Ladies Adult League Division 1 Final Dunganny
April 14th 2018
Dunboyne v Simonstown
Half Time: Dunboyne 0-4 Simonstown 0-8.
Full Time: Dunboyne 2-8 Simonstown 0-13
Referee: Paul Brogan
Frankie went to Hollywood, Dunboyne and Simonstown went to Dunganny and two tribes went to war. Those two outfits have battled over the years. They say familiarity breeds contempt, it can also breed respect. And that’s what we got today, respect, two teams coming to town to play football, winner talking all; the 2017 league final was at stake with its attendant silver wear.
A strong wind swept down the middle of Dunganny; surely it rivals Everest’s lower slopes for the chill factor. Simonstown played with the backing elements and looked good from the off. Where the Sky Blue Navan Ladies were in top gear early, Dunboyne were selecting the wrong gears. In truth the Simonstown ladies had a vice like grip on their opponents as Aisling Cassidy, Kelsey Nesbitt, Lauryn Grier and Kelly Harris knitted sweet moves that had Dunboyne on the back foot.
At the other end of the pitch a terrific battle was underway between county team mates but now rivals, Niamh Lister and Vikki Wall. It was mesmerizing and initially Lister held the upper hand, an early injury to Shelly Melia wasn’t what the Dunboyne doctors ordered. Shelly’s clever linking play was needed due to the absence of Julie Kavanagh, Sinead Hackett and the youthful Emma Duggan. Still Dunboyne clung on, resolute defending and occasional forays where the experienced Aoife Thompson and Fiona O Neill needed all their guile.
Essentially Simonstown were outscoring their opponents two to one. Lauryn Greer flung over a massive point on the 28th minute that Maurice Fitzgerald would have been proud of. However the back six of Dunboyne were preventing the Sky Blue Wave from breaching their net. Patient build up was met with equally patient defence. Half time came and the question was simple. Were the Simonstown innings good enough to declare?
The second half began with the Navan ladies very much on the front foot. Dunboyne were rattled. Unenforced errors popped up. Balls went long when short possession was needed, and were given short when the good old fashioned hoof was the requisite. Simonstown clipped another few points and now Dunboyne were looking at a scenario that had a goal gone in, it was game over. Enter Alison O Sullivan with a point blank wonder save. Suddenly the play now moved into the Simonstown defence. And the balance of power in the Lister Wall battle shifted back to the Dunboyne woman.
Still Dunboyne made it hard for themselves. They now had possession as Simonstown tired. But they kicked wide after wide. Most teams sap when that happens, “it’s not to be” they think. Not Dunboyne. Suddenly a few slalom runs by Wall where she interlinked with O’Neill and Fiona found the net, not once but twice. Aoife Thompson showed all her experience and composure to keep the foot on the gas before she succumbed to injury. Indeed if we return to the first half around the 11th and 12th minutes, it was those two wise ladies who tacked on vital points with consummate patience.
Now we came down the home straight. The influential Cassidy faded a little and Dee Blaney and Alison Jones took centre stage. Wall drove into space, O Neill was available and leadership was aboard. Victory was literally snatched from the jaws of defeat. It could have been Simonstown but it was Dunboyne and in fairness the player of the match award went to Fiona O Neill. It could have gone to Nesbitt or Harris or Byrne or Thompson but Fiona O’Neill showed that whilst it took a little time to set her sights, once set, they were unerring. Goals wins games, Dunboyne won the cup.
This game had both sets of supporters on their feet to the end. One couldn’t take eyes of the match. It was as Alex Ferguson said, “squeaky bum” time. All thirty girls and subs did their clubs proud. None gave less than 100%. Katie Bellew, Niamh Lister, Aisling Cassidy, along with the early named forwards for Simonstown were the pick of a fine bunch. Dunboyne had Alison O’Sullivan stand up when required, Carol Keenan shepherded her defence , Claire Barker and Rachel Mcdermott their usual understated performance, the half backs worked their socks off, and like the Navan side, Dunboyne forwards are the front wheel drive of the team.
This was game that exposed young girls to a standard of the highest calling. Ultimately not alone will their clubs benefit but so too will Meath. Chairman of the county board Fearghal O hAthairne presented Dunboyne captain Annie Moffat with the cup. In his presentation Fearghal correctly noted the fine display by both sides. The selection of Fiona O’Neill as Player of the Match also included his correct assumption that it was a tight but deserved call for Fiona. In accepting her award, Fiona was a role model for all the fine girls from both teams, modest, humble and top class players.
Dunboyne: Alison O Sullivan, Rachel McDermott, Carol Keenan, Claire Barker; Beibhinn Hickey , Elaine Doyle , Annie Moffat capt; Dee Blaney & Alison Jones: Amy Bermingham , Shelly Melia Aisling Flynn; Fiona O Neill , Vikki Wall, Aoife Thompson. Subs Katie Bermingham, Aoife Boylan, Meadbh O Doherty and Niamh Williams.
Scorers Dunboyne: F O Neill 2-2, A Thompson 0-4, V Wall, A Jones 0-1 each .
Simonstown: Naoise DeGraaff, Karen Foran Joint capt, Katie Bellew, Emma Cassidy, Niamh Lister Joint capt, Niamh Sheridan, Aisling Cassidy, Ailbhe McHugh, Niamh Cassidy, Kelsey Nesbitt, Lauryn Grier, Regina Hand, Kelly Harris, Molly Byrne, Eleanor Lane.
Subs: Rachael Flynn, Jackie Shiels and Eve Wardick.
Simonstown: K. Harris 0-4, M. Byrne 0-4, L. Grier 0-3 and K. Nesbitt 0-2.