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Erne girls face Oak Leafs for final verdict


By Declan Bogue

The recent All-Ireland ladies' finals day was a heady mixture of emotion and drama, getting off to a quite incredible start that set the tone for the rest of the day when Derry produced their performance of the year to fly into a nine-point lead with a quarter of the junior final against Fermanagh remaining.

To give some context, the sides had met four times in the season before that encounter. Fermanagh had won every game by an average of 12 points.

That counted for nothing as Derry ripped into their Ulster opponents with Fermanagh having no answer to Oak Leafs' full-forward Megan Devine.

However, the Erne girls got going in the final quarter, woken up by a stylish solo goal by Aisling Woods, with a penalty goal from Sharon Murphy drawing them level. At the finish, they headed for their numerous fans to soak up the applause for a stirring comeback.

At half-time of the ladies' intermediate final, Derry corner-forward Ciara McGurk was proposed to by her boyfriend Ryan McCloskey, in front of the watching thousands in Croke Park, surely a first of some sort.

This weekend Fermanagh are determined that the occasion will not get to them, while Derry want to show that the improvement in their performance was not a fluke.

"We didn't turn up, Derry were far better than us on the day and there no point complaining," was the verdict of Erne manager Emmett Curry.

In Derry, there is a different narrative. "A lot of ones are saying that Fermanagh didn't play and I thought that was a bit disrespectful as our girls didn't let them play," was the view of their manager Paul Hasson.

Sunday afternoon will deliver the final verdict.

Belfast Telegraph

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