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Senior Ladies Junior A Championship Final - 3 Sept 2016 Suncroft 4:14(26) Na Fianna 2:05(11)

When they woke up in the morning and the rain was pelting down the supporters were happy the fixture was on pitch 1 in Hawkfield, as they would have cover and the players would be used to it. Fortunately, the match wasn’t until 3pm and by the time it came around the day had brightened up and while it was a bit slippery underfoot the conditions were ideal. With nine subs on the bench the Suncroft supporters were, a bit puzzled where they came from, but feeling good to have that big a number on the bench. But then they realised that the printer or some official had made a cock-up and listed the Kilcullen Junior B final team subs under Suncroft. It’s a panel game and every member of the Croft’s panel contributed on the field of play to get them to the final. Not having 16-Ciare Fennelly, 17-Sarah Browne, 18-Lorraine Foy, 19-Aislinn Dooley, 20-Caoimhe Doyle, 21-Kate O’Donnell and 23-Ellen Enright, on the programme was poor form and less than adequate.

Suncroft won the ball from the throw in and after a few passes Carla Ennis got the score board moving with a well taken point. The Croft were fired up and Ellen Dowling put over two more points before Na Fianna got their first point in the seventh minute. Anna O’Modhrain was wide awake from the start and cut off a number of Na Fianna attacks, and with help from Abbie Poole and Chloe Foy cleared the lines. Na Fianna were getting back into the game and got the next point, they were in on goal but some strong goalkeeping resulted in a penalty for Na Fianna. Fortunately for the Croft Rebecca McGuirk in the Crofts goal was up to the task and pulled off a great save. A minute later, following a bit of a collision, and an exchange with the Ref, on the fourteenth minute Na Fianna were down to fourteen players for the next ten minutes and it made a huge difference. Trina Duggan took control of the centre of the field (and kept it for the rest of the game), a long kick pass put Ellen Dowling in on goal and she buried it. Sophie Hobbs got on the ball from Irene Heavey’s kick-out and after passing from Trina Duggan to Rebecca Johnson, to Stephanie Hayes, to Nicole Dooley a final pass by Nicole, over Na Fianna’s goalkeeper, left Carla Ennis a simple tap into an open goal. Seventeen minute, Suncroft 2:03(9) - Na Finana 0:02(2). The Croft was going well but the management still decided to make a change and Aislinn Dooley was brought on to add pace to the forward six. The Crofts Ellen Dowling put over another two points and Sophie Hobbs got another and the Croft were starting to look comfortable coming up to half time. In the last minute of the half Na Fianna put the best move of the game together, split the Croft’s defense wide open, and shook the Croft’s net. Half time Suncroft 2:06(12) – Na Fianna 1:02(5).

Na Fianna won the ball from the throw in and fourteen seconds into the second half had a point on the board. Ellen Dowling took a pass from Nicole Dooley and got the point back for the Croft. Megan Troy had made another great run and this time was in on goal when she was upended for a penalty. Captain Trina Duggan lined the ball up but hit the crossbar and the penalty shot went over for a point. The Crofts Paula Browne had her hands full with Na Fianna’s Mikaela McKenna but between herself Muireann Fagan and Eve Kehoe they kept Na Fiannas forwards fairly quite so far in the game. However, with the second half only three minutes old Na Fianna’s Tara Higgins was in for a goal and Na Fianna were back in the game, Suncroft 2:08(14) – Na Fianna 2:03(9). Looking annoyed with the Na Fianna goal by her charge the Croft’s corner back Eve Kehoe collected the short kick out form Rebecca McGuirk and went on run up the pitch. She passed five or six Na Fianna players, drew in two of Na Fianna’s full back line, popped a pass to the ever available Trina Duggan who pointed. Ellen Dowling pointed again and then Na Fianna came back with two points. Paula Browne and Muireann Fagan were immense in the Croft’s defence and took some serious punishment to keep Na Fianna away from the Croft’s goal. Dowling pointed another and from the Na Fianna kick out Chloe Foy picked the ball out of the sky on the half way line and went on a run. Centre half-back Chloe Foy does not wander beyond the half way line too often but for the second time in a few weeks she penetrated the defence and pointed from distance, a cracking score, Suncroft 2:12(18) – Na Fianna 2:05(11). Eighteen minutes into the second half the Croft management stared to unload the bench (the Croft’s not Kilcullen’s in the programme) to see the game out. Na Fianna got their second yellow card which gave the Croft more room. Ellen Dowling got another point and then twenty minutes into the second half the Croft won another penalty. This time Trina kept it below the cross bar and buried it in the top right corner, unstoppable. The ball traveled up and down the pitch for the next five minutes without a score until Ellen Dowling intercepted a pass, sidestepped, twisted, pulled and hit the net again to bring her personal tally for the game to 2:08(14). The Croft’s captain, Trina Duggan, scored the last point of the game and the game finished up Suncroft 4:14(26) to Na Fianna 2:05(11).

A fantastic flowing game of football and they were much better matched than the score line would indicate. The key period in the game was from the fourteenth minute to the twenty forth minute when Na Fianna were down a player on a yellow card. During that period the Croft scored 2:02(8) whereas Na Fianna got no score. The gap remained in or around the eight points mark for most of the game and it was towards the end of the game, and another Na Fianna yellow card, when Suncroft managed to extend the gap.

Suncroft Panel: Rebecca McGuirk, Paula Brown, Muirnne Fagan, Eve Kehoe, Anna O’Modhrain, Chloe Foy, Abbie Lea Pool, Trina Duggan(C), Sophie Hobbs, Nicole Dooley, Carla Ennis, Rebecca Johnson, Megan Troy, Ellen Dowling, Stephanie Hayes, Ciara Fennelly, Sarah Brown, Lorraine Foy, Aislinn Dooley, Caoimhe Doyle, Ellen Enright. Mentors: Noel Pool, Owen Fagan, Alan Phelan, Sandra Johnson.

Na Fianna Panel: Irena Heavey, Christine Hynes, Amy Ennis, Danielle McDonald, Emily Jacob(VC), Avril Moran(C), Simone Farrell, Rachel Reidy, Stacey Cannon, Aimee Fitzpatrick, Chloe Smullen, Natalia Campbell, Nichole Cannon, Tara Higgins, Mikaela McKenna, Roisin Murphy, Sinead Crowe, Aine Murphy, Karen Balfe, Niamh Dunne, Eireann Donoghue, Lauren McCarthy, Jennifer Harris, Amy Downey, Aoife Ryder, Niamh Aungier, Emma Quine, Aileen Taffe. Mentors: Fergus Jacob, Mick Ennis, Aileen Taffe.

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