All-Ireland Ladies JFC final: Late Murphy penalty rescues draw for Fermanagh
24 September 2017
Fermanagh's Sharon Murphy celebrates after scoring a penalty against Derry.
By Jackie Cahill at Croke Park
SHARON Murphy’s penalty goal in the dying seconds rescued a draw for Fermanagh in Sunday’s dramatic TG4 All-Ireland ladies junior football final at Croke Park.
Fermanagh and Derry will have to do it all over again on October 8 – with the Erne County coming from nine points down to earn a second crack.
Derry, huge pre-match underdogs, were 2-9 to 1-3 clear midway through the second half but Fermanagh, who had beaten their opponents well in League and championship already this year, somehow found a response.
A run of 1-4 without reply took them to within two points, before Derry’s joint-leading scorer Emma Doherty clipped over her fifth free of the game.
Megan Devine, Derry’s second half goalscorer, rattled the Fermanagh crossbar with a ferocious drive and that was a huge let-off for Emmet Curry’s charges.
And when Ciara Moore was adjudged to have fouled teenage star Eimear Smyth with just 48 seconds left on the watch, Murphy stepped forward to slot her penalty past Cheree Mackey.
It was an incredible end to a final that took some time to warm up, before exploding into life in the second half.
Almost ten minutes had elapsed before Erin Doherty opened the scoring for Derry and at the end of the first half, the Oak Leafers led by 1-4 to 1-3.
Derry had the better goal chances – Devine kept out more than once by Róisín Gleeson but it was Fermanagh who raised the game’s first green flag, midway through.
Derry's Annie Crozier with Naomi McManus of Fermanagh. ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy.
Róisín O’Reilly drilled it home after the ball moved through the hands of Lisa Maguire, Nuala McManus and Aisling Woods.
That score levelled the tie at 1-1 to 0-4 but Derry’s response was impressive, as Gleeson was finally beaten in the 25th minute by Ciara McGurk.
HawkEye came into play on All-Ireland final day for the first time as a Fermanagh effort was ruled wide but Smyth had the final say of the half with a point.
Derry took over on the resumption, collecting 1-5 without reply to gain a firm stranglehold on proceedings.
Smyth had seen her 32nd minute goal chance clawed onto the bar by Mackey but Devine made no mistake in the 44th minute, profiting from Jackie Donnelly’s incisive run to drill a low drive past Gleeson.
That goal had Derry nine points ahead but then the Fermanagh fightback began.
A goal from Woods in the 49th minute had a big part to play in it but Fermanagh still had to work desperately hard down the stretch to secure a replay for themselves.
Murphy’s penalty goal ensured it – and there was still time for referee Angela Gallagher to wave away late appeals for a Fermanagh free.
Derry – C Mackey; A McGough, D Donnelly, C Glass; N Browne, K Holly, D Kivlehan (0-1); A Laverty, Emma Doherty (0-5f); J Donnelly, C Moore, Erin Doherty (0-1); A Crozier (0-1), M Devine (1-2), C McGurk (1-0).
Sub – R Roberts for Browne (58).
Fermanagh – R Gleeson; E Campbell, C Murphy, Naomi McManus; M Connolly, S Hamilton, A Maguire; M McDonald, Á McGovern; R O’Reilly (1-1), A Woods (1-0), L Maguire; E Smyth (0-2, 1f), S Murphy (1-3, 1-0 pen, 0-1f), Nuala McManus.
Subs – D McManus for Campbell (33), B Bogue (0-1) for McGovern (40), S Britton for Nuala McManus (58).
Referee – A Gallagher (Dublin).