Match report Ballyboughal v Ranelagh Gaels
- Sep 09,2017
NEW IRELAND ASSURANCE DUBLIN JUNIOR ‘D’ CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
By Daire Walsh
It was the proverbial game of two halves at Lawless Memorial Park on Friday evening, but with Katelyn O’Brien and Caroline Brennan in sparkling form, Ballyboughal eventually secured the Dublin Junior ‘D’ Ladies Football Championship title at the expense of Ranelagh Gaels.
Ballyboughal looked set for victory when they brought a commanding 3-7 to 1-2 cushion into the interval, but thanks largely to a magnificent individual display by centre-forward Yvonne Twomey, Ranelagh gave themselves a fighting chance after the restart.
As the final whistle approached, the prospect of a remarkable comeback from the southsiders was becoming a distinct possibility, before Ballyboughal ultimately held out for a hard-earned triumph.
As recently as August 2nd, Ranelagh had played out a thrilling Group B encounter with their final opponents, and returned from Ballyboughal with two points to spare (3-11 to 2-12). There was a different dimension to their latest meeting, though, and Shane Minihane’s charges were already left with a mountain to climb during the early moments of the contest.
A second-minute effort by Ballyboughal corner-forward Sally Farrell found its way to Louise Fagan, who palmed the ball past opposition netminder Niamh Fitzgerald. This was an ideal opening for the northside outfit, and after she got on the end of an incisive move just two minutes later, O’Brien kicked to the net in clinical style.
Louise Wogan’s point from the next attack ensured that Ballyboughal were already seven points to the good, but Ranelagh soon reduced their deficit with the help of the inspirational Twomey. She raised a white flag at the end of an excellent solo run on six minutes, and following a neat pass by Aisling Ni Luing, she also registered a much-needed three-pointer.
This was a major tonic for the Bushy Park side in an action-packed opening to the proceedings, but Ballyboughal soon reinforced their superiority. Wing-back Kate Fagan broke forward to add her name to the scoresheet, and a subsequent long-distance point from Brennan was supplemented by further scores from Farrell and Louise Fagan.
This scoring sequence was finally halted by a routine Twomey free on the stroke of 20 minutes, but after the Ranelagh scorer-in-chief was uncharacteristically off-target from another placed-ball attempt, Ballyboughal created greater daylight between the teams. An earlier strike by Louise Fagan had been deflected over the bar, and when she intercepted a short kick-out from Fitzgerald, O’Brien raced through for a stunning 27th-minute goal - her second of the half.
As a result, Ballyboughal were 11 points in front at the midway stage in this decider, and they were seeking to continue their dominance with an early second-half score courtesy of Wogan. They remained in control after a brilliant Twomey poiny was cancelled out by her opposite number Brennan, but as the half developed, the Ranelagh forward line were beginning to make serious headway.
The reliable Twomey once again split the posts, before full-forward Edel O’Brien released some of the scoring burden off her shoulders with a well-taken major eight minutes into the half. This suddenly provided Ranelagh with the momentum they needed, and with Ballyboughal finding scores hard to come by, they were breathing fresh life into the game.
Unanswered scores through skipper Deirdre Breathnach and Twomey (two) cut the gap to just five points, but Ballyboughal were able to settle once more with a 25-metre free from O’Brien.
However, Ranelagh refused to throw in the towel, and Aoife Buckley pounced for her side’s third goal 13 minutes from the end of normal time. This set up a tense finale to this curtain-raiser in the home of Fingallians GAA, and though a brace of wayward frees by Twomey released some of the pressure on Ballyboughal, Ranelagh continued to pose problems for their defence.
Ciara Spencer produced a wonderful save from Edel O’Brien on 53 minutes, and Twomey then brought her personal haul up to 1-7 to bring the margin down to two.
This presented Ranelagh with a fighting chance heading into second-half stoppage-time, but despite going all of 17 minutes without a score, O’Brien placed the outcome beyond doubt with a coolly-converted free from a right-hand angle.
Scorers for Ballyboughal: Katelyn O’Brien 2-2 (0-2f), Louise Fagan 1-2, Caroline Brennan 0-3, Louise Wogan 0-2, Kate Fagan, Sally Farrell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Ranelagh Gaels: Yvonne Twomey 1-7 (0-3f), Edel O’Brien, Aoife Buckley 1-0 each, Deirdre Breathnach 0-1.
BALLYBOUGHAL: Ciara Spencer; Sinead Arthurs, Megan Gannon, Katie Flynn; Kate Fagan, Kate Downey, Sinead O’Keefe; Aoife Hennessy, Aoibhne Counihan; Louise Fagan, Caroline Brennan, Louise Wogan; Niamh Counihan, Katelyn O’Brien, Sally Farrell. Subs: Sayra Lynch for Counihan (50), Carla Fay for Farrell (60), Alannah Newman for Flynn (62).
RANELAGH GAELS: Niamh Fitzgerald; Sinead Lennon, Emer O’Mahony, Emma Kiernan; Brid Firtear, Susan Lynch, Orla Cavanagh; Deirdre Breathnach, Aisling Kearney; Aisling Ni Luing, Yvonne Twomey, Hannah Butler; Elaine Buckley, Edel O’Brien, Aoife Buckley. Subs: Louise Connolly for Cavanagh (53), Ashland Gilgan for A Buckley (57).
Referee: Derek McKittrick (Fingallians).