U-16 A Championship Final – Abbotstown – 26 th Oct. ‘17

BBSE 3 – 7 Lucan 2 – 5

The immaculate environs of Abbotstown were the setting for this year’s u-16 championship final on Thursday evening. The match pitted the two heavyweights of the grade (Boden and Lucan) against each other. So far in their career, each had a championship in their back pocket (Lucan with the u-13 and Boden with the u-14), so this had all the trappings of a defining encounter for these two super panels of girls.

Familiarity breeds respect, and the mutual respect between these sides meant that this game was always a tight encounter, with both sides determined to ensure that the proven match winners in the opposition ranks would not be given the freedom to cause widespread damage.

Boden began in the ascendency but found scores hard to come by, although the Lucan goal had a narrow escape when Hollyn grabbed a dropping ball and put it just the wrong side of the post with the defence beaten all ends up. We opened the scoring when Katie slotted over a “45”. She then repeated the job when putting a free between the posts, following a foul on Erica, before Aoife Mahon replied with a pointed Lucan free. This was turning into a shoot-out between the respective free-takers, as Aoife levelled up matters with another pointed free.

Then a free from Katie deceived the Lucan defence in the floodlights, and ended up in the net, to put some daylight between the sides, but Aoife then pointed another free to bring the margin back to two. Hollyn then got the first point from play, but Aoife again narrowed the gap with a pointed free to leave just two points between the sides at half-time.

Half Time 1-3 to 0-4

Declan’s half-time team talk centred on getting a good start to the second half, and there certainly was a good start to the half – unfortunately it came to Lucan as they beat Ally in the first minute to take the lead by a point. However, our girls never panic and our leaders again steadied the ship. Katie equalised with a point from a “45” and we then regained the lead when Katie converted a free following a foul on Lucy. Lucan then equalised before Sinéad, who had just come on as a sub and was making her presence felt on the edge of the Lucan square, restored the Boden lead with a smart point on the turn.

We then began to exert a bit more control. Hollyn ran at the Lucan defence before off-loading to Erica and the captain did the rest, burying the ball in the Lucan net. Our next attack again shook the Lucan net, but the celebrations of the huge Boden support on the near sideline was cut short when the referee disallowed the goal, possibly for an incorrect handpass. However, we were not to be denied for long. Erica was now taking the game by the scruff of the neck, and on her next possession again rattled the Lucan net.

Any thoughts we had of a comfortable last five minutes were quickly put to bed as Lucan swept up the field and found the Boden net to reduce the margin back to only four. Another attack and Hollyn got possession and wisely took her point to stretch our lead out to five. This proved to be the final score, and the long whistle a few minutes later was greeted by a Boden stampede, as players and supporters celebrated a hard-fought and well-deserved victory.

Final Score 3-7 to 2-5

This was a brilliant team performance by all 18 girls who took the field. Ally was steadiness personified in the goal. In front of her, Seoirse Fitzgerald, Robyn and Sadhbh repelled every Lucan attack and formed a formidable wall of steel. Hannah marshalled the defence as only Hannah can, risking life and limb for the cause. On the wings, Seoirse Hassett, Anna and later on Niamh all performed superbly, curbing a succession of dangerous Lucan attacks – so much so that even Laura Quinn from Lucan struggled to make any headway against them. In the middle of the field, Muireann and Olivia more than held their own against a very formidable Lucan partnership.

At centre forward, Hollyn was the launch pad of so many attacks, as well as tacking on some vital scores. On the right wing, Aisling was a continual thorn in the Lucan defence while on the other wing Katie’s work rate would have left even the Duracell bunny gasping for air. Rarely if ever has she played better in a Boden jersey. Sarah Ann worked tirelessly in front of the Lucan goal, as did Sinéad and Bláthnaid later in the game. Lucy never gave an inch and was a continual threat, while in the other corner Erica played a captain’s part and earned the “player of the game” accolade for her outstanding display, topped off by the two vital goals.

After the cup was presented to Erica and Robyn, Erica acknowledged the part played by the huge Boden support who had braved the M50 car park to be there to lend their support. Definitely a massive boost that played no small part in pushing the girls over the line.

As the girls contemplated a nice break to enjoy their success Declan broke the news to them that the minor championship is starting next week.

No rest for the wicked!