Match report St Maurs v Clontarf
- Sep 02,2017
NEW IRELAND ASSURANCE DUBLIN INTERMEDIATE LADIES FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
By Daire Walsh
Olivia Leonard produced a star display at Fingallians GAA on Friday evening, when St Maur’s claimed the Dublin Intermediate Ladies Football Championship crown at the expense of Clontarf.
After losing out in the last two finals to Parnell’s (2015) and Clanna Gael Fontenoy (2016) respetively, Clontarf were favourites to prevail in the Swords venue - against a Maur’s side that were promoted from the junior ranks last year.
However, with Leonard’s impressive contribution being supplemented by the dead-ball accuracy of both Niamh Carthy and Naomi Clare - in addition to goals in either half by half-forward Laura Carthy - the Rush outfit eventually secured back-to-back championship titles.
The two sides had met at St Anne’s Park back in May, and courtesy of their 6-17 to 2-15 success in that encounter, it was perhaps understandable that Clontarf were the favourites heading into this clash. Dublin footballer Sarah McCaffrey (sister of Jack and daughter of team mentor Noel) was held in reserve because of an ongoing injury, but ‘Tarf had an abundance of experience throughout the pitch.
Siobhan Kennedy, Ciara Fenton and skipper Carrie O’Connor all won the Junior Championship with the club back in 2004, and they were joined by another high-profile member of that team. Full-forward Fiona Coghlan was the Ireland women’s rugby captain when they secured the RBS Six Nations title in 2013, but after her retirement at the end of the following year’s World Cup, she returned to the Clontarf set-up.
However, since bouncing back from that opening day loss, Maur’s have impressed in the intermediate ranks. They broke the deadlock through a Leonard point with just 45 seconds gone on the clock, and even though ‘Tarf replied with a similar effort from Laurna Reilly, their opponents showed that they meant business with a quick scoring burst.
Laura Carthy flicked the ball over advancing Clontarf custodian Fidelma Cosgrove to record the opening goal of the tie, and this was followed by a routine fifth-minute free by Niamh Carthy. This left Clontarf with a bit of ground to make up in the early moments, but by the 17th minute of the half, they had moved into the ascendancy.
Despite passing up some good opportunities, Fiona Skelly and Cavan native Reilly both found the target, and Margaret Mohan was then on hand to produced a stunning solo goal that was just beyond the reach of Francesca Towers.
Clontarf were expected to push on at this point, but a well-organised Maur’s ensured that they couldn’t build momentum in the remaining minutes of the period. A brace of frees from Niamh Carthy got them back on level terms on the stroke of 20 minutes, and even though a second Skelly point left them trailing by the slenderest of margins, they issued another sucker punch to their northisde rivals.
From all of 25 metres, Niamh Carthy fired to the roof of the Clontarf net, and thanks in no small part to a long-range free by Naomi Clare, Maur’s held a three-point advantage (2-5 to 1-5) at the midway stage.
Clontarf were still firmly in the reckoning for the second-tier silverware when the action resumed, and substitute Sinead Quigley (who had replaced Coghlan towards the end of the first-half) hit the post from a tight angle on the right-hand side.
The dependable Reilly (who hit all of her frees off the ground) added another placed-ball score three minutes into the half, and though the versatile Leonard contributed a brilliant point from the right-wing, the 36th-minute introduction of McCaffrey appeared to spark life into the ‘Tarf challenge.
She immediately made her presence felt with some strong runs inside the Maur’s half, and after she was fouled close to goal, Reilly cut the deficit down to two points. Yet, Leonard - who spent large portions of the game in the inside line - registered her third score at the end of a fine team move, and her excellent link-up play with Laura Carthy provided the platform for the latter’s second goal on 40 minutes.
With their tails now up, Leonard and Clare found the range once again, and placed Maur’s firmly into the driving seat. Clontarf finally responded with an excellent Mohan point from play, only for the increasingly-prominent Clare to cancelled out her effort at the end of the third-quarter.
Clontarf were now left with a mountain to climb, and though Reilly’s 0-2 salvo gave them a fighting chance of success, the Maur’s defence made it difficult for them to create clear-cut goal-scoring chances.
They certainly needed to conjure up at least one major if they wanted to turn the tide in their favour, but a point apiece from Niamh Carthy and Clare effectively placed the outcome beyond doubt.
Clontarf persevered with their challenge in the dying moments, but with Reilly’s eighth point proving to be their only score in this juncture, it was the St Maur’s faithful that celebrated a magnificent triumph.\\\\\\\\
Scorers for St Maur’s: Niamh Carthy 1-4 (0-4f), Laura Carthy 2-0, Naomi Clare (2f), Olivia Leonard 0-4 each.
Scorers for Clontarf: Laurna Reilly 0-8 (7f), Margaret Mohan 1-1, Fiona Skelly 0-2.
CLONTARF: Fidelma Cosgrove; Martina Coen, Siobhan Kennedy, Ciara Fenton; Sarah Fagan, Katie Murray, Heather Bolger; Carrie O’Connor, Caroline Roban; Sarah Murphy, Margaret Mohan, Fiona Skelly; Caoimhe O’Connor, Fiona Coghlan, Laurna Reilly. Subs: Caoimhe Troy, Aoibhe Bell, Laura Bourke, Aoife Crowley, Ciara Dunlea, Sophie Farrelly, Niamh Hetherton, Hannah McLaughlin, Sarah McCaffrey, Sinead Quigley, Roisin Troy.
ST MAUR’S: Francesca Towers; Sally Ann O’Brien, Nicola Thorne, Sarah Louise Brogan; Gemma Thorne, Shauna McGuinness, Niamh Conway; Eadaoin McGuinness, Olivis Leonard; Ann Casey, Naomi Clare, Laura Carthy; Jessica Kelly, Niamh Carthy, Megan Foley. Subs: Dara Bogan, Niamh Tynan, Leona Harford, Jane Butterly, Anna Goody, Kate Shanahan, Megan Benson, Alison McGuinness, Dervla Ryan, Molly Moran, Sinead Moran, Eimear Conway, Fiona Keegan, Aoife Gaughan.