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Aug 23

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Extra time Heartbreak in Ladies Junior C Thriller

Ladies Junior C Final v Na Fianna 22082018-TeamWed 22 Aug 2018 – The Decision by the Competitions Control Committee of The Dublin Ladies Gaelic Football Association to move St Brendan’s up three divisions from Junior F to Junior C, raised a few eyebrows amongst many observers. However, that decision became truly justified when the St Brendan’s Ladies Footballers, Sponsored by McGowans of Phibsborough, reached the clubs third consecutive County Championship Final against Na Fianna, played in Lawless Park in Swords. What you are about to read totally justifies that decision to go to Junior C with two hours of true pulsating football, with the result in the balance all the way to the end.

Aisling Newton, absent when the sides met in the Round Robin Series, showed her presence with the opening score of the game inside two minutes, when Sinead Reilly won a turnover and played the ball to Newton. Nicola Carrabine was unlucky when she saw her next shot go wide after good work from Roisin McDonald.

The Dream start continued for The Female Dark Force, when Catherine Twomey was fouled making her clearance. She played the ball to Christine Dilworth, then onto Sinead ‘Dangermouse’ Reilly then onto Newton, and the Carndonagh Cyclone made no mistake with her low shot into the net 1-01 to no score with 5:45 gone.

The Mobhi Roaders got their opening score with a point from play after a Carrabine pass to a double marked McDonald was turned over. Sinead Morrissey settled her side with a free in from 20 meters after an initial jersey tug whilst on a solo run, she got fouled again and took her free from that spot.

Na Fianna got their second score in the same way they got their first, a free in. Then Na Fianna got a foothold in the game by collecting a stray ball, working it in nicely and Karen O’Connell was beaten for goal when the ball lobbed over her head. A shot by Morrissey went off a Na Fianna boot for a 45, which Aoife Fitzmaurice took and played to Faye ‘Dunaway’ Kearney but her shot went wide.

The Kickout was won by Na Fianna who went on the attack for a second goal to open a three point lead 2-02 to 1-02 after twenty minutes. James McGinley made a forced change with Her Highness Orla King coming in to replace Claire McIntyre.

The Female Dark Force however responded very well when Nicola Carrabine blocked a Na Fianna free in, played onto Aoife Fitzmaurice and onto Aisling Newton for a well taken score from 35 meters. Both sides traded wides with five minutes to go as both sides struggled to come to terms with the very firm Lawless Park pitch which saw the ball bounce abnormally high.

It was back to a one point game with another free in from the Mullingar Dynamo Sinead Morrissey, a carbon copy of her first, after the referee played advantage for a Fitzmaurice jersey pull. It was Fitzmaurice who won the Na Fianna kick out and played to Aisling Newton who was tackled high. Up stepped Morrissey with the point and a level game with a minute to go in the first half. That was Fitzmaurice’s last contribution of the game as she was replaced by Shauna ’Jet’ Fitzpatrick.

Na Fianna looked for a lead score but a super block from Erin Fadian, a shot falling short by Karen O’Connell and a clearance by Andrea Curley, after Ines Rubio Alcala Galiano was penalised for overcarrying, ensured a level game at Half Time.

 

Half Time Score: St Brendan’s 1-05 to 2-02 Na Fianna

 

After wides from Shauna ‘Jet’ Fitzpatrick and Roisin McDonald, St Brendan’s found themselves three points down again with a third Na Fianna goal. Aisling Newton had her jersey tugged when catching a McDonald pass. Sinead Morrissey again pointing the free in to make it 1-06 to 3-02 after four minutes. However, Na Fianna hit another point to push the lead back to three points.

The Mobhi Roaders had a four point buffer momentarily, but Roisin McDonald hit a crucial point to restore the three point deficit after 70 yard solo run following a pass from Aoife Fitzmaurice who in turn won a turnover.  Na Fianna could have slammed the Championship door in the face of St Brendan’s but their shot rattled the crossbar, much to the relief of Karen O’Connell. Her Highness Orla King played the ball to Faye ‘Dunaway’ Kearney and played a low ball to Sinead ‘Dangermouse’ Reilly and onto Roisin McDonald, who managed to get her toe tap in before being pulled for overcarrying and took her shot which sailed over the bar to keep her side in touch. 1-08 to 3-04.

St Brendan’s were given a serious lifeline when a Morrissey shot was about to go wide but somehow, The Knocknagree Knight, Christine Dilworth kept the ball in play and doing her best Diego Maradona Hand of God impersonation, fisted the ball into the net for the lead score, 2-08 (14) to 3-04 (13) with 12 minutes to go.

The lead was then two points with a Sinead Morrissey free in after drawing the foul herself when collecting a Newton pass. Another shot from Fitzpatrick went wide as the game went into injury time.

In injury time, the ball was turned over by Na Fianna in midfield and worked in. The Na Fianna player was on the 13 meter fine when she fell on her backside, everybody looked at the referee, looking for a whistle, including the player, who got up and lobbed her shot over Karen O’Connell’s head for a goal and a one point lead for Na Fianna.

Heartbreak waited for the Female Dark Force. Or Was it?

There was still over 90 seconds of normal time to play; Roisin McDonald was fouled 30 meters out. He free-in went to Aisling Newton, who was fouled 20 meters in front of goal. Up stepped The Malin Head Giant to show tremendous nerves of steel to kick the free over the bar for a level game with 20 seconds to go. Claire Owens turned over a Na Fianna attack and the referee blew for full time.

 

Full Time Score: St Brendan’s 2-10 (16) to 4-04 (16) Na Fianna

 

At 10.05pm, the referee threw in the ball to start the first period of extra time. The Junior C Title will be decided on the night with a 20 meter free taking competition if the sides are still level after 20 minutes extra time.

Roisin McDonald won a hopball and passed to The Courageous Deirdre Holland, on as a substitute at the start of extra time, who returned the ball to McDonald via a foot pass. McDonald found fellow Inishowen lady Aisling Newton who was pushed in the back, Newton took the free in herself towards Sinead Morrissey and The Mullingar Dynamo had St Brendan’s in the lead once again with a point followed by a fist pump and a shout of ‘Come On.

That lead was doubled when Shauna ‘Jet’ Fitzpatrick came up to hold her nerve and hit a crucial score. But as in injury time of normal time, the same number 12 from Na Fianna came up to score her third and Na Fianna’s fifth goal of the night which could be the crucial score.

After being two points up, St Brendan’s found themselves two points down when another Na Fianna point was converted. In the final minute of the first period, Na Fianna opened up a three point lead with a free in after a nudge by Claire ‘The Heat’ Gallagher, also on as an extra time substitute.

 

Half Time of Extra Time: St Brendan’s 2-12 (18) to 5-06 (21) Na Fianna

 

A big push was needed in the final 10 minutes and Aisling Newton gave St Brendan’s a glimmer of hope with a point in the opening minute of the second period thanks to a Sinead Morrissey pass. 3:42 gone in the second period and Morrissey pointed yet another free in after Aisling Newton drew the foul, to put one between the sides.

In extra time, you can use an additional three subs and Na Fianna put two young players to use to close out the game. Both players contributed to the scores that left Na Fianna up by two more points as the game reached the closing stages.

But the drama was not over yet. Any chance of Na Fianna putting the game beyond reach was thwarted by Andrea Curley as the Creggs Crusader made a vital turnover. In the final few seconds, the Na Fianna goalkeeper almost went for the juggler and attempt the fly keeper tactic but her clearance went straight to Julie Fox, with the goalkeeper on the 45, Fox’s attempted pass to Aisling Newton went too high and cleared by Na Fianna and at 10.30pm, the referee bought this epic, epic Junior C Final to an end.

Elation for Na Fianna, utter dejection for The Female Dark Force who came so close to winning both in normal and extra time, but the young legs of the Na Fianna substitutes won it in the end. However, when the dust settles and the disappointment eases over the next few days, one can genuinely appreciate that this was a true epic game. When people look back at some of the greatest matches played in Dublin Club Ladies Football, surely this game will go down as a classic.

For Roisin McDonald, the pain of losing was eased somewhat when she was awarded the Player of the Match accolade but could only look on as Na Fianna were presented with the Cup.

 

Final score from Lawless Park Swords: St Brendans 2-14 (20) to 5-08 (23) Na Fianna

 

It was not all doom and gloom for the St Brendan’s Ladies, because in Newcastle, the 2nd XV, Sponsored by Martin and Moran Property Advisors, defeated St Finian’s Newcastle 7-09 to 1-09 to advance to the final of the Junior G Shield where they will face Scoil Ui Chonaill in the Final next Wednesday. That game ended at 8.30pm and the team travelled up the M50 to catch the start of the 2nd half in Swords.

Team Sheet: 1. Karen O’Connell, 2. Andrea Curley, 3. Catherine Twomey, 4. Ines Rubio Alcala-Galliano, 5. Claire Mc Intyre, 6. Erin Fadian, 7. Nicola Carbine, 8. Faye Kearney, 9. Claire Owens, 10. Aoife Fitzmaurice, 11. Roisin McDonald, 12. Shauna Fitzpatrick, 13. Sinead Reilly, 19. Aisling Newton, 15. Sinead Morrissey.

Subs: 16. Michelle Dolan, 17. Eimear McKenna, 18. Tara Foy, 20. Christine Dilworth, 21. Orla King, 22. Claire Gallagher, 23. Julie Fox, 24. Deirdre Holland, 25. Ellen Higgins, 26. Andrea Doherty, 27. Siobhan Maloney.

Management: James Mc Ginley, Cian Walsh, Eugene Cunningham

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.stbrendansgaa.org/?p=1843

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