BBSE 4 – 3 Ballinteer St. Johns 1 – 1
Our U-15’s completed the league section of their championship on Sunday morning when they faced near neighbours St. John’s. Having already achieved two championship victories in the previous week, we were hoping to gain a victory that would assure us of top spot and a place in the final. Ballinteer, on the other hand, were fighting for their championship survival, so the stakes were high.
We were short a slew of first team regulars through a combination of football commitments and injury. But this team is nothing if not resilient and they again showed their character here.
Not for the first time this year, the u-14s came to the rescue and provided four players (Gemma Hayes, Stephanie Hamm, Ciara Dowling and Lucy O’Connor) to complement the panel, and all can be extremely proud of their contribution.
The opening exchanges were fast and furious as from the off our midfield pairing of Chloe and Lauren gained the advantage, which we held in that sector over the hour.
Lucy opened the scoring with a massive point from the far sideline. And she was a thorn in the Ballinteer side throughout. This was followed by a few “near misses” in the Ballinteer goalmouth, before Chloe Murphy found the net. Soon after, Gemma pulled first time on a ball in the Johns parallelogram and the ball again found the net. Aoife then gathered a delivery, headed for goal, lost her marker, dropped her stick and gave the goalie no chance as she added to the goals tally. John’s solitary reply in this half was a point
Half Time – BBSE 3-1; BSJ 0-1.
It should be noted that the team was lifted in that half by the arrival on the sideline of the injured Emily Sharkey and “non-playing captain” Ciara Duffy, who were there to cheer on and encourage the team.
The second half began and Muireann gathered the ball straight from the throw-in and headed off on a determined solo run bearing down on goal – until someone reminded her that she was bearing down on her own goal and had to quickly stick the engine into reverse!
Scores were hard to come by until finally we won a close in 20 metre free virtually in front of the goal. Blathnaid faced up to it and the instruction came in from James on the line (with one eye on the thick undergrowth behind the left hand goal) to “tip it over the bar”. The message mustn’t have got through as Blathnaid, with scant regard for the price of sliotars, sent the ball over the bar and into the bushes at the speed of an Exocet missile, never to be seen by mankind again.
Soon after, Blathnaid again grabbed the ball and set off on one of her trade mark solo runs through the heart of the Johns defence. As she shaped up and got ready to hit, James again feared the worse, realising that the bushes were again well within her range. Mercifully, she elected on this occasion to lower the trajectory, out of range of the despairing dive of the goalie, and it nestled in the back of the net.
At the other end, Johns scored the goal that their mighty efforts richly deserved, before Gemma closed out the scoring with a smart point on the turn.
Final score – BBSE 4-3; BSJ 1-1.
Once again this was a real panel effort.
Caoimhe was as steady as a rock in goal with a series of top class saves and intelligent clearances.
Outside her, Robyn was probably player of the match. She was brilliant, plucking ball after ball from the air and emerging from many a ruck with ball in hand and opponents in her wake. Outside her, Megan, Megan and Zara in turn all held up their ends and gave nothing away.
The half back line of Hannah, Muireann and Cathy held sway throughout, with tigerish tackling and lengthy clearances the order of the day.
Midfield never put a foot wrong, and never allowed Johns to influence proceedings.
In the forward line, as well as the scorers, Rachael, Chloe Curran, Stephanie and Ciara put in massive shifts, and never allowed the backline an easy clearance.
Finally a word for Aoife who went off injured just before the end. Hopefully it’s nor serious and she will be back fighting fit for the final.
All eyes now turn to the county final and James was already plotting his strategy as the final whistle sounded. Rest assured that no stone will be left unturned in the preparations in the coming weeks. Rumours of a week of warm weather training in La Mange have yet to be finally confirmed, but rumour has it from a usually reliable source that James sent out an instruction to the extended panel to ensure that all passports are up to date. The same source has also reported the even better news that Gerry White has confirmed that the Camogie Section has ample funds in its coffers to fully cover the trip. We’ll keep you updated on this story.
Here’s to the final. All support will be needed on the day.