an amazing nine league and championship titles in five years.
It was an absorbing contest and Kinawley got off to a flying start, Orla Leonard’s looping second minute effort landing in the top corner of the Harps net.
Even though Caitlin Magee shot a Derrygonnelly point straight from the kickout, the champions hit five points in a row to take command.
Elisha McDermott’s overhead score being followed by four points from Keelan Murphy, the game’s top scorer hitting one from play and three frees.
Not even a 20th minute Derrygonnelly goal from Bronagh Smyth who netted at the second attempt, after a Clodagh Reilly goalkeeping block, could halt the winners’ surge.
Points apiece by Aoife Murphy and Rion McKenna paved the way for a superb Keelan Murphy goal, after slick link play by McDermott and Orla Murphy to leave it 2-7 to 1-1.
Derrygonnelly then sustained a further blow, just before half time with the injury loss of key figure, Emily Cassidy, although she was able to return in the 40th minute.
By that stage, Kinawley had pushed further ahead into a twelve points lead, 3-9 to 1-3.
Their third goal having come from a Keelan Murphy penalty after her sister and team captain, Kate, had been fouled.
Undaunted, Derrygonnelly came storming back, rattling over four points, two Smyth frees and singles from Magee and Shauna Elliott.
Ciara Leonard, Imogen Knight and Elliot among those driving forward with purpose.
The Harps revival then gained great impetus when Cassidy got on the end of a Elliott pass to blast home in the 53rd minute and leave it 3-9 to 2-7.
With fading light adding to the drama, an Orla Murphy point helped steady Kinawley but an excellent 58th minute score, hooked over by Cassidy, kept Harps hopes alive.
They were then hit by the injury withdrawal of Smyth, a great Keelan Murphy block denying what would have been a crucial third goal.
In added time Derrygonnelly could just muster one more Cassidy point as Kinawley saw it out for the magical five in a row.
Kinawley; Clodagh Reilly; Clodagh Eccles, Ann Marie McDermott, Aoife Maguire; Aoife Murphy (0-1), Kieva Gilleece, Sadie Keenan; Kate Murphy, Chloe McManus; Eimear Doonan, Rion McKenna, Orla Leonard (1-0); Elisha McDermott (0-1), Keelan Murphy (2-6, pen, 3f), Orla Murphy (0-1). Subs; Jenna Hussey for S. Keenan 50m; Aine Gillece for O. Murphy 59m.
Derrygonnelly; Aife Campbell; Bronagh Smyth (1-3f), Muireann Duffy, Aoibheann King; Imogen Knight, Caitlin Magee (0-2), Shauna Elliott (1-2); Eilish Campbell, Dearbhla Jones; Grainne Duffy, Darci Whitely, Ciara Leonard; Emily Cassidy (0-2), Tara McAloon, Niamh Smyth. Subs; Aoibh Love for E. Cassidy (inj.) 30m; E. Cassidy for A. King 40m; Aoife Rasdale for B. Smyth (inj.) 59m.
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