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Ladies IFC semi-final: Tipperary 2-09 Fermanagh 2-08

Updated: Saturday, 07 Sep 2013 16:23 | Comments

Claire Carroll scored a vital goal for Tipperary
Claire Carroll scored a vital goal for Tipperary

Niamh Longeran scored a sensational winning point with the last kick of the game as Tipperary staged a miraculous comeback to stun Fermanagh in the TG4 All-Ireland ladies intermediate football Championship semi-final at Semple Stadium.

Tipp, despite registering 13 wides in total, managed to score 1-02 in the final minute to set up a final meeting with Cavan at Croke Park on 29 September.

Tipp, who won this competition in 2008, looked dead and buried approaching the finish as Fermanagh led by four points, 2-08 to 1-07.

But after Moyle Rovers star Lonergan reduced the deficit to three points, Premier County centre-back Claire Carroll took advantage of Róisín Gleeson’s loose kickout to lob the stranded goalkeeper for the equalising goal.

There was 22 seconds left on the clock when Carroll, who had been pressed forward into attack, struck that priceless leveller.

And yet there was still time for another, decisive twist.

Another Gleeson kickout was picked off by Tipperary and as the final seconds ticked down, Lonergan shot from 25 metres out.

The full-time hooter went with Lonergan’s effort in flight and the ball dropped over the crossbar to hand Tipp the most unlikely of victories against the Ulster champions.

Remarkably, Lonergan’s winning point gave Tipp the lead for the one and only time in the game.

Fermanagh had controlled matters from the off, with player of the match Caroline Little dictating the play in attack as the visitors surged into a 0-04 to 0-00 lead.

But Tipp settled and points from Mairead Morrissey, Edel Hanley and Lonergan reduced the deficit to just a point.

Fermanagh lost Marita McDonald to the sin-bin four minutes before half-time but within a minute, Aisling Moane netted for the Ernesiders.

Little tagged on a free and Fermanagh led at half-time by five points, 1-05 to 0-03.

Gleeson denied Morrissey with a fine save early in the second half and the goalkeeper tipped Shelagh Carew’s fierce drive over the crossbar as Tipp looked to fight their way back into contention.

Midway through the second half, a wonderful solo goal from Caroline Little put Fermanagh eight points clear, 2-07 to 0-05, and Tipp were in big trouble on home soil in Thurles.

But Morrissey rammed home a 48th-minute goal, with the aid of a slight deflection, and the scene was set for a grandstand finish.

Fermanagh had full-back Kyla McManus sin-binned with six minutes remaining before Tipp’s Gillian O’Brien followed seconds later, after hauling down Caroline Little.

Sharon Little pushed Fermanagh into that four-point lead but Tipperary had that remarkable finale left in them.

Scorers for Fermanagh: C Little 1-5 (0-4f), A Moane 1-1, S Hamilton & S Little 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: M Morrissey 1-1, E Hanley 0-4 (3f), C Carroll 1-0 N Lonergan 0-3, S Carew 0-1.

Fermanagh: R Gleeson; C Woods, K McManus, O Reihill; S Hamilton, T Little, M McDonald; M Connolly, A Moane; A McBrien, C Little, S McQuade; S Little, N Connolly, L McFrederick.

Sub: M McDonald for McFrederick (45).

Tipperary: P Hickey; B Condon, S Lambert, R Kenneally; A O’Dwyer, C Carroll, B Ryan; J Grant, S Carew; A McCarthy, M Morrissey, L O’Shea; N Lonergan, G O’Brien, E Hanley.

Subs: S Ryan for McCarthy (22), S Delahunty for O’Dwyer (44), K Hackett for Hanley (53).

Referee: M.J. O’Keeffe (Cork).

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