Peerless Parnells make it four Senior titles in a row

Stabannon Parnells made it four Senior Championship titles in succession when they defeated a battling Roche Emmets by eight points at in an exciting final at Haggardstown on Sunday last.

Stabannon Parnells made it four Senior Championship titles in succession when they defeated a battling Roche Emmets by eight points at in an exciting final at Haggardstown on Sunday last.

Four first half goals proved decisive as the Parnells made a blistering start that left their opponents shell-shocked.

Played in front of a fine attendence, the champions were in a comfortable 4-5 to 0-5 lead at the break but Roche showed great courage to hit back in the second half and reduced the gap to five points after the third quarter, but ultimately they left themselves too much to do.

Two penalties

The game then turned on two penalties in the space of a minute as Jenny McGuinness fired home a fifth goal for Stabannon, only for Tracey Rogers to have her effort saved.

After that Stabannon showed the mark of the true champions they are as they retained their composure and held out despite the best efforts of their gallant opponents.

The Faughart girls went into the game as underdogs and hoping to get off to a good start. However, it was Stabannon who laid down a marker on three minutes when Danielle Sharkey got behind the Roche defence and shot past the advancing keeper for the opening goal.

The same player added a point soon after but Roche looked to have settled into the game when Tracey Rogers pointed either side of a Tara Lynch point to leave their side trailing by 1-2 to 0-2 after 12 minutes.

However, just three minutes later Grace Rogers and Grace Lynch combined to pick out the unmarked Ciara Connolly who fired home a second goal.

Amy Gribben and Tara Lynch traded points before Megan Fitzpatrick pointed for a Roche side who were battling hard to keep in contention. Stabannon sensed the game was there for the taking and added a third goal from Grace Rogers on 21 minutes after being set up by Jenny McGuinness.

Stabannon added a point from Aine McGee to make it 3-4 to 0-4 and further misfortune followed for Roche when a long wind assisted effort from Bronagh McGrane dropped under the crossbar to extend the lead to 12 points.

In the closing stages of the half Danielle Sharkey and Roseanna Heeney swapped points as the Mid Louth girls went in leading by 4-5 to 0-5.

It looked to be an uphill task for Roche in the second period but they proved that they were not going to lie down as the impressive Tracey Rogers scored the first two points of the half from frees.

They were then given a huge lift in the 39th minute when Amy Gribben drilled a superb low shot to the net from 25 yards from a quickly taken Roseanna Heaney free, and when Rogers showed her class by adding two more wonderful points from frees the gap was down to five points (4-5 to 1-9).

Game on

It was very much game-on at that stage and Rogers was most unlucky to see a good effort go just past the post on 45 minutes.

The game then turned when a rare Stabannon break saw sub Deirdre Lynch pick out Tara Lynch who was pulled down as she raced towards goal and referee Gerry Malone awarded a penalty.

Jenny McGuinness made no mistake with a confident penalty that steadied the ship for her side as they went 5-5 to 1-9 in front.

Within seconds, Roche had a chance to get back into the game again when Roseanna Heeney was bundled over but this time Tracey Rogers was unable to find the net as she was denied by a good save from Giggins.

Those two incidents gave Stabannon great confidence and in the closing ten minutes there was no real question over the outcome although Siobhan Giggins had to be alert to pull off two brilliant saves from Nicola Mills and Shauna Finn.

Tara Lynch added another point, which was cancelled out by Nicola Mills, before Kim Lynch and Jenny McCourt traded scores in the closing stages.

Grace Lynch was named as Player of the Match as she turned in a brilliant display, with goalkeeper Siobhan Giggins not far behind. There were also good displays from Anne Marie Lynch, Orla Byrne,Tara Lynch and Danielle Sharkey.

Roche saw an impressive display from Tracey Rogers, while Lauren Meehan, Arlene Marmion, Nicola Mills and Niamh Callan were also prominent.

After the game, Stabannon captain, Aine McGee, accepted the championship trophy from County Chairman, Mr Pat Carr on behalf of the team.

Full Time: Stabannon 5-7, Roche 1-11.