Ballyboden U14 Ladies Footballers win Division 1 Feile 2018
The Ladies U14A team took to the Feile stage at the weekend in a competition where only Divisions 1 and 5 survived the bad weather with the other divisions being deferred to the end of May. This meant that it was only the Boden A & B teams in action with the A team participating in Division 1.
The A team were hosted by Kilmacud Crokes in a 3 team division consisting of Crokes, Boden and last year’s Feile winners FoxCab. The other group in Division 1 was hosted by St. Brigids where they welcomed Lucan, Clanna Gael and Clontarf.
Thankfully the weather on Saturday was fine and the girls gathered early at Pairc De Burca ready for action. The first match for the Boden girls was Kilmacud Crokes who were always going to provide a tough opposition especially on their home patch. However, any doubts about our girls were quickly dispelled as they straight away got into the groove with Kate Donaghy converting early points and then 2 goals from Leah Cunningham with another from Áine Rafter giving Boden a commanding lead. In truth, Crokes were unfortunate in that nothing was going for them but this was also down to the Boden defence where Laura Rourke, Emma Jane Weir, Shona Kenny and Megan Deignan were rock solid. A lead of 3-3 to 0-1 gave Boden great confidence for the second half and as substitutions were made there was no let-up in the performance with the girls knowing that score difference could play a part in deciding the group.
The girls continued to dominate in the second half with the hard work and link up play of Alice Rudden, Megan Dignam, Ella Reid and Nadi Kabongo resulting in more opportunities for scores which were expertly taken by Caoimhe O’Sullivan, Clodagh Reid and Sarah Cooney. At the back, Crokes were denied scores by some super saves by Boden keeper, Shauna Feely who pulled off a string of saves including one from the penalty spot. The final score was 4-10 to 0-3 and with the level of performance, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Boden team were looking good for Feile glory.
However, the beauty of the competition is that every game can be different and so it proved in the next game against FoxCab. The Boden girls lacking the same freshness after a short turnaround, faced a well drilled FoxCab team in their first match of the day. In a rare Boden defensive lapse, a ball was played into an unmarked FoxCab forward close to goal and Boden found themselves a goal down and chasing the game. Then it was the Boden’s turn to feel that everything was going against them and try as they might, they could only put up 2 points giving FoxCab the victory with their 1 score.
As it seemed like a trip to Brigids for a semi-final as group runners up was the likely outcome, the Boden faithful decided to stay and watch the 1st half of the Crokes vs. FoxCab game before making the road trip. Again the competition showed that nothing can be predicted as Crokes showed the classy team that they are, and cheered on by their own supporters, along with an additional Boden support, they beat FoxCab. With all 3 teams on one win, the group was decided on points conceded and so Boden came out on top with FoxCab heading off to Russell Park.
The semi-final pitted the Boden girls against Lucan, the team that our girls had beaten in a playoff to take the U13 league title in 2017. With only 15 minutes per half, it was a tight nervous match all the way through with a vital goal from Kate edging Boden ahead. Further points from Leonie Power, Clodagh and Áine kept Boden ahead and as Lucan tried to get back on terms they met a wall of steel led by Sadie Codd and the rest of the Boden defence. The full time whistle went with Boden the winners by 1 point, 1-4 to 0-6 to the delight of the Boden team and their great band of supporters.
News came through from Russell Park that FoxCab had beaten Brigids after a shoot-out which meant that the Boden girls would get to take on FoxCab again, this time in the final, this also being a repeat of the 2017 final when FoxCab had triumphed.
After a good night’s rest and following all the recommendations provided to them by Kilkenny team nutritionist Noreen Roche, the girls were ready for the final in IT Blanchardstown. After watching the Boden B team going down to Westmanstown, our girls took centre stage. As with the first match on Saturday, the Boden girls hit the ground running with lovely interplay and passing to pierce through a FoxCab defence that had seemed impenetrable the previous day. After an opening point from Kate, a cool finish from Abbie Brennan raised the green flag for a goal. Other scores, another from Abbie and a smart fist over the bar from Áine when surrounded and finally a deserved score for Hannah Byrne after hard work all weekend gave Boden a half time lead of 1-4 to 1-0 with FoxCab having converted a penalty for their only score.
The second half saw FoxCab coming into the game more with the aid of a freshening wind. However, Boden continued to play some great football and every single player led by their brave heart captain Sarah Gleeson fought for every ball to make sure that this lead was not going to be conceded. Points were traded with Kate putting over another for Boden and they could have got insurance scores with a couple of goalmouth scrambles and a disallowed goal. Foxcab got another point to get to 3 points behind leading to a nervous last few minutes. However, the Boden girls defending was resolute and after stopping one final attack from FoxCab, the final whistle blew and victory was to Ballyboden. Final Score 1-5 to 1-2
There was pure joy from the squad of 20 players along with number 21, Ella McNair, who had been injured the previous week and missed out, but who was with her team mates all weekend. There was also delight for the management team of Eoin, Carol, Ronan, PJ, Seamus and in particular Kieran who had put in so much in the preparation of these wonderful girls so that they would get the most out of their Feile experience.
Many thanks go to Niamh, our Physio, for getting the girls bodies right. Thanks to Carol for getting the girl’s heads right. Thanks to Maggie D for getting the hair right. Thanks to PJ, Jack, Seamus, Brian, Karrie, Corinne and Gerry White who helped out in umpiring, linesman, general help and counselling services through the weekend. Thanks to Alyson, Mags, Carol again and many others for food supplies. Thanks to the all the support from families, players from other teams, loads of team mentors too numerous to mention, Paul & Brian, Ladies Chairman Cathal and Ladies Secretary Paul Manning who followed the progress of both A&B teams through the weekend and proud Club Chairman Ciaran Maguire.
This was the first Ladies Football Feile victory for Ballyboden since 2010 and now the girls go on to represent the county in Féile Peile na nÓg 2018 in June. Best of luck girls!
Back Row: Nadi Kabongo, Laura Rourke, Abbie Brennan, Sarah Gleeson(c), Alice Rudden, Sarah Cooney, Ella Reid, Caoimhe O’Sullivan, Clodagh Reid, Hannah Byrne, Leonie Power, Shauna Feely, Ella McNair
Front Row: Megan Dignam, Shona Kenny, Emma Jane Weir, Leah Cunningham, Sadie Codd, Aine Rafter, Kate Donaghy, Megan Deignan