Ballyboden St. Endas Vs. Lucan Sarsfields

The Under 15 Division 1 Final brought back together the 2 teams that had contested the U14 final a year earlier where Ballyboden had gotten the better of Lucan after a replay. This year’s final didn’t disappoint with the 2 rivals playing out a classic that really had everything. The match took place out on Lucan’s main pitch at 12th Lock with great support from both sides on a lovely crisp autumn morning with the pitch holding up well after the week’s rain.

Ballyboden dominated the early exchanges with lovely neat interplay resulting in an early point from Shauna Feely after great retention of the ball and patience from the forwards. The Boden domination continued and they could have been further ahead by the time they finally got their reward with a goal from Aine Rafter. After more pressure, Lucan conceded a penalty which was slotted home coolly by Shauna to give Boden a decent lead after 15 minutes. Lucan started to get into the game and got their first point to the delight of their home support. Boosted by this they broke again and would have netted only for a superb save from Boden keeper Karyn Burke.

Boden were still playing the better football and scored another point after great link up play between Megan Deignan and Kate Donaghy in moving the ball the length of the field and supplying Caoimhe O’Sullivan for the finish. However Lucan were starting to exert more pressure and after a couple of points they got a bit of luck with a goal looping into the Boden net.

Half time: Ballyboden St. Endas 2-2 Lucan Sarsfields 1-3

Lucan came out strong in the second half, buoyed by the fact that they were only 2 points behind after being outplayed for most of the first half. They scored an early free to reduce the gap to 1 but Boden continued to push and got 2 more points from frees from Aine. Then Lucan got the breakthrough they were looking for with a goal to level the match. This started a 10 minute period where Lucan dominated and the girls in blue defending for their lives. Lucan racked up another 1-2 in this period including a 2nd penalty of the day and with a 5 point lead they started to believe that the cup was coming their way.

However these Boden girls are not to be underestimated as they are made of strong stuff! With leaders across the pitch, they dug deep and started to take the game again to Lucan. A 3rd penalty was confidently dispatched by Kate Donaghy and then after a moment of indiscipline saw a Lucan player red-carded, the Boden girls really started to dominate. A great passage of play saw another score from Kate from a tight angle and then a deflected shot from Leah Cunningham saw Boden retake the lead. As the clock ticked into the red, another goal from Sarah Gleeson gave Boden a seemingly unassailable lead of 5 points. A late goal from Lucan set up a nervous finish but the Boden girls hung on and after 7 minutes of injury time the final whistle blew to give the girls their deserved victory – this a 3rd Championship in a row for this super group of girls. Joint captains Emmajane Weir and Aine Rafter collected the cup on behalf of their teammates from County Chairperson Joe Keane and graciously complimented their opponents on a hard fought game.

Full time: Ballyboden St. Endas 5-5 Lucan Sarsfields 4-6

The foundation for the team’s success starts at the back: – after Elly Rogers was injured, Karyn Burke stepped into goal for Semi-Final and Final and made crucial saves in both. At the back Emmajane Weir, Abbie Brennan and Sadie Codd were outstanding as the last line of defence with excellent reading of the game throughout to thwart an always dangerous Lucan forward line. Laura Rourke made a crucial contribution to win a number of balls at a vital time. The defence was turned into attack with great probing runs from Megan Deignan, Megan Dignam and Caoimhe O’Sullivan. There was also an immense contribution down the spine of the team with Leonie Power, Alice Rudden and Ella Reid turning over Lucan on a number of occasions to turn the tide in the game. Then in attack, all of the hard work in training paid off as the forward unit of Shauna Feely, Aine Rafter, Kate Donaghy, Leah Cunningham, Hannah Byrne and Sarah Gleeson made and converted the chances. Also not forgetting Elly Rogers and Ella McNair both out injured but out to support their teammates.

Overall a fitting end to a great year with ups and downs along the way but ultimately a League and Cup double to show for their efforts. To cap it all, the night ended with medal presentations in the clubhouse from Club Chairman Ciaran Maguire and, fresh from starring in Parnell Park, Collie Basquel to the delight of the girls!