Clonmel Celtic Claim League Title In Seven-Goal Thriller
Clonmel Celtic have been crowned Tipperary Division One Champions for the first time in the club’s history after a pulsating battle with rivals Tipperary Town.
Having raced into a three-goal lead inside 20 minutes, Celtic had to dig deep to find a late winner after Tipp Town had reeled in the Clonmel side to draw level with 15 minutes remaining.
But not for the first time this season, Roisin McGrath had the final say, curling a brilliant free kick into the top corner to win the game for Celtic.
In truth, this game could have gone either way in the dying moments and Celtic can thank their goalkeeper and ‘captain fantastic’ Nadine Mullery for denying Tipperary Town on a number of occasions.
In arguably the best game to have been played at the wonderful Cahir Park All-Weather facility, Celtic stunned Tipp Town by racing into a three-goal lead by the 18th minute.
Their first came from Roisin McGrath who found space down the left side before drilling her shot across goal into the far corner.
One soon became two when Niamh Mackey pounced at the far post and before Tipp Town could settle into the contest Evrena Everard made it three nil to the Clonmel side.
For many teams that third goal would have been the final nail in the coffin but Tipperary Town are made of stern stuff and gradually found their rhythm.
Steph Walsh and Maire Condon tested Mullery in the Celtic goal and were finally rewarded for their good play when Walsh rose highest in the box to power a header to the net.
And they could have reduced the deficit further had Hayley Dewick’s spot kick not gone the wrong side of the upright just before half-time.
However, that setback didn’t deter Johnny Halpin’s side and Dewick atoned for her penalty miss in the 48th minute when her left foot volley arrowed into the top corner.
With the momentum now with Tipperary Town they piled forward in search of an equaliser.
Mullery twice denied Condon and was on-hand again to deny Walsh when diving low to her left.
However just when it seemed Celtic had weathered the onslaught, Walsh found space in the box to fire a bullet to the far corner.
In a pulsating finale, Celtic came close when Roisin McGrath tested Saoirse Fanning in the Tipperary Town goal while at the other end Mullery had to be sharp to head clear when a back pass fell short. As both teams tired in the final stages, Roisin McGrath found space on the left wing before being fouled.
Having assessed all of her options, McGrath took on the responsibility herself and incredibly found the far top corner of the net to send the Celtic players and supporters wild.
With seven minutes remaining, Tipp Town responded again but were denied goalscoring opportunities by the tenacious Priscilla Kiely, Hazel Shanahan, Bronagh McGrath, Rachel O’Dwyer and Zoe Farrell.
Jenny Everard and Emily Corcoran both put in formidable performances too as Celtic were put to the pin of their collar to hang on.
With time running out a long throw-in from Steph Walsh caused panic in the Celtic goalmouth but again Mullery was on hand to snuff out the danger after a goalmouth scramble.
Both sides deserve tremendous credit for putting on such a fantastic spectacle.
In a game that had absolutely everything, it was played in great spirits, showcasing everything that is positive about ladies football in Tipperary.
TLSDL secretary, Linda Conway praised both sides during the medal presentation and thanked Cahir Park for the use of their facilities for the final as well as every participating club during the course of the season.
Clonmel Celtic: Nadine Mullery, Bronagh McGrath, Rachel ODwyer, Hazel Shanahan, Zoe Farrell, Priscilla Kiely, Niamh Mackey, Jenny Everard, Emily Corcoran, Evrena Everard, Roisin McGrath, Sasha Kennedy, Liz Ann Donegan, Sophia Forristal, Regina Pennetzdorfer, Valerie Hogan.
Saoirse Fanning, Ciara Halpin, Ellie Cremins, Sally O’Dwyer, Mairead O’Connor, Bernadette Ryan, Steph Walsh, Grainne Condon, Hayley Dewick, Maire Condon, Chloe Wills, Sarah Armshaw, Katelyn O’Dwyer, Aoibheann O’Dwyer, Ellie Peters, Kate Ryan, Kiera O’Dwyer, Hannah Quinn.
Referee: Mark Jordan