James Crombie
Gemma Begley plays captain's role as Ulster claim third successive interprovincial crown
The Tyrone sharpshooter hit 2-3 for the northerners.

MMI Interprovincial ladies football final

Ulster 2-8

Connacht 2-7

GEMMA BEGLEY PLAYED a captain’s part as Ulster claimed a third successive MMI Interprovincial ladies football crown today.

Tyrone star Begley scored 2-3, including 2-1 from play, as Paula Cunningham’s Ulster repeated last year’s final victory over Connacht. Not even a personal haul of 1-7 from Mayo ace Cora Staunton was good enough to prevent defeat for Connacht as their long wait for a first interprovincial crown since 2000 continues for at least another year.

Despite playing with the breeze from the start, Ulster were just a point ahead at half-time, 1-5 to 2-1. Connacht got their noses in front with the game’s opening score in the seventh minute – a goal from Leitrim’s Áine Tighe after Grace Kelly’s shot smashed off the crossbar.

But Ulster settled and four points without reply, including a brace from Monaghan’s Caoimhe Mohan, pushed the champions in front.

Connacht’s response was to score a second goal, with Staunton finishing left-footed from close range after her initial effort was saved. In the 19th minute, Begley lashed the ball into an empty net for Ulster’s second goal in a see-saw opening half.

Staunton’s free and a point from Monaghan’s Cora Courtney completed the first half scoring and it was Begley who got the ball rolling in the second half with a point.

Two frees from Staunton levelled matters but Ulster regained the advantage when Therese McNally scored her second point and Begley netted again. Staunton hit back for Connacht with two points, including a free, before Begley’s free ensured a three-point buffer for Ulster – 2-8 to 2-5.

Connacht got back to within striking distance with a late brace of points from prolific forward Staunton but the clock was against the Westerners as Ulster held firm.

Shield winners

Meanwhile, Munster claimed the Shield trophy by defeating Leinster by 4-0 to 2-1 in a penalty shootout, after the sides finished level at 1-13 (Leinster) to 4-6 (Munster).

Ulster themselves needed a penalty shootout to get through to the interprovincial final.

Connacht, Ulster and Munster finished level on points following the group phase, with Connacht drawn out of the hat to advance straight to the final. Ulster held their nerve to see off Munster and book a place in the final.

There was some consolation for Munster, however, with victory in the Shield decider and Cork’s Angela Walsh secured the player of the tournament award.

Scorers for Ulster: G Begley 2-3 (0-2f), C Mohan & T McNally 0-2 each, C Courtney 0-1.

Scorers for Connacht: C Staunton 1-7 (0-5f), A Tighe 1-0.


Leinster 1-4 Munster 2-12

Connacht 3-7 Ulster 3-12

Connacht 1-7 Leinster 0-7

Munster 3-6 Ulster 1-10

Leinster 0-4 Ulster 5-11

Connacht 2-9 Munster 1-8

MMI interprovincial final:

Ulster 2-8 Connacht 2-7

MMI Shield final:

Leinster 1-13 Munster 4-6 (Munster win on penalties).

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