The shock of the day was held until the last game of the Ladies League finals when Confey registered 4-11 against a well fancied Balyna side to be crowned 2012 Division 1 champions, writes Tara Byrne.
The game started at a frantic pace with Balyna winning a free inside the first minute, which was pulled wide by free-taker Miriam Murphy. Seconds later they were left to rue this opportunity as Confey poured forward in number, the ball finally finding its way to full-forward Deirdre Gately who spotted sister Aine Gately coming through the centre at full steam, offloading to her to strike high and above the keepers reach.
Two more frees from the boot of Murphy found their way wide, just as Balyna desperately needed a score.
Balyna finally got onto the scoreboard on the fourth time of asking when Murphy again stepped up to take yet another free, this time sailing over the bar leaving 2 between the sides. This opener was cancelled out 2 minutes later by a Jill Behan free, to restore their goal advantage.
Confey were in no mood for a close fought challenge and snuffed out any advances by Balyna with wave after wave of their own attack. Coming forward again in the 9th minute with Paula Doran leaping highest to reach the kick-out breaking it to Aine Gately, who menacingly went for goal, a last minute pop to Behan produced the games second goal. Exhibition football began to take its place at the table as full-forward Gately cooly stroked to ball over the bar, standing just 10 meters off the side-line.
Balyna’s best chance came in the 14th minute when a free in the Confey full-back line was played short, retrieved by Balyna’s Ellen Morgan, she was fouled on route to goals. The resulting free going the way of Murphy’s first 3.
Although in major arrears at this early stage Balyna were in no mood to give in just yet. Carol Bergin rushed towards goals beating four defenders along the way only to see her shot blocked by the hands off Cathy Hally and Aoife McGuinness. The resulting free was slotted away by Murphy. It would be another 10 minutes before Balyna would trouble the Confey defence again. When they did it came by way of a free which was expertly pointed by new free-taker Siobhan Hurley.
A goal was urgently needed by Balyna to keep their spirits alive. In the 28th minute this opportunity appeared as Rachel Cribbin was taken out in the large rectangle. Penalty.
Captain Aisling Holton stepped up to take the kick. With the ball going straight down the centre and into the keepers hand, their challenge died.
The teams traded scored up until half time where Confey led 2-4 to 0-4.
Confey began the second half as they finished the first, in rampant form. Siofra Daly was unlucky not to goal, only her handling letting her down at the vital moment. Three frees from the boot of the outstanding Aine Gately kept Confey ticking over in what proved to be a quiet opening 20 minutes.
With Daly winning the Balyna kick-out, she found Behan rushing into the large rectangle, she was quickest to get the ball beating Hally to shoot low and score her second goal of the game. Another two more Gately frees kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely.
3-9 to 0-4 down Balyna aimed to rally, starting with Holton again shooting straight at the keeper, only this time she was unable to retain possession. The ball spilled to Murphy, she calmly took the goal.
This stoked the Confey fire as they wanted to deliver a message to the watching crowds before championship kicks off. Late unanswered points from Divilly and Gately and a goal from sister Deirdre wrapped up a comprehensive victory for Confey. Leaving Balyna a lot to ponder with championship weeks away.
Aoife McGuiness; Niamh Scally, Cliodhna McNamara, Cathy Hally; Ciara Hogan, Orla O’Shea, Emma Coffey; Aine Gately 1-8 (8f), Niamh Quinn; Rachel Divilly 0-1, Emma McCartney, Paula Doran; Jill Behan 2-1 (1f), Deirdre Gately 1-1, Siofra Daly. Subs: Orla Hogan for Doran; Aisling Sargent for McCartney; Suniva Smith for Daly.
Ruth Bergin; Shona Farrell, Jenna Murphy, Leanne Farrell; Ciara O’Donoghue, Jane O’Donoghue, Effithia Byrne; Aisling Holton, Carol Bergin; Ellen Morgan, Siobhan Hurley 0-1 (1f), Miriam Murphy 1-3 (2f); Rachel Cribbin, Careen Farrell, Shauna O’Donoghue. Subs: Aoine O’Donoghue for Bergin; Rachel Ward for Shona Farrell; Erica Burke for Byrne; Rachel Cormican for Ciara O’Donoghue; Alison Kenny for Shauna O’Donoghue.