National League Round 4: Ros girls continue good run.

Our Ward Bros sponsored intermediate ladies continued their recent good league form on Saturday last when the defeated visitors Down on a score line of 3-8 to 0-6 in Orchard park Elphin in round 4 of the national league. This was a very accomplished performance from the girls and leaves them now in a very good position to qualify for the semifinals of division three. Credit must go to the girls and the management team for the excellent effort that is being put in by all.

There was one change to the starting line up as returning captain and chief scorer Natalie Mchugh took her place on the edge of the square instead of Caolionn Berine.

This game was switched from Kilglass after Kilglass pitch was deemed unplayable by the club grounds man on Friday morning. This win leaves Roscommon in third place in the table behind Tipperary and Wexford with seven points.

The final score is rough justice on a gutsy Down team as they Mourne ladies missed two penalties and had ten wides during the course of the game. It was the Down ladies who were first out of the blocks with a pointed free after three minutes by Anna Marie Magee. Gillian Dufficy level matters within a minute with a fine point from play. Rebecca Finan put the home side in front in the sixth minute from a well-executed free a lead they never relinquished for the rest of the game. Natalie McHugh put Roscommon two up with a neat point in the seventh minute. Roscommon carved out a goal chance in the eleventh minute after some excellent build-up play only for Natalie McHugh see her booming shot saved by Christine McCarthy in the Down goals. Rebecca Finan put Roscommon two up in the fifteenth minute with her second expertly hit free from the left side. Down piled on the pressure but were unable to make it count on the score board as the hit three wides in succession. Natalie McHugh settled Roscommon nerves with a excellently taken goal in the twenty fifth minute. Ella Durcan pointed for Down in the twenty ninth minute to leave it 1-04 to 0-03 with half time looming. There was another twist in the tail, Down were awarded a penalty in the thirty first minute after Aishling McAuliffe was adjudged to have fouled Mulvena in the small square for which she received ten minutes in the sin bin. Anne Marie Magee stepped up to take the resulting penalty but the Rostrevor player watched her shot go out to the right of the post and wide. Half-time score Roscommon 1-04 Down 0-03.

Natalie McHugh extended Roscommon’s lead with a pointed free in the third minute of the second half. Minutes later McHugh hit for her second goal of the afternoon after receiving a pass from Jenny Higgins after a searing run through the heart of the Down defence. Rachel Fitzmaurice was in for a third Roscommon goal only for an excellent save from McCarthy in the Down goal as she pushed it out to the right of the post. From the resulting forty five Joanne Cregg picked out Rebecca Finan who slotted between the posts. Down replied with a point from Aisling Cull. This was cancelled out by Jenny Higgins seconds later with a great point on the run. Minutes later Down were awarded a second penalty, Magee stepped up for the second time this time she saw her booming shot come off the crossbar.
Things got worse for the Mourne ladies in the forty ninth minute as Sinead Kenny’s pointed effort dropped into the back of the net to put the game beyond doubt. Natalie McHugh put twelve between the sides in the eighteenth minute; this gave manager Michael Finneran the opportunity to empty his bench as the management made a raft of substitutions. Down hit two points in the final ten minutes from Aishling Cull and Anna Marie Magee. The Roscommon back lines of Caroline Gunning, Amanda McLoone, Rachel Brady, Aishling McAuliffe, Bronagh McHugh, Sinead Kenny, goalkeeper Karin Roddy deserve great credit for their defensive duties all afternoon another game not conceding a goal.

Roscommon Team: Karin Roddy, Caroline Gunning, Amanda McLoone, Rachel Brady, Aishling McAuliffe, Bronagh McHugh, Sinead Kenny (1-0), Joanne Cregg, Tara Taylor, Alice Kelly, Gillian Dufficy (0-1), Jenny Higgins (0-1), Rabecca Finan (0-3, 2 frees) , Natalie McHugh (2-3,1free), Jenny Downey.
Subs: Carol Manning, Aoife Beades, Sheila Brady, Rachel Corcoran, Eilish Fannon, Martina Freyne, Ellen Hegarty, Rochelle Mullanney, Nicole Dolan, Rachel Fitzmaurice, Honor Ennis.

Player of the match: Natalie McHugh the returning Roscommon full forward gave an excellent performance and her goal in the twenty fifth minute was top class. Jenny Higgins, Aishling McAuliffe, Tara Taylor, Joanne Cregg Rebecca Finan and the fore mentioned back line all put in a great performance for the home side.

Best for the visitors: Clara Mulvena, Ella Durcan, Aishling Cull and Anna Marie Magee.

Turning point: Natalie McHugh twenty fifth minute goal settled Roscommon after a very nervous start

What’s next: Roscommon have a break for a couple of weeks now as club action returns for the next couple of weeks. Next up is neighbours Leitrim on the 18th March.

Word of thanks: A special word of thanks to the Elphin club who were put on short notice for Saturday’s game after Kilglass was declared unfit on Friday night and had their grounds in great condition.