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Ladies’ football: St Sylvester’s take big step on Leinster road with win over Carlow champs

Locals arrive to see the Golden Boot grace Broomfield


Sinéad Aherne with some young Syls fans at the Leinster IFC clash at Broomfield

Sinéad Aherne with some young Syls fans at the Leinster IFC clash at Broomfield

Sinéad Aherne with some young Syls fans at the Leinster IFC clash at Broomfield

The DART to Malahide. They were swimming in the icy water at Seapoint.

The village was bustling, getting ready for the festive season. Three flags were flying from the St Sylvester’s clubhouse – those of Syls, Ireland and the Dubs.

On Church Road, the Hilltop Stores had a friendly welcome. Further on, a house had the Christmas lights up already. And over the roof-tops peered the Broomfield floodlights.

On a grey and damp Saturday afternoon, a decent crowd arrived to see the Syls in their opening assignment in the Leinster Intermediate Championship against the Carlow champions, Bennekerry Tinryland.

And at the end of the hour, the electronic scoreboard, sponsored by Gibney’s, showed the hosts had progressed, 1-16 to 0-9.

The home club had to work for it. Bennekerry Tinryland had the ZuCar golden boot, worn by Clíodhna Ní Shé, the visitors’ full-forward, the nation’s top scorer.

She scored 9-19 for Carlow in the All-Ireland Junior Championship, where she also earned the TG4 Player’s Player of the Year award.

She works hard. During the second half, she made a timely intervention near her goal, foiling a dangerous-looking move.

The hosts were ahead at the break, 1-8 to 0-5. Sinéad Aherne got the goal. Sinéad wears two golden boots. And she was enhancing her tally early in the second period.

She scored the opening point of the second half with her right foot. And shortly after that, she curled another over with her left boot.

One of the highlights of the contest was Niamh McEvoy’s catch after half-time. She soared into the clouds. Slipped a pass to Aherne, whose shot rocked the bar. The rebound fell to Niamh Harney, who guided the ball over the black spot.

Nicole Owens struck one of the finest points of the duel. The referee, Paul Burke, kept the action flowing. And the players, and the spectators, appreciated that on a winter’s day when even the seagulls looked cold.

Malahide manager is happy as Saints progress

The bottom line. “We got over the line.” So declared St Sylvester’s manager Anthony Cooke.

The end of Saturday’s Leinster Intermediate Championship tie in Malahide. And the Syls boss walked over to the Carlow champs. He had good words to say.

“We had the highest of respect for Bennekerry Tinryland,” said Anthony. “They are a very good side. They set up well.

“The team they beat in the Carlow final, O’Leighlin’s, were in last season’s Leinster final, so we knew what to expect.

“They are a strong team, I told them. It was our toughest test of the season.”

And now, next Saturday, Sylvester’s will have another one – away to Laois champs Ballyroan.

“They won the Laois final comfortably, so they are an impressive side. It’s a short turnaround now. It’s all about momentum at this time of the season.”

It was three weeks since the Malahide club produced a top-class display to win the Dublin title.

“It took us a while to get into the game. Not having a game for a few weeks showed,” added Anthony. “But we grew into it and were happy overall with the display. We had to put a shift in to get through.”

Meanwhile, on Sunday in Kildare, the seven in-a-row Dublin senior champs, Foxrock Cabinteely, had to show all their resolve to overcome Eadestown in the first round of the Leinster Senior Championship.

Trailing at half-time by two points, Fox Cab again produced their customary strong second half to win by 0-12 to 0-10.

They’ll now host Tullamore next Sunday in the Leinster semi-final.

Orlagh belongs among the all-star elite

A bright, dry evening when the number 75 pulled up outside the Ballinteer Community School. Orlagh Nolan was playing.

The Go-Ahead Dublin Intermediate Football Championship against St Maur’s. Maur’s won. Orlagh (picturesd) never gave up, never gave in.

It was the performance worthy of an All-Star. And now she has one. And The Freedom of Marlay Park.

The All-Star awards are, of course, given for performances for the county. But it was the same Ballinteer resolve she brought to the Dublin jersey this season.

The weather was significantly colder when Na Fianna pipped Kilmacud Crokes in one of the games of the season at Bray Emmets. Their first stop on the way to the Go-Ahead Dublin Senior Championship final.

Leah Caffrey and Hannah Tyrrell shone brightly under the lights on that Bray night, and they too have made the All-Star Roll of Honour.

The Caffrey name is one of the most distinguished of all down Glasnevin way. And any time Hannah steps into the boots, no matter what the sport, the game is all the better for her presence.

In the club or county colours, once an All-Star, always an All-Star. Dublin have had more than a few on the blue carpet. More to follow.