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Gaels brew up storm of goals 

LADIES FOOTBALL DIV 10B CUP

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AIlise Dowling from St James Gaels and Zoe Donohoe from Shankills battle for the loose ball. Photo: Frank McGrath

AIlise Dowling from St James Gaels and Zoe Donohoe from Shankills battle for the loose ball. Photo: Frank McGrath

Shankills Megan Ennis tries to break away from Ciara White from St James Gaels during the Adult D 10 Cup at Shankill Cliffs.Picture Credit:Frank McGrath

Shankills Megan Ennis tries to break away from Ciara White from St James Gaels during the Adult D 10 Cup at Shankill Cliffs.Picture Credit:Frank McGrath

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AIlise Dowling from St James Gaels and Zoe Donohoe from Shankills battle for the loose ball. Photo: Frank McGrath

THE Shanganagh Cliffs. Vera Lynn could have sang a song about them. The Killiney Obelisk was in the distance.

Michael Killeen looked behind the far goal and pointed to Bono’s house. At the Hill 16 end.

The DART hummed along, and there was the sound of the sea. Harry O’Crowley, the Sandyford Saint, was the man in the middle. Harry was keeping his cards dry. Like a champion poker player.

There wasn’t a cross word said. Sport was made for nights like this. Division 10B of the Dublin Ladies’ Football Go Ahead-Ireland Adult Cup.

There was such enjoyment in the air. The players happy to be out again. And back in the boots.

The result didn’t really matter. The small print on a coupon that will be long forgotten.

What counted was the effort both sides put in. And the smile on the faces when it was all over.

Jimmy Nolan of Shankill summed up the mood when he told his players at the second water-break.

“Well done. Keep it up. You are doing absolutely brilliantly.”

And so they were. They would have needed jet-skis to keep up with the Gaels. Especially their superb half-forward, Lucy Hagan.

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From the first seconds, Lucy was gliding over the turf. Enhancing her display with a wallet of scores.

Anytime she got on the ball, the Lighthouse Keepers focused the binoculars.

At the back of the Crumlin defence, Pamela Kavanagh had a stormer. Her ventures forward opened gates for her teammates.

Early on, after a surging burst, she slipped a pass to Ailise Dowling. Ailise’s high punt was dropping dangerously. But the home goalie, Eve Blunden, plucked it cleanly from the sky. Like Ciara Trant.

The Gaels’ goalie, Shauna Brady, also proved her worth with a smart stop to foil Megan O’Driscoll’s left-footed snap shot in the second half.

Megan underlined the work-rate of the hosts. At one stage, she was deep in defence helping out. Shankill’s defenders kept putting in the hard yards. Putting pressure on the ball. Making brave blocks.

“We are very pleased with the display,” noted David Hoary, manager of the Gaels. “We played some good football.

“We are improving all the time. Last season we didn’t win a match, but this season we have won two already, so that’s very encouraging.”

There will be many more wins from where this one came. There was a hunger in the Gaels’ play. An eagerness to get on the ball. And to do something with it.

They brought a good tempo to the tussle. They were always keen to push forward anytime they spotted an open window.

And on a warm, humid night, Shankill also earned their supper. Playing their part in making the fixture such an entertaining spectacle.

People out for their walks stopped and took in the view. And they weren’t looking at the sea.

The Gaels came over the M50. To the warmest of welcomes. It’s the most scenic of locations. And these two sides added even more colour to the postcard.

The Gaels’ midfielder, Ailise Dowling, ran to the Iveagh Grounds and back, and the visitors have an attacking unit that know where the posts are.

The pace of Mia Blondelle began many a promising moment for Shankill, and Zoe Donohoe brought such zest to her contribution. Shankill possess excellent footballers in full-back, Caitlin O’Donnell, and centre half-back, Caroline Stokes.

The biggest cheer of the night came as early as the 10th minute. The first goal of the hour. And it went to Shankill.

Betty O’Neill Fitzgerald’s firm left-footer dipped and dropped to the onion sack. Putting Shankill a point ahead, 1-1 to 0-3.

Betty had also scored Shankill’s opening point, but it was James’s Gaels who led at the break, 2-11 to 1-1.

Their first goal came seconds after Shankill had rustled the net. Eimear Murphy’s pass found Eryn Greene on the left and she tucked her close-range shot just inside the far post.

On 22 minutes, Hagan scored the Saints’ second goal. Her initial drive crashing back off the bar.

Eight minutes into the second period, Beibhinn Gaye, also from close range, got the third goal for James’s Gaels.

Yet five minutes later, the Shankill supporters were applauding again to salute Katie Keating’s goal.

In the last chapter, James’s Gaels began to pour the salad cream. With goals from Ruth Hayes, Ailise Dowling and Ciara White. One of the highlights of the second half was a point for Shankill from Tess Blunden. 

The last point of the duel, from Kavanagh of the Gaels, was another nugget. A golden one.

SCORERS
ST JAMES’S GAELS: L Hagan 1-9 (0-1f), A Dowling, R Hayes 1-2 each, B Gaye, E Greene, C White 1-0 each, P Kavanagh, E Murphy 0-1 each.
SHANKILL: K Keating, B O’Neill Fitzgerald 1-1 each, T Blunden 0-1.

ST JAMES’S GAELS: S Brady; S Hoary, P Kavanagh, T Forde; M Harvey, L Breen, B Gaye; A Dowling, L Dowling; L Hagan, A Hoary, E Murphy; R Hayes, E Greene, R Tysom. Sub who played: C White.

SHANKILL: E Blunden; M Ennis, C O’Donnell, E Ó Dúlacháin; M Blondelle, C Stokes, E Hocking; A Sheehy, K Keating; Z Donohoe, M Davy, A Goggins; E McGrane, B O’Neill Fitzgerald, T Blunden. Subs who played: M O’Driscoll, R Owens, L Nyland, Z Murray.

MENTORS
ST JAMES’S GAELS: David Hoary, Eoin Darcy, Shauna Brady.
SHANKILL: Jimmy Nolan, Jen Ní Mhathúna.

REF: Harry O’Crowley (Naomh Olaf).

WIDES
ST JAMES’S GAELS: 16 (13+3).
SHANKILL: 5 (4+1).
CONDITIONS: Warm, pleasant evening. The odd spill of rain.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Lucy Hagan (St James’s Gaels).


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