13 Nov 2013

Ballindaggin survive second half siege to take the title

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Ballindaggin 2-2 Kilanerin 1-4

Spectators were treated to a gripping finale in St. Patricks Park last Tuesday, when Ballindaggin took on Kilanerin in the Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Rackard League Girls Roinn C Football final. This was a game that featured no short amount of heart and determination from beginning to end and it seemed a cruel blow that one team had to lose out by the slimmest of margins at the conclusion. For the eventual victors however, it was the sweetest of victories.

Ballindaggin began the game more confidently and almost opened the scoring with a quick goal when Roisin Kavanagh-Murphy was unlucky not to connect with a rebound off the Kilanerin goalpost. Ballindaggin had several other chances early in the game but did not take these and with each wide Kilanerin slowly began to work themselves into the game. In the 12th minute, Elsa Hughes tapped over a free to put Kilanerin into the lead. Ballindaggin’s star midfielder and captain Gerri-Rose O’Connor then rose to the fore when she grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. She seemed to be everywhere, winning several balls in the midfield area and feeding her forwards with lots of good passes. After a couple more wides, Ballindaggin eventually got the scores that they deserved when Niamh McHugh scored a goal and Shauna Nolan scored a good point. Kilanerin were lucky to go in at halftime only a goal down. The damage could have been a lot worse had it not been for the brilliant defending of Kilanerin joint captains Shanyn McLoughlin and Caoimhe Noctor. Hannah Neville also made several great clearances from the Kilanerin halfback line.

Ballindaggin resumed the second half at a blistering pace and immediately dealt Kilanerin hopes a killer blow when Shauna Nolan slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the Kilanerin net within minutes of the restart. This left Kilanerin with a mountain to climb and they had no choice but to chase the game. Ali Bushe and Dearvla Noctor started the fightback with some great work in midfield and Shanyn McLoughlin’s long clearances ensured that the Ballindaggin defence was sternly put to the test. For most of the second half, this intense Kilanerin pressure continued and they were rewarded for their efforts with three Ali Bushe scores, two frees and a point from play, to reduce the lead to a goal.

A Ballindaggin defence, led by Lisa Kavanagh, Emily Redmond and Breda Cussen, were proving to be relentless in their resistance to these constant Kilanerin attacks however, and scores and space became increasingly hard to come by as the clock ticked on. In the 22nd minute, they raced up the field to score what proved to be the crucial score of the game. It was Niamh Mc Hugh who got this vital score when she twisted and blasted a point over the Kilanerin crossbar. Ali Bushe briefly revived her team’s chances when she got a goal from a lobbed free but moments later there was heartbreak when the final whistle went and Ballindaggin were crowned deserved champions.

~Seán Óg Whelan

Ballindaggin: Aoife Dunne, Katie Breen, Lisa Kavanagh, Emily Redmond, Breda Cussen, Aine Redmond, Gerri-Rose O’Connor, Roisin Kavanagh-Murphy, Nicola Dobbs, Shauna Nolan, Katie Bates, Niamh Mc Hugh, Kerri Doyle, Aoife Darcy, Leah Fitzhenry, Katelyn Cowman, Rebekkah Savage, Ciara Roban

Kilanerin: Ellen Redmond, Shanyn McLoughlin, Caoimhe Noctor, Hannah Neville, Ali Bushe, Aoife McGonigle, Ciara Ryan, Dearvla Noctor, Edwina
Carter, Elsa Hughes, Katie Foote, Tara Boukima, Ruth Hempenstall, Hannah Noctor, Roisin Noctor, Catherine D’Arcy, Roisin Hughes, Niamh Murphy, Saoirse Mc Donald, Aisling Fitzpatrick, Saidhbhe Byrne, Katie Cunningham

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