Glenfin Ladies ended years of disappointment and heartache when they finally overcame county final day blues to capture their first Donegal senior championship crown.
Four Masters 1-7
In Sunday’s final in Sean MacCumhaill Park, they overcame Four Masters in comfortable fashion and had eight points to spare at the finish. Thanks to a goal and four points from midfielder Karen Guthrie and six points from All-Star forward Yvonne McMonagle, they proved too hot to handle for the Donegal Town girls who were contesting their first final in four seasons.
The winners’ had power and balance throughout the field and with Guthrie and Grainne Houston in midfield, Mari Herron and Katy Herron in defence and Maggie Farrelly in attack all turning in five star performances they simply were too strong and too polished for the Masters.
The new champions led by two points, 1-5 to 1-3, at half time, after a nervous opening in which the conceded a goal and point from Kelly Lacey in the opening five minutes.
But a Cathy McKenna goal seconds after Lacey had hit the net, settled early Glenfin nerves. And while Patrice Rooney, Emer Carr and Rachael Crawford did continue to stretch the Glenfin rearguard and Leanne Shovlin temporarly restored the Masters advantage, the winners were in front at the break.
Guthrie with three, McMonagle (2) and Anna Bradley were the Glenfin point scorers while Kelly Lacey with two and Leanne Shovlin scored the Four Masters points.
Any doubts Glenfin followers may have had at half-time were well and truly allayed within two minutes of the second period when Guthrie in a trademark power run deceived Michelle Sweeney from 20 metres with a dipping shot that dropped into the Masters net.
Now leading by five, 2-5 to 1-3, Glenfin pushed for home and had stretched their lead out to eight points by the 41st minute courtesy of Guthrie, McMonagle and Mari Herron.
Masters did mount a mini revival with three pointed Kelly Lacey frees in the space of three minutes in the middle of the second period.
But normal service was restored and with manager Frank McGlynn giving his full compliment of subs a run, McGonagle and Guthrie added three more points before Kelly Lacey brought an end to the scoring with yet another pointed free six minutes from the end.
Glenfin: Sharon McGlynn; Sinead Campbell, Katy Herron, Christine Frize; Brenda McGinty, Mari Herron (0-1), Ciara Ward; Grainne Houston, Karen Guthrie (1-4); Bridin Bonnar, Maggie Farrelly, Laura McKenna; Cathy McKenna (1-0), Yvonne McMonagle (0-6,2f), Anna Bradley (0-1). Subs: Anna Marie McGlynn for C. Frize (h/t); Mairead McMahon for B. Bonnar (54); Sarah Herron for C. McKenna (54); Diane McGlynn for S. Campbell (57); Karen Ward for A. Bradley (58).
Four Masters: Michelle Sweeney; Rosa Devanney, Kate Keaney, Donna Boyle; Kitty O’Kennedy, Yvonne Bushell, Claire Brady; Kelly Lacey (1-5,5f), Nicola Lacey; Patrice Rooney, Emer Carr, Michelle Heeney; Elaine McIntyre, Leanne Shovlin, Rachael Crawford. Subs: Caoimhe Cox for L. Shovlin (41); Vanessa Quinn for K. Lacey (60).
Referee: Kieran McShea (Sean MacCumhaills).
Player of the match
Karen Guthrie kicked 1-4 – all from play – in a true player of the match display at midfield for Glenfin. The county ace took on the Four Masters challenge early on and along with Mari Herron at centre back took the fight to the Donegal Town girls.
Guthrie receives the vote ahead of Mari Herron and Yvonne McMonagle who after a quiet first half really blossomed in the second. Kelly Lacey with a return of 1-5, with five of her points from frees, was the outstanding Four Masters player.
While they were leading 1-5 to 1-3 at half-time and had survived an early scare, Karen Guthrie’s goal within two minutes of the restart finally set Glenfin on the road to victory.
Sean MacCumhaill’s Kieran McShea, by and large, had a good game if at times he seemed a little slow with the whistle.
Glenfin captain Anna Marie McGlynn – sister of team manager and county star Frank McGlynn – saw her first action of the championship campaign when introduced for the second half of Sunday’s final.
“It is a brilliant feeling to have finally have won the championship. It’s the one we badly wanted for the last few years and now we have won it is hard to take in,” said Anna Marie.
“We were a bit nervous at the start and let them in for an early goal and I was worried for a time especially after the last few finals.
“But we came good after Cathy (McKenna) scored the goal. It really settled us and we were leading at half-time. It was really hard watching it from the sideline but I got in for the second half and it went well for us.”
Glenfin captain Anna Marie McGlynn