DUBLIN LGFA SFC FINAL
In his programme notes, the Dublin Ladies’ Football chairperson, Joe Keane, remembered John Sheridan, the man that started the journey in Stillorgan. On a rain-lashed, muddy pitch all those years before.
And on an enchanting September Friday night, all these years later, Kilmacud Crokes won their first Go-Ahead Dublin Senior Ladies’ Football Championship title.
How John would have savoured the moment – Patsy Murphy presenting the trophy to the Crokes captain, Emer Sweeney, the cup that honours the memory of Patsy’s brother, Michael.
Emer too highlighted John’s contribution. There were tears in the eyes, and joy in the heart.
A big crowd gathered on the pitch to watch the presentation. Standing on a surface that was like the 18th green over the wall at the Clontarf Golf Club.
History was written all over the turf. It was the first time that Thomas Davis had stepped on the red carpet. It won’t be the last.
They contributed so much to such a memorable occasion. Which began with Grace Horan, from the Man O War club, singing the National Anthem. Beautifully.
Up in the gantry was another noted figure, Denise Masterson, the first Dublin skipper to lift the Brendan Martin Cup.
Joining her on commentary duties was Ciara Trant, the accomplished goalkeeper who has a bagful of All-Ireland medals.
Michelle Davoren also played for the Dubs. She reads the game like Kathleen Watkins would recite one of Patrick Kavanagh’s poems.
She played at full-forward for Crokes. And so much early ball came her way. She turned every crumb to gold.
She clipped over the first point of the game within seconds, the ball bouncing on top of the bar at the score-board end. And, quickly, the Páirc de Búrca side were up and sprinting.
They took a firm hold. They were four points to one in front when they scored their goal on 16 minutes. And what a goal it was.
Davoren’s intelligence, and quick hands, again opened a door. Julia Buckley steamed in from the right of the posts. River dancing her way around several tackles before planting the ball deep in the sack.
Yet the Tallaght team crept back into it. At half-time, it was 1-7 to 0-4. The Kiltipper side grew even taller in the second period.
Just a point in it as the game ticked into its five minutes of injury-time. Crokes were on the back foot. But, in the 62nd minute, they put together a wonderful move. It led to Cassie Sultan breaking through. Her shot found the roof of the net.
A Ciara McGuigan free left just a goal in it once more. And in the night’s last breath, a high, dangerous ball, from the left, dropped on the edge of the Crokes square. Up went the cluster of hands. It could have gone anywhere. It went wide. Crokes were home. And happy.
Scorers - Kilmacud Crokes: J Buckley 1-1; K Murray 0-4 (3f); C Sultan 1-0; M Davoren 0-2; L Kane, M Jennings 0-1 each. Thomas Davis: C McGuigan 0-5 (3f); M Deeney 0-4 (3f); N Kirby, S Deegan, R Newell 0-1 each.
KILMACUD CROKES: D Gower; P Greene, E Sweeney, C Regan; L Magee, M Lamb, A Kane; G Kos, K McDaid; L Kane, E Rutledge, M Jennings; K Murray, M Davoren, J Buckley. Subs: C Sultan, A Conroy, D Duke.
THOMAS DAVIS: C Staunton; C MacCabe, R McTavish, E Whelan; E Phillips, C Casey, T Quinn Corbally; O Carey, N Kirby; J Sweeney, S Deegan, L Young; M Deeney, R Newell, C McGuigan. Subs: O McGuigan, N McGoldrick, E Phillips.
MENTORS – Kilmacud: P O’Donoghue, P Ward, T Jennings, I Callaghan, D Collins, D Buckley, E Moran, K Kirby. Thomas Davis: P Boland, B McNulty, G Deasy, S Blanchfield, P Wright, M McGrath, M Sheehy.
REFEREE: David Murphy (St James’s Gaels/An Caisleán).
WIDES – Kilmacud: 4 (3+1); Davis: 5 (3+2).
CONDITONS: Dry, cool, still night.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Michelle Davoren (Kilmacud Crokes).