Na Fianna 0-11 Ballyboden St Endas 0-8
Perfect conditions greeted the teams on Sunday morning on Mobhi Road. Hope were high that after stern tests in the group stage, Boden would bring a high level of intensity from the opening whistle. However, despite a great start with a long range point from Dearbhla Brennan, Na Fianna dominated the opening half. While the Boden defence stood firm, we struggled to win possession whe the ball crossed the halfway line. The Na Fianna half back line in particular were on top, and Boden found it difficult to get any quality ball to the inside line.
The Boden cause wasn’t helped by an ankle injury which forced the withdrawal of Doireann Mullaney. She had also shipped a couple of robust challenges in earlier exchanges. At the other end of the field great credit must go to all of the backs, well led by Su Kennedy at full back and Sile Nic Coitir’s handling was excellent throughout.
At half time Na Fianna deservedly led by 6 points to 1.
The introduction of Rachel Ruddy at half time brought speed and mobility to the forward line. Her ability to win possession and then bring others into play got Boden on the front foot. Na Fianna stretched their lead to 7 points, before Boden began to pick off some fine scores. Mairead Luttrell from a free, Darina Ryan from play and also a free, followed by a fine score from Dearbhla Brennan got the deficit reduced to 3 points by the 43rd minutes. Aoife Tobin had been introduced and was proving a handful for the Na Fianna defence.
Another free, a harsh decision to say the least, restored a 4 point gap, before a terrific Rachel Ruddy point cut it once again to 3. Unfortunately Boden then had a few costly wides when they had the momentum. A further blow came when Dearbhla Brennan had to be replaced. Dearbhla had been having a strong influence on proceedings at this time.
The sides exchanged points, Darina Ryan for Boden as the game approached full time. While there were a couple of scrambles in the Na Fianna goalmouth, in truth Boden didn’t test the Na Fianna goalkeeper. Another free for Na Fianna and a reply from Jodie White were the final scores of the game, the hosts coming out on top by 3 points.
The feeling of disappointment was all too evident at the final whistle. In truth, in championship semi-final stage it is rare that you can play as poorly as we did in the first half and manage to get over the line. However, great credit should go to all the Boden players on a magnificent second half. The experience gained by so many young players will hopefully bear fruit in the future.
Team:Sile Nic Coitir, Eve O’ Donoghue, Su Kennedy, Aoife O’ Neill, Jane Edwards, Mairead Luttrell, Aoife Durkan, Martha O’ Donoghue, Sarah Keenan, Sarah Nagle, Dearbhla Brennan, Doireann Mullany, Emer O’ Leary, Hannah Hyland, Darina Ryan,
Subs: Jodie White, Rachel Ruddy, Aoife Tobin, Aisling Gargan