A display of pure brilliance by Geraldine McLaughlin saw Termon lift the All-Ireland senior club title in style in Tuam Stadium yesterday.
McLaughlin was just majestic, hitting 3-8 of the Termon total, 3-4 of that from play and she was involved in the other four points.
It was a performance that even topped her semi-final display two weeks previously just 15 miles out the road in Clonberne.
But it was not a one girl show. The Termon girls, up against it at half-time, produced a second half that will rank as one of the great halves of football, turning a five point deficit early in the half, into a five point victory at the final hooter.
There were many magnificent performances with Roisin McCafferty a leader while Maria Carr made some wonderful turnovers in the final minutes when the Cork girls tried to turn it around.
Good opening by Cork
The Cork girls were on the board inside the first minute with full-forward Laura Fitzgerald converting a free. By the fourth minute, they were three clear with Brid O’Sullivan firing just over and Roberta Harrington also finding the range.
The Termon followers got something to shout about on six minutes when after a short free, Geraldine McLaughlin set up Sharon McLaughlin to point. Two minutes later Geraldine McLaughlin was hauled down and Maureen O’Donnell pointed the free.
At the other end the Termon goal had a lucky escape when Doireann O’Sullivan fooled the Termon defence with a neat dummy and created a goal chance for Laura Fitzgerald, but her effort was somehow turned around the post by Laura Gallagher. From the ‘45’ Ciara O’Sullivan landed the fourth point for Mourneabbey.
Termon were back in the contest on 12 minutes when Roisin McCafferty found Geraldine McLaughlin and she did the rest, firing to the net to put Termon in front, 1-2 to 0-4.
But the Mourneabbey response was immediate with points from Laura Fitzgerald (after her free came back off the upright), Ciara O’Sullivan and a magnificent effort from Fitzgerald after great work by Brid O’Sullivan, who was causing most problems for the Termon defence.
Maureen O’Donnell missed a free before Geraldine McLaughlin won and pointed a free from fully 40m on 21 minutes.
In the final minutes of the half the Cork girls got very much on top and Fitzgerald added three points without reply to leave the score at half-time: Termon 1-3, Mourneabbey 0-10.
Just before the break Grainne McDaid was sinbinned and she had to sit out four minutes of the second half. By the time she came in Ciara O’Sullivan had opened the gap to five points.
But that was to be their last score until the 46th minute. Termon came alive in the meantime, or should I say Geraldine McLaughlin. She won a free and pointed it and then after a good run by Shannon McGroddy, she fired just over the crossbar. On the 40th minute, she was again fouled as Rebecca Larkin was sin binned for Mournabbey and again she pointed the free.
A minute later she had Termon in the lead after being found by Maureen O’Donnell. She beat three defenders before sliding home for a 2-7 to 0-11 scoreline.
There was just no holding her as she fired over after the kick out was turned over and then set up Roisin Friel for a goal chance, but the ball was half-saved and dropped just over the crossbar.
Laura Fitzgerald gave Mourneabbey hope with a free but McLaughlin hit back with another point.
Shannon McGroddy hit an upright as Termon lost Emer Gallagher to the sin bin with ten minutes left. And when Katie Healy slid home a goal, the margin was down to a point, 2-10 to 1-12 with just over nine left.
But again McLaughlin stepped up, winning and pointing a free. Six minutes from time Ciara O’Sullivan again reduced the margin to the minimum and Mourneabbey were almost in for the equaliser but a great tackle by Maria Carr on Doireann O’Sullivan was the big turning point. The ball was worked up field and McLaughlin won the ball with six around her and fired to the net.
Seconds later she was again through but was pulled back but got no free, but three minutes from time she had the final point after good work by Sharon McLaughlin. The Cork girls had Cathy Ann Stack sin binned in the final minutes
Mourneabbey tried everything but Termon and Maria Carr stood tall and at the end it was fitting that McLaughlin was able to come out and win the ball and waste up the final seconds of a memorable match by holding possession right in front of the huge Termon support.
For those neutrals present, the display of McLaughlin will go down as one of the greatest individual displays ever on a football field. The Sligo IT student looked drained at the end, but she gave the leadership that means that Termon are All-Ireland champions.
Termon: Laura Gallagher; Emer Gallagher, Olive McCafferty, Maria Carr; Therese McCafferty, Nicole McLaughlin, Petra McCafferty; Grainne McDaid, Shannon McGroddy; Sharon McLaughlin (0-1), Roisin McCafferty, Lauren McElwaine; Maureen O’Donnell (0-2,2f), Geraldine McLaughlin (3-8,4f), Roisin Friel (0-1). Subs: Niamh Friel for McElwaine (24), Dara Kelly for P.McCafferty (52); Lauren McElwaine for Carr (60).
Mourneabbey: Méabh O’Sullivan; Sandra Conroy, Cathy Ann Stack, Aisling O’Sullivan; Rebecca Larkin, Róisín O’Sullivan, Eimear Meaney; Máire O’Callaghan, Niamh O’Sullivan; Ciara O’Sullivan (0-4), Bríd O’Sullivan (0-1), Roberta Harrington (0-1); Kathryn Coakley, Laura Fitzgerald (0-7, 4f), Doireann O’Sullivan. Subs: Katie Healy (1-0) for Coakley (38), Miriam O’Callaghan for Harrington (53), Sile O’Callaghan for N.O’Sullivan (55).
Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo).