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48 seconds of All-Ireland final left, 3 down and standing over a penalty: Player's view

Fermanagh’s Sharon Murphy impressively forced a draw in the junior final on Sunday. Details of the replay have been confirmed.

Sharon Murphy celebrates her equalising penalty.
Sharon Murphy celebrates her equalising penalty.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

THERE WERE JUST 48 seconds left on the clock when Fermanagh’s Sharon Murphy stepped up to take a crucial penalty in the All-Ireland junior final on Sunday.

Her side were three points down. This was it. The pressure was well and truly on.

Nerves of steel, the 27-year-old duly obliged, rescuing the draw and doing so in style.

Cool and calm as could be, the Lisnaskea attacker slotted the ball into the top corner of the Canal end goal.

Afterwards, she told Jerome Quinn that it was her first time taking a penalty in an inter-county championship game. 16-year-old Eimear Smyth usually takes the spot kicks, but she asked the more experienced Murphy to take the reins.

“I stood up with her being young, and thankfully it went in the goals,” she said.

“I just tried not to think about it. I know how games go. We played in Thurles in a semi-final [before], and there was 40 seconds left. We were winning by three points and we lost by a point at the end of it.

Source: LadiesFootballTV/YouTube

“That always stuck in my mind. You never give up no matter what, [no matter what] is left on the clock.”

Derry, huge pre-match underdogs, were 2-9 to 1-3 clear midway through the second half but Murphy’s Fermanagh side — who had beaten the Oak Leaf county handsomely in both league and championship already this year — somehow found a response.

What was the feeling when the final whistle sounded?

“Mixed emotions,” she continues. “Going into it, we beat Derry four times before so it’s hard to keep the momentum going. In fairness to them, they put it up to us and we didn’t perform well at all.

“I’ve played in two All-Irelands and got beat so I’m just glad we’re still there. Hopefully the next time we’ll be bringing the cup home.”

She also thanked the travelling support: “I’m glad of it, we definitely needed them there come the last 30-40 seconds.

“Even at the end, to hear them cheering when we knew we didn’t support well was great. It kept our spirits up.”

The LGFA have confirmed the details for the replay, with throw-in at 1.30pm on 8 October in Clones.

But if there are any more penalties to be taken on the day, Murphy smiles that she’s happy to hand back the role to Smyth, who’s in her first year with the senior team.

“I’ll see what Eimear says, she might want to hit them again,” she laughs. “She scored two in the Ulster final, so I’d be confident. If she wants to hit them she can work away!”

TG4 All Ireland Junior Final replay ( ET if necessary)

Derry v Fermanagh, 1.30pm, St. Tiernach’s Park, Clones, Monaghan.

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Emma Duffy

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