Ballyboden St Endas v Na Fianna

After suffering a disappointing defeat in their first group game at Castleknock, Boden knew that the visit of Na Fianna (victors over Kilmacud in round one) was a must win encounter on Sunday morning in front of a fine crowd at Pairc Uí Murchú.

A couple of fine frees from Sarah Nagle along with a sole reply from the visitors gave us an early advantage. Then a fine fetch and run from Doireann Mullany followed by a speculative shot from 45 metres resulted in an error by the Na Fianna goalkeeper with the ball ending in the net to give Boden a boost. A couple of points from Na Fianna narrowed the gap but then great pressure in the tackle by the forward gave Sarah the chance to pop over another free. What may have been a crucial moment followed, when a long effort from Boden hit the crossbar and a first time strike from Laura Nagle just flashed wide.

Julie Vaughan was getting on a lot of ball and her hard work resulted in another pointed free, with the visitors keeping in touch with a couple of their own. Just before half time Na Fianna made a goal chance out of nothing and a fantastic point black save from young Síle Nic Coitir’s – showing great speed off her line – and again, in the follow up shot kept the ball out. Just before half time good work from Jodie White resulted in Áine Rafter pointing to give Boden the half time lead of 1-5 to 0-5.

Just after the re-start great work from Katie McDonald & Jodie gave Sarah the chance to point another free, and she duly obliged. However, some sloppiness in the tackle resulted in the next 4 scores coming from the visitors, 3 of them from frees given in very scoreable positions to tie the match.

Great work again from Katie resulted in another pointed free by Sarah, and the same result a few moments later from the work of Kaie & Julie. Síle picked out Hannah Leddy with a fine puck out and her pass found young Ella McNair to pop over her first Senior championship point. One of the scores of the day followed with Doireann winning possession in midfield and popping the point from 50 metres. Na Fianna replied immediately and then Áine got her 2nd point to put Boden 4 points up and looking in control.

However, Na Fianna got the next 4 points, 3 of them frees to level the game. In between these scores saw Síle show her calmness under the high ball again to maintain her clean sheet, and also a moment from danger saw Grace Walsh & Hannah Hyland combine to turn over an attack that had danger written all over it. So the sides were level with the clock headed into injury time.

Sarah drew a foul from a defender resulting in a free to Boden 50 metres from goal near the sideline. As soon as she struck the sliotar we knew from the roar of the home crowd that she had split the posts with her finest strike of the game when the pressure was on. Grace Walsh then won a fine possession and delivered long into the corner, where Leonie Power gathered and pointed from what looked like an impossible angle. The final whistle followed after with Boden winning by 1-13 to 0-14.

This really was a team performance, with all players who got on the pitch making positive contributions. The experience of Síle & Máiread and their vocal positive instructions coming down the stretch were invaluable to the many young players.

Castleknock’s win over Crokes gives them a 100% record after 2 games, so all goes down to the final game when Boden host Crokes and Na Fianna host Castleknock – just like last year the calculators may need to be dusted down again!!

After a testing fortnight for players and management this result and performance is just the tonic that was required – special mention for our dual players who have had a difficult few weeks in both codes, and here’s hoping that this gives us the platform to move forward with optimism.

Individual players and teams should never be judged on one mistake or one performance, but how they respond to a setback – and on Sunday morning this team displayed the character we all knew they had and we look forward to more of the same in a fortnight’s time. Boden Abú!

Team: Síle Nic Coitir, Máiread Luttrell, Hannahn Hyland, Sadie Codd, Danielle White, Martha O’Donoghue, Grace Walsh, Katie McDonald, Julie Vaughan, Olivia Meagher, Sarah Nagle, Doireann Mullany, Jodie White, Laura Nagle, Áine Rafter, Hannah Leddy, Ella McNair, Leonie Power, Hannah Byrne, Lucy O’Shea, Laura Burns, Abbie Fitzgerald, Claire Kirwan, Emer O’Leary, Emma Comerford

Match report by Gerry White