Suncroft GFC v St Michaels GFC
Date: 14th October 2018
Venue: St Michaels GFC, Meath
Referee: Kevin Phelan (Laois).
Saturdays storm has passed, and it was a clear, dry day for the game and the ground had dried out well. St Michaels had the pitch in great nick for the game. Other than a few minor injuries and both teams were in good shape for the game. Great support from Suncroft had traveled to Meath and even though St Michaels had home advantage that wasn’t obvious from the number of supporters.
From the throw in Suncroft got on the ball and attacked, a foul and Ellen Dowling kicks her first of the day. Attack and counter attack and this time Carla Ennis gets her first from play just two minutes in. St Michaels settled into the game after this and got the next seven points, six from play. Truth be told they would have had a lot more any for some brave defending by the Crofts defense. Across the back Paula Brown was, as per usual, leading by example with Muireann Fagan and Ciara Fennelly repelling most attacks and keeping St Michaels out of the goal. Megan Troy, Chloe Foy and Rebaeec Coogan across the half back were pulled and dragged in all directions by a very fast and fit St Michaels. Twenty minutes in and St Michaels had a five point lead and were well on top Suncroft 0:02(2), St Michaels 0:07(7).
Suncroft needed something to get them back into the game and in the twenty first minute the got a free around twenty five metres out just to the left of the goal. Asilinn Dooley stepped up and with a quick solid shot got the ball into the net just under the cross bar. That gave Suncroft the lift they needed and Trina Duggan made a fantastic run just a minute later and got Suncroft second goal. St Michaels responded with a point but with spirits lifted Suncroft got the next five points. One each for Aislinn Dooley and Trina Duggan and three for Carla Ennis. St Michaels were got a point on thirty minutes and Ellen Dowling finished the first half scoring with a long distance point from play.
Half time Suncroft 2:08(14), St Michaels 0:09(9).
The two goals gave Suncroft the momentum to turn a five point deficit into a five point lead but St Michaels were on their heels all the way and only very determined defending by Suncroft kept their conversion rate down. Very competitive but clean half with only a few frees for either side. With St Michaels work rate it was going to be hard for Suncroft to keep them at bay in the second half and the first few scores would be all important.
The first couple of minutes of the second half were robust but St Michaels got the first break and with a double overlap from the half backs running at the Croft’s defense the gap opened and they got the opening score of the half, a goal. Suncroft’s Eve Kehoe went on a run up the left and scored the next point in the fourth minute of the half to take a bit of the sting out of the goal. Over the next five minutes St Michaels were well on top but Suncroft, with a few good stops from Rebecca McGuirk, kept them from scoring.
Sometime when thing go against you they just go against you and for the middle ten minutes of the second half it felt like that for Suncroft. If they ran with the ball, they were barging, if their arms were being held back they were over carrying, if they just held their ground they were fouling, if they went anywhere near a ball that wasn’t a yard away from a St Michaele player it was a free and every ball that came loose went St Michaels way. I’m sure St Michaels felt something similar in the last ten minutes of the first half.
If their lives depended on it Suncroft couldn’t get a loose ball or a free. In the tenth minute St Michaels got the next point and from there on it was one way traffic. Point from play point from free, free, point, etc. By the time the middle ten minutes were up St Michaels had added seven unanswered points to go four up, St Michael 1:16(19), Suncroft 2:09(15).
Suncroft kept St Michaels quite for the next five minutes but with a packed St Michaels defense couldn’t get a score. Every attacking run was swarmed out and any ball put into the forward line cut off. With the clock running out and at least a goal required Suncroft had to throw caution to the wind and unfortunately for Suncroft when they pushed up to go for a goal they were left exposed at the back and St Michaels took advantage and put the game out of reach with the next point and a five point lead. With the game all but over St Michaels finished with a few more points.
Final score St Michaels 1:22(25), Suncroft 2:09(15).
The half time break came at the right time for St Michaels and wrong time for Suncroft as Suncroft were well on top and building a lead. The half time whistle gave St Michaels time to regroup and refocus took the momentum away from Suncroft. The goal at the start of the second half completed the swing and Suncroft couldn’t get back in the game. St Michaels were sharper, playing their fourth competitive game in four weeks while Suncroft were after a three week break from competitive football.
On the day, with all factors considered, St Michaels were deserving winners with an impressive work rate for every player throughout the game and a high level of speed, skill and teamwork across the panel.
Best of luck to St Michaels in the next round. Thank you to the Suncroft ladies for a great year. Thanks to great number of supporters that traveled to Meath for the game.
Suncroft Panel: Rebecca McGuirk, Paula Brown(C), Muireann Fagan, Ciara Fennelly, Eve Kehoe(1), Chloe Foy, Rebecca Coogan, Trina Duggan(1:01), Megan Troy, Aislinn Dooley(1:01f), Ellen Dowling(0:02,1f), Rebecca Johnson, Carla Ennis(0:04), Nicole Dooley, Colette Keon, Caoimhe Doyle, Michelle McCormack, Sophie Hobbs, Aine Troy, Aisling Connolly, Ellen Enright, Risa Ennis. Management: Deirdre Hurley, Kevin Brannock. Co-ordinator: Rita Kehoe.