BALLINHASSIG ensured that the race for the GE Healthcare CWSSL Senior Women’s Division 1 league title would go down to the wire as they defeated league leaders Greenwood 4-2 in a fast paced match at Gortnaglough in Ballinhassig last Wednesday evening.
Greenwood only had to win to ensure the title coming into the game, while Ballinhassig had to pick up all three points to warrant that they would be in the title mix along with Greenwood and Castleview with the final round of games next week.
The visitors had a couple of long range efforts in the first few minutes of the game which were well covered by the Ballinhassig keeper Grainne Twohig or went wide of the posts, their best effort coming from Ber Fitzgerald whose header from 15 yards went over.
The home side took the lead in the 15th minute when Jane Mulvihill was brought down in the area and duly converted the penalty kick to give the home side the lead, while at the other end the Ballinhassig keeper Grainne Twohig had to be sharp to cover the ball ahead of an incoming Fitzgerald as Greenwood looked for swift response.
Chances came to Greenwood’s Sarah McCarthy and Aishling Kenny before Ballinhassig’s Jane Mulvihill almost making it 2-0 only to see her effort from close range go over the crossbar.
Two goals in the space of 90 seconds gave Ballinhassig a more than comfortable lead coming in at the break and leaving Greenwood a mountain to climb if they were to get anything from the game.
The first came in the 42nd minute when Rachel O’Sullivan’s low shot from the corner of the area went past Kiely followed by Mulvihill’s rocket from 20 yards hitting the top of the net as the home side were well in control.
Greenwood attacked from the restart and kept Ballinhassig in their own half for long periods, with chances falling to Katie Foley and Sarah McCarthy, and managed to pull a goal back in the 56th minute when McCarthy’s shot from inside the area found the back of the net and it seemed that the visitors pressure was beginning to pay off.
However, a minute later Ballinhassig added a fourth to dampen any comeback from Greenwood when Rachel O’Sullivan scored from 15 yards to leave three between the sides yet again.
Greenwood continued to apply pressure, but were met with a stern Ballinhassig defence who denied the forwards any clear cut chances coming their way and were unlucky not to have added a second when Foley’s effort came off the crossbar and Val O’Connell’s rebound from close range going over the bar.
The visitors pulled one back in the 67th minute courtesy of Sarah McCarthy’s 20 yard effort on the far side giving the league leaders some hope in the closing stages, but it was Ballinhassig who managed to soak up the pressure ensuring that any one of three teams could take the title on the final game of the season.
Greenwood still top the table despite their first defeat of the season, but it’s a must win game for all three teams with a playoff even possible.
Ballinhassig: Grainne Twohig, Nicole O’Sullivan, Rachel McCarthy, Geraldine Collins, Katie O’Connor, Rachel O’Sullivan, Jane Mulvihill, Sophie Hurley, Laura O’Donovan, Laura O’Sullivan, Aoife Hurley, Cara Cremin, Roisin O’Donovan, Nicole Quinn, Rebecca Crowley.
Greenwood: Tracey Kiely, Gillian Crowley, Aisling Kenny, Linda Montgomery, Lin Heal Rennison, Sarah Walsh, Katie Foley, Emma Kerins, Ber Fitzgerald, Hilary O’Connor, Sarah McCarthy, Val O’Connell, Tracy Shine, Orla Twomey, Michelle Murray, Elaine Tipps.
Referee: John Hennessy.