Suncroft v Clane 4th July 2017.
Suncroft 3:15(24), Clane 5:06(21)
Suncroft hosted Clane in the second round of the Championship on Tuesday evening. The round one game against Naas the previous week was called off so it was their first taste of Championship in 2017. Suncroft and Clane had met twice already in the year with a drawn game the first day in March and a Suncroft win on the second outing in May. The evening was cloudy but dry and only a light breeze. Clane arrived with a full contingent of players and the Suncroft ladies knew they had their work cut for them as they were missing a good number of players due to illness, injury, holidays and work commitments. Suncroft could only field fourteen players and with no subs it was going to be a challenging evening.
Eve Kehoe palmed the ball down to Trina Duggan from the throw in and Suncroft worked it down the pitch to test the Clane backs and on this first attack the Clane backs put on the pressure and Suncroft kicked a wide. Ciara Fennelly intercepted a Clane pass on the forty five meter line and Suncroft worked the ball forward and put the first point on the scoreboard in the fifth minute. Clane kept possession from their kick out and zipped the ball forward with quick and accurate passing and before the white flag was down after the Suncroft point Clane had shook Suncroft’s net with a great shot at the other end. Muireann Fagan collected the short kick out from Niamh Bolger and passed on to Chloe Foy. In a move that stared with Bolger and involved Foy, Kehoe, Duggan, Carla Ennis, Ellen Dowling and Michelle McCormack Suncroft had the ball over the bar. Eve Kehoe fielded a great ball, carried forward, and passed to Michelle McCormack who goaled for Suncroft. Clane were straight back up the field and on the tenth minute got their second score, another goal. Suncroft 1:02(5), Clane 2:00(6). Paula Brown in the corner and Ciara Fennelly on the opposite wing intercepted ball after ball and with support from Caoimhe Doyle and Megan Troy the backs did a fantastic job of repelling the Clane attack, again and again, and worked the ball up the field efficiently with a mixture of carrying and passing.
With Trina Duggan and Ellen Dowling in flying form Suncroft scored two more points before Clane got their next in the fifteenth minute. Although not reflected on the scoreboard (wides due to pressure by the Croft backs) Clane were starting to get on top however on the twentieth minute Eve Kehoe took a pass in the middle of the field went on a run, left a number of defenders in her wake and goaled for Suncroft. With some great work up front by Trina Duggan, Doreen O’Connor, Aisling Connolly, Carla Ennis, Michelle McCormac and scores above and below the crossbar by Ellen Dowling Suncroft had got back in control and at the half time break had a five point lead. Suncroft 3:08(17), Clane 3:03(12).
Clane got the first point of the second half which was followed by two from Suncroft and then another from Clane in the sixth minute. Suncroft then had a great fifteen minute spell where they the experience of Paula Brown, Muirenn Fagan and Chloe Foy kept Clane scoreless while Suncroft scored three points at the other end. Twenty one minutes into the second half Suncroft 3:13(22), Clane 3:05(14). Clane had used their substitutes and going into the last seven or eight minutes the Croft ladies were getting tired of the running, the physicality of the game, and the bench was bare. Clane pointed in the twenty second minute and Suncroft followed with another point on the twenty fifth minute. From there to the end it was Clane attack after Clane attack. The Suncroft ladies did dig deep, picked off another point, but even though a battling Clane had got a further two goals in the closing minutes the great work that Suncroft had done in the first three quarters of the game and the dogged defending in the last quarter saw them through. Final score Suncroft 3:15(24), Clane 5:06(21).
A great team performance by Suncroft with all fourteen players delivering on the night. Niamh Bolger made great saves in both haves and was accurate with the kick outs. Paula Brown played a stormer in the backs and made great interceptions and support runs up to midfield. Muireann Fagan was rock solid at full back and in the other corner the youth of the team, Caoimhe Doyle, had a great game, played with great strength and as if she had years of experience. With Megan Troy, Chloe Foy and Ciara Fennelly in the half back line there was oodles of carrying ability and support running and they flawlessly worked the ball up to the midfield and beyond almost every time. Trina Duggan put in a fantastic shift. Back to support the backs, taking the pass in the middle and popping it over the bar up front, anywhere on the field that someone needed a hand Trina appeared. Eve Kehoe, in her first outing in midfield, fielded some great balls, let nothing pass easily, made some great runs forward, scored and worked back. With super support from Carla Ennis and Doreen O’Connor on the wings Ellen Dowling ran at the backs again and again and scored or drew the free. Up front Michelle McCormack and Aisling Connolly were on top of their games and apart from the scores that they did get they were unlucky not to have much more as the rattled the woodwork on numerous occasions.
Next day out will be a tough one for the selectors. It was very evident with very tired players in the last ten or fifteen minutes that it is very much a full panel game but after this smooth team performance, it will be a difficult one to figure out how to keep all the positives from this game and at the same time how to best utilise the returning players to improve.
Panel: Niamh Bolger, Paula Brown, Muireann Fagan, Caoimhe Doyle, Megan troy, Chloe Foy, Ciara Fennelly, Trina Duggan, Eve Kehoe, Carla Ennis, Ellen Dowling (c), Doreen O’Connor, Michelle McCormack, Aisling Connolly.
Management team: Owen Fagan, Karen Ennis, Eamonn O’Modhrain, Fracas Foran.