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Martina Freyne fires Roscommon to victory

Updated: Saturday, 03 May 2014 15:19 | Comments

The Roscommon team celebrate winning The win secured promotion for Roscommon
The Roscommon team celebrate winning The win secured promotion for Roscommon

Roscommon romped to a 3-11 to 1-09 victory over Antrim in Saturday’s Tesco Homegrown Ladies National Football League Division 4 final in Tullamore.

An eight-point win for Kieran Kilkenny’s side secured not only the coveted silverware, but also promotion to Division 3 for the 2015 campaign.

Roscommon’s first League title since their 2009 Division 3 success owed much to full-forward Martina Freyne’s goal less than 20 seconds after half-time.

Freyne’s strike knocked the stuffing out of Antrim, who had come from eight points down in the first half to trail by just four at half-time, 1-5 to 2-6.

But any hopes of a successful fightback at O’Connor Park were extinguished by Freyne, and Roscommon could also afford the luxury of 13 wides over the course of the hour.

Antrim suffered an additional blow in the second half when corner-back Jenny McCavana was sin-binned and at the other end, the Saffrons struggled for a regular supply of scores.

Kirsty McGuinness and Claire Timoney showed flashes of true class but Roscommon, who won the earlier League meeting between the sides by ten points, had more craft overall.

Laura Fleming, Siobhán Tully and substitute Caoileann Beirne were very much to the fore as the Connacht outfit comfortably kept Antrim at arm’s length throughout the second half.

A spirited Antrim fightback had brought them back into contention approaching the break, with Mairéad Cooper banging home a superb solo goal deep in stoppage time.

Referee Colm McManus added an extra three minutes at the end of the first half after Roscommon forward Natalie McHugh was stretchered off, with the effective Beirne coming on in her place.

Antrim’s goal was no more than they deserved as the Ulster outfit had looked threatening on a number of occasions, most notably when Kirsty McGuinness danced around Roscommon goalkeeper Carol Manning but full-back Sarah Brady got back to somehow keep the ball out on the line.

Before that, Roscommon looked to be in cruise control as goals from Jenny Higgins and Tully helped to establish a comfortable lead.

Martina Freyne went close in the fifth minute, with Antrim goalkeeper Eleanor Mallon pulling off a fine save, but Mallon was beaten by a speculative Higgins punt in the 18th minute.

Higgins was attempting a point but the ball drifted into the net as a backpedalling Mallon tried in vain to keep it out.

There was no doubting the quality of Tully’s goal in the 25th minute, however, as the Kilbride player took a quick free before powering a rising drive into the top corner of Mallon’s net.

That strike handed Roscommon a 2-5 to 0-3 lead but Antrim replied with 1-2 before half-time to remain in the hunt.

Antrim: E Mallon; N Cooper, E Kelly, J McCavana; N Kelly, C Carey, S McLaughlin; S Graham, A Tubridy; K McGuinness 0-4 (1f), C Timoney 0-3 (1f), R Fulton; H Doherty (0-1), M Cooper 1-0, M McGourty (0-1).

Substitutes: B Scullion for Tubridy (36), A McAtamney for Fulton (39), C Scannell for N Cooper (49), C Moane for Doherty (60).

Roscommon: C Manning; F Beirne, S Brady, G Dufficey; J Cregg, A McLoone (0-1), R Finlass; C Regan (0-1), S Kenny; E Callaghan (0-1), J Higgins (0-1), L Fleming (0-3); S Tully (0-1), M Freyne 1-3 (0-3f), N McHugh.

Substitutes: C Beirne (0-2) for McHugh (inj, 25), J Downey for Freyne (52), C Raftery for Higgins (57), N O’Beirne for Cregg (57).

Referee: C McManus (Meath).

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