Second-half goals steer Offaly to All-Ireland U14 Silver crown

June 08, 2024

Action during the LGFA All-Ireland U14 Championship Silver Final match between Offaly and Donegal at Carrigallen GFC in Calloughs, Leitrim. Photo by Tom Beary/Sportsfile

Offaly 4-5 
Donegal 2-6 

by Conor Breslin 

Offaly nailed home three second-half goals to clinch the All-Ireland U-14 Silver final in beautiful sunny conditions in Carrigallen.  

Only a point separated the teams at the break, but Offaly hit a purple patch in the final ten minutes of the game to cruise to a deserving five-point victory.  

Offaly controlled the opening minutes of the game with captain Sophie Farrelly hitting over the first score after she was fed through by Sarah Smullen and Anna Ryan. She doubled this a minute later after knocking over a free with Donegal really struggling to get the ball out of their own half.  

Donegal got a goal in the ninth minute when Iona McHugh found an unmarked Ella Brennan through on goal. The Donegal midfielder made no mistake as she slotted it low into the back of the Offaly net to make it 1-1 to 0-2.  

Donegal’s strong running game was beginning to dominate proceedings, but they could only hit over one point in that period of time with Ruby McGee getting on the scoreboard. But then Offaly found the net when a long-ranged free from Farrelly dropped short and fell into the back of the Donegal net on 18 minutes to leave it tied at 1-2 apiece.  

A foul on Sinead Delaney resulted in an Offaly penalty but Farrelly was off target as they went in leading by 1-3 to 1-2 at the break. 

Offaly extended their lead five minutes into the second half when a free from Farrelly caught Donegal sleeping with the ball dropping short into Anna Ryan’s hands as she kicked into the net with ease.  

But Donegal didn’t die away and responded with a goal of their own when a running Ella Brennan drew in the Offaly defenders and goalkeeper, leaving it for Kaya Gavigan to kick into an open net to make it 2-3 to 2-2 and they pushed on from there with three points in a row. 

But then Offaly hit a purple patch and were awarded their second penalty of the afternoon Farrelly this time slotted home, despite goalkeeper Aoife Meehan getting her hands to it, to make it 3-4 to 2-5 with five minutes remaining.  

McGee reduced the margin to a point with a minute remaining, and with a chance to level the match and bring to extra time, Donegal had a free that dropped short, but Offaly’s defenders were on hand to avert all danger.   

The Faithful County wrapped up the win as Anna Kellaghan struck for Offaly’s fourth goal followed by another Farrelly point as they ran out winners by five points. 

Scorers – Offaly: S Farrelly 2-4, (1-0 pen, 0-1f), A Kellaghan 1-1, A Ryan 1-0. 

Donegal: E Brennan and K Gavigan 1-0 each; R McGee 0-3; K McMeniman, D Molly and A Gill 0-1 each.  

OFFALY: C Dunne; J Utangec, S Fox, K Carey; C Rigney, A Smullen, D Heavin; S Smullen, S Kellaghan; S Delaney, S Farrelly, A Kellaghan; A Ryan, A Mulhare, J McKeon. Subs used: G Dunican, D Sikore, G Scully,  L Hartley.

DONEGAL: A Meehan; Z Carr, A Reid, M Friel; I McHugh, A Gallagher, N McGlinchy; E Brennan, E Molloy; D Molloy, R Wallace, K Gavigan; M Barr, M Gallagher, R McGee. Subs used: A Gill, K McMeniman, A McAteer.  

Referee: David Grogan (Tipperary)

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