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Aug 31

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St Brendan’s Ladies win Junior C Championship

JuniorCFinalFriday, 30th Aug 2019 – After the heartbreak of last year’s Junior C Final loss in extra time to Na Fianna, the ladies of St Brendan’s were back in the final. This year the management team of Robert Kelly and Conor O’Neill had replaced excellent James McGinley, who had returned to Donegal to take up parenting duties and the management of the Donegal Minor Ladies team. The Kelly/O’Neill combo had been proving most capable, and coupled with the determination of the players, St Brendan’s were well set up in their chase for silverware.

In 2018, St Brendan’s lost the Junior C Final in one of the most epic matches this writer had the privilege to report on. So on Friday August 30th 2019, the St Brendan’s Ladies Footballers, sponsored by McGowan’s of Phibsboro, took to the field in Lawless Park, Swords, to take on a physical Crumlin side who had come out on top in their Group Stage match last May.

The Female Dark Force went into the game with only 17 available players. However, 27 seconds into the Junior C Final and St Brendan’s got off to a dream start with Christine Dilworth finding the Crumlin net, following from an Aisling Newton pass, after Faye Kearney had won the throw in. Pretty soon after that, Roisin McDonald was chopped down when on a great solo run saw her dance through the middle of the Crumlin rearguard. With last year’s player of the final carried off, things were not looking so good. Sinead Morrissey converted the free. Erin Fadian came into the half forward line. With 5 minutes gone the score was St Brendan’s 1-01 Crumlin 0-00.

Gradually, the game settled down and Aisling Newton opened her account on the night with a point after a turnover from Tara Foy and a free in off Nicola Carrabine. Newton made it a brace of points after Nicola Carrabine won a breaking ball off a Crumlin kick out.

Christine Dilworth fisted the ball in the Crumlin net for her second goal, after Ursula Murphy had deftly weaved through several robust Crumlin challenges. This made the score 2-03 to 0-01.

The progress continued when Erin Fadian played a sweet ball to Sinead Morrissey to kick the ball over the bar. This move started with a turnover by Inés-Rubio Alcalá-Galiano. The game went into injury time, which there was loads, with a blood injury to a Crumlin player. A Morrissey free in fell short, Shauna Fitzpatrick had a shot blocked and eventually a free out given. But Tara Foy was on hand to win the turnover and pass to Joan McNulty and in the end, Aisling Newton tapped over the bar to make it 2-05 to 0-02. A Crumlin point was the last action of the game and at half time,

 

Half Time Score: St Brendan’s 2-05 (11) to 0-03 Crumlin.

 

The biggest 30 minutes in 7 year history of the St Brendan’s Ladies Club threw in after a brief break. The Female Dark Force had early second half wides from Newton and Morrissey, but the Morrissey did redeem herself by scoring a point from play after winning the kick out and passing to Claire Owens, who returned the ball back.

The game was turning in Crumlin’s favour. The referee was unhappy as St Brendan’s stood their ground (with their hands in the air) as a Crumlin rolling maul pushed its way into the penalty box. A penalty was awarded a penalty to Crumlin. The referee produced from his pocket a yellow card for Aoife Watters with about 11minutes gone. Crumlin made no mistake and the shot went low and hard into the corner of the net giving Karen O’Connell no chance.

St Brendan’s bounced back with a free in from Newton from 40 yards, which fell short, but Christine Dilworth was there again to finish the ball to the net for a third St Brendan’s goal and the nine point lead opened again 3-06 to 1-03.

One of the floodlit pylons went out and after consultation with both sets of managers the game continued on the promise that the pylon will be back on after a period of cooling down. Both sides traded points with Crumlin getting theirs first and then Ursula Murphy pointing for Brendan’s after a great pass from Erin Fadian. 3-07 to 1-04 with 17 minutes to go.

19minutes and 54 seconds gone in the second half and that nine point lead became 12 when Shauna Fitzpatrick, the architect of many good plays, placed a great ball into Aisling Newton. Newton drifted an angled shot from 30 meters towards the far corner of the goal, after spotting the goalkeeper 10 meters off her line, the ball dipped under the crossbar at the very last minute. The crowd went wild. The St Brendan’s supporters were enjoying this. This eased the tension amongst the support, to a certain extent, as decisions had been going against the girls in Black & Gold and the pressure from the opposition had been increasing in robustness.

The Crumlin team were not cowed by the sublime football St Brendan’s were exhibiting and pegged a point back to make it 4-07 to 1-05. The referee produced a yellow card for hard running Nicola Carrabine out around the middle of the field on the dug-out side. This left St Brendan’s down to 13 players with 10 min to go. It was taking super work from the St Brendan’s defense to keep the opposition out. Joan McNulty was in exceptional form and was ably assisted by Ines Rubio and Tara Foy.

With 12minutes in sinbin up Aoife Watters rejoined the fray.

Eight minutes to go and whatever anxieties the stoic Robert Kelly and nerveless Conor O’Neill had were evaporated with a fifth St Brendan’s goal. The scorer was Aisling Newton, it was well worked with the dynamic duo of Catherine Twomey and Claire Owens, as well as the excellent Aoife Waters involved in the build-up. Crumlin final began to look rattled and the resultant kick out went over the side line.

Four minutes to go and great ball by Crumlin saw them go one on one with Karen O’Connell, but the Crumlin forward had her hopes of a goal arrested thanks to the cat like reflexes of Karen O’Connell. KOC cleared the ball, but Crumlin did get a point back to make it 5-07 to 1-06.

Into injury time and Crumlin got a point and then a goal back. But St Brendan’s also picked up a point after hard work by Aoife Watters.

Four minutes into injury time and at 9.50pm the referee blew the final whistle and for the second time in three years, St Brendan’s were County Champions. The 17 St Brendan’s players celebrated in the middle of the field. It was a great display and a great night. The St Brendan’s players, Management, supporters and our underage girl’s teams really enjoyed their tremendous achievement. The trophy was presented to Captain Aisling Newton who also won the Player of the Match and thanked everyone from the management, the players, and this writer. There were many contenders for MVP on the night but in truth it was a team, management, club & community wide effort that all can be proud of.

No doubt the celebrations will be only top class in McGowan’s later that night.

But that is not all folks, to paraphrase a great man we should not misunderestimate our St Brendan’s Ladies as, on the 4th of September, they also take on Erin Go Bragh in the Junior H Championship Final.

 

Final score from Lawless Park Swords, St Brendan’s 5-08 (23) to 2-07 (13) Crumlin.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.stbrendansgaa.org/st-brendans-ladies-win-junior-c-championship/

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