CL MacHale Rovers (Mayo) 4-12
Edendork St Malachy’s (Tyrone)1-13
By Paddy Hunter
Mayo star Rachel Kearns hit 1-9 as she inspired MacHale Rovers to an eight-point win over Tyrone champions Edendork but the scoreline does not reflect what turned out to be a cracking contest.
A powerful comeback from St Malachy’s saw Maeve Maxwell score 1-9 as her side recovered from nine points down to close to within just two points. However two final quarter goals from Kearns and the impressive Sinead Walsh saw the Mayo champions home in the end and into an All-Ireland Junior Final with Cork’s Donoughmore.
Kearns pulled the strings in the first-half tagging on an impressive six points and leaving the home side with plenty of problems every time she got the ball in attack.
Edendork started well with an early point from Maxwell but as Kearns got motoring MacHale Rovers pulled clear with Shauna Maughan also adding a point before Sinead Walsh found the net after a superb crossfield pass from Rebecca Maughan on 15 minutes.
The Ulster champions had goal chances of their own, Laura Kelly and Maxwell both went close, although Maxwell did tag on four points and Louise McCaffrey also scored a point for her side, but it was clear the Mayo defence were on song.
The Mayo side had led by eight points going into the final minutes of the half, but after Maxwell drilled over two frees to close the gap to a manageable six points, Rebecca Maughan lashed a vital goal to the Edendork net to pull MacHale Rovers nine points clear at the break.
The Tyrone side needed something special to give themselves hope and it certainly came after the break when they hit 1-6 to ignite their challenge. Maxwell bagged a cracking goal to finish of a well worked move, and she added four points with Nicola Rafferty’s brace of points leaving it a two-point game as Kearns replied for MacHale Rovers.
The response from the Connacht side was swift and effective. Walsh picked up a lose ball from a defender and fired to the net, and moments later she teed up Kearns for a tidy goal to put the Mayo side in control again.
Kearns added a further point but it took two superb saves from Rovers keeper Niamh Larkin to stop a late comeback from the home side.
Scorers – CL MacHale Rovers: R Kearns 1-9 (5f), S Walsh 2-1 R Maughan 1-1 S Maughan 0-1. Edendork: M Maxwell 1-9 (6f), N Rafferty 0-2, C Dorman 0-1, L Mc Caffrey 0-1.
CL McHale Rovers: N Larkin; L Maughan, A Gaugh, C Kelly; C Walsh, A Deane, G Murray; M Larkin, E Keane; K Maughan, S Maughan, E Murray; S Walsh, R Kearns, R Maughan.
Edendork: A Grew; A Kerr, R Mallon, C McGeary; S McGeary, N Rafferty, S Devlin; K Rafferty, Louise McCaffrey; E Connolly, A Rafferty, E Corr; Laura McCaffrey, L Kelly, M Maxwell.
Subs: C Dorman for L Mc Caffrery (50), C Neilis for C Mc Geary (55).
Referee Kieran McKeever (Armagh).Tweet