Match Report Premier Club Stars

  • Feb 12,2023




By Daire Walsh

The White Stars stood tall at the DCU Sportsgrounds on Sunday afternoon to secure bragging rights in the Dublin LGFA Premier Club Stars match with a seven-point triumph at the expense of the Navy Stars.

Thanks in no small part to goals from Rebecca McDonnell and Julia Buckley, the White Stars were firmly in the ascendancy at the break. Their Navy counterparts certainly made a fight of it in the second period, but their opponents ultimately held out to claim top honours.

Supplementing the 1-4 haul by McDonnell, Buckley (1-1) and Thomas Davis attacker Ciara McGuigan (0-3) also made strong contributions for the victorious White Stars. McGuigan’s sister Orlagh amassed the same personal tally for the Navy Stars, for whom Michelle Davoren (0-3) and Caitriona Murphy (1-0) all did their utmost.

In a new venture, this game was exclusively for club players - albeit a number of them have donned the Sky Blue jersey at inter-county level in the past. Lining up alongside Ciara McGuigan for the White Stars was her Davis’ club-mate and multiple Celtic Cross winner Olwen Carey, while there were several others on show who have featured for Dublin at the highest grade of ladies football.

It was a bright opening to the contest from both sides with Leona Barry and Ciara McGuigan finding the range for the White Stars to cancel out Navy points by Shannon Russell and Emma Lawlor. The game initially continued in this vein as the McGuigan siblings - Orlagh and Ciara - swapped scores in quick succession.

However, it was the White Stars who ultimately stamped their authority on the game and found themselves eight points in front by the end of the opening quarter. A Ciara McGuigan free had squeezed them into the ascendancy, before the powerful McDonnell raced away for a superb solo three-pointer on 13 minutes.

She followed up with a point via excellent approach work by Ciara McGuigan and a second goal then arrived moments later when Julia Buckley (a key figure for Kilmacud Crokes on their march to the All-Ireland senior club championship semi-final in 2022) fired home after her first effort on the target was saved by Navy netminder Niamh Kirby of O’Dwyers.

They held onto their buffer when Niamh Willis cancelled out a point from Buckley’s Crokes compatriot Michelle Davoren, but the Navy Stars received a lifeline when Cuala midfielder Caitriona Murphy pounced on a loose ball in the 17th-minute and rattled the net in clinical style.

Orlagh McGuigan subsequently added to her tally, but with McDonnell and Buckley doing likewise, the White Stars were 2-8 to 1-5 ahead at the midway stage in the action.

Amongst others, Templeogue Synge Street’s Jennifer O’Dell - sister of Dublin men’s senior footballer Lorcan O’Dell - was introduced off the bench for the Navy Stars after the resumption. After linking up to good effect with Davoren, she kicked a 35th-minute point to edge her side back into contention.

A brace of Davoren points left just three between the teams heading into the closing 20 minutes of play, but the White Stars maintained a potent attacking threat. After wing-back and skipper Amy Gibbons showed great composure to kick a score, McDonnell (who was re-introduced to the fray having originally been withdrawn at half-time) posted another fine point to enhance her already impressive personal haul.

Another substitute, Ailene Fanning of Man-O-War, split the uprights to keep Navy Stars in the reckoning. Yet the White Stars remained in control and enjoyed another purple patch inside the final-quarter.

Ava Cunningham did have a shot superbly turned away by Kirby, but Amelia Ryan, McDonnell, Edel Nyland and Gibbons (her second) all registered points to give the White Stars a firm stranglehold on the scoreboard.

Orlagh McGuigan did kick her third point for the Navy Stars late on and while it wasn’t enough to get them back into the hunt, this game proved to be an excellent occasion for all those involved.

Scorers - White Stars: Rebecca McDonnell 1-4, Julia Buckley 1-1, Ciara McGuigan 0-3 (2f), Amy Gibbons 0-2, Niamh Willis, Leona Barry, Edel Nyland, Amelia Ryan 0-1 each. Navy Stars: Orlagh McGuigan (2f), Michelle Davoren 0-3 each, Caitriona Murphy 1-0, Emma Lawlor, Shannon Russell, Jennifer O’Dell, Ailene Fanning 0-1 each.

WHITE STARS: Amy Mahony (Castleknock); Eimear Joyce (Raheny), Tarah O’Sullivan (Foxrock/Cabinteely), Louise Mahony (Castleknock); Faye O’Connell Bell (Foxrock/Cabinteely), Lara Marry (O’Dwyer’s), Amy Gibbons (O’Toole’s); Olwen Carey (Thomas Davis), Karla Conway (Na Fianna); Carla Fitzsimons (Raheny), Rebecca McDonnell (Clanna Gael Fontenoy), Niamh Willis (St Brendan’s); Julia Buckley (Kilmacud Crokes), Leona Barry (Fingallians), Ciara McGuigan (Thomas Davis). Subs: Elaine Egan (Ballinteer St John’s), Ciara Duffy (Ballyboden St Enda’s), Alanah Jones (Kilmacud Crokes), Edel Nyland (Clontarf), Ava Cunningham (Clontarf), Emma Fallon (Lucan Sarsfields), Katie O’Sullivan (St Sylvester’s), Saoirse Kavanagh (Skerries Harps), Amy O’Carroll (St Peregrine’s), Amelia Ryan (St Brigid’s).

NAVY STARS: Niamh Kirby (O’Toole’s); Cliona Fitzpatrick (St Sylvester’s), Emer Sweeney (Kilmacud Crokes), Jenny Hickey (Castleknock); Hannah Murphy (Ballyboden St Enda’s), Aisling Kane (Parnell’s), Sinead Moran (Naomh Maur); Caitriona Murphy (Cuala), Niamh Keane (Clann Mhuire); Orlagh McGuigan (Thomas Davis), Faye Kearney (St Brendan’s), Lauren Kearney (St Jude’s); Emma Lawlor (Parnell’s), Michelle Davoren (Kilmacud Crokes), Shannon Russell (Erin’s Isle). Subs: Louise Fagan (Ballyboughal), Sinead O’Driscoll (Kilmacud Crokes), Kira Bryan (Na Fianna), Grace Crotty (Naomh Olaf), Sarah Keohane (Scoil Ui Chonaill), Ava Clancy (Kilmacud Crokes), Cliodhna O’Sullivan (Ballyboden St Enda’s), Jennifer O’Dell (Templeogue Synge Street), Lucy Murphy (Naomh Barrog), Ailene Fanning (Man-O-War).

Referee: David Murphy (St James Gaels/An Caislean).

POM: Rebecca McDonnell (Clanna Gael Fontenoy)