Dublin Ladies AFL4 final
RUSH-hour traffic. All roads led to Farnham Drive.
Down in the village, there was a poster advertising Finglas Tidy Towns. The Parish has never looked better. The pitch tightly shaven. The whitewash glistening.
The facilities getting better by the day. The ball wall was busy, and the new pitch is on the way.
The place was buzzing. With kids and adults. The venue carrying as much energy as Jumping Johnny Peters!
A big crowd gathered on the terrace to watch the Go-Ahead Ladies’ Football Division 4 league final. A bright, sunlit evening, but a stiff breeze made life difficult for the players.
All were enjoying the spectacle. Then, on 22 minutes, referee Kevin Doherty pulled a calf muscle and was unable to continue. It looked like the fixture might have to be replayed.
Fortunately, among the spectators was Trinity Gaels referee Peter Trimble. He hurried home to collect his gear as the players stayed warm.
Trimble returned in double-quick time, and the game resumed. As good as it was before.
“I was happy to do it,” said Trimble. “I live locally, so it was no bother to nip home and get changed.”
At the end of the match, he won the admiration of all. Yet his only concern was to wish a speedy return from injury for his colleague.
At half-time, the electronic scoreboard told that Erin’s Isle were ahead, 1-3 to 0-4.
“Going in two points up gave us a lot of confidence,” noted David Higgins.
“We defended stoutly against the breeze. And it was a big bonus for us that we didn’t concede a goal before half-time. That was important.
“With the wind at our backs, our belief grew then. It’s a great achievement for the squad. Promoted to Division 3 now. They have worked hard for it. And they deserve it.”
The Isles half-back line excelled – Saoirse Delaney, Fiona Daly and Amie Trawally. Their right corner-forward Kate Watson was in tremendous form.
She has a terrific turn of pace. Putting defenders on the back foot with her twisting and turning. Gillian McCluskey showed commendable vision.
She created the opening goal for Watson at the entrance end in the sixth minute, releasing her with a clever, sharp pass. Watson skipped clear to strike a shot deep into the onion sack.
Isles would have scored a couple of more goals in the contest only for the Foxrock goalkeeper Ellen Dooley. She had Bostik on the gloves, foiling McCluskey of two certain goals with excellent saves in either half.
Centre half-back Fionnuala Hogan worked hard for the Fox Cabs. Rebecca Tonge was assured on the frees.
Yet it was Isles who dominated after the break. Thrilling the home support with the quality of their passing and movement.
One of the best points of the tussle summed up their growing confidence. Midfielder Nicole Mitchell gathered possession deep in her own defence.
She found Megan Cluskey. Cluskey slipped a pass to Watson, who set up McCluskey to finish the flourishing move in style.
It was McCluskey who scored Isles’ second goal eight minutes into the second half. Steph Cluskey slipped her a pass and McCluskey’s steaming left-footer nearly took the tiles off the roof.
Just before the end, she was inches away from another goal as her thundering drive flashed past the post. Bringing an ‘ooh, aah’ reaction from the crowd.
By then, the Fox Cabs had produced two goals. The first arrived on 53 minutes when, from close range, Olivia Crossan tucked in.
And then, in injury-time, Rachel Mahon converted a penalty with assurance. Rewarding her own splendid performance.
Yet at that stage, the day was done. Isles are moving up in the world. Division 3 will be all the better for that.
SCORERS – Erin’s Isle: K Watson 1-7 (0-1f); G McCluskey 1-1; M Cluskey 0-3. Foxrock Cabinteely: R Mahon 1-2 (1-0 pen); O Crossan 1-0; R Tonge 0-2 (2f); E Dowling 0-1.
ERIN’S ISLE: K Martin; M Hoey, A Wilson, T Nulty; S Delaney, F Daly, A Trawally; N Mitchell, N Dunne; R Wood, M Cluskey, C O’Toole; K Watson, G McCluskey, S Cluskey. Subs: T Seery, L Wheatley, S Delaney, S O’Connor, K McManus.
FOXROCK CABINTEELY: E Dooley; K McGarry, E Hughes, B Jackson; A O’Kelly, F Hogan, E Barry; R Mahon, A Spain; J Kane, O Crossan, R Tonge; J Burke, I Jackson, E Dowling. Subs: S Downing, E Ivie, S Kane.
MENTORS –Erin’s Isle: D Higgins, G O’Shea. Foxrock Cabinteely: G McGarry, L Simpson.
REF: Kevin Doherty (Garda).
WIDES – Erin’s Isle: 12 (7+5); Foxrock Cabinteely: 6 (5+1).
CONDITIONS: Bright, breezy evening.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Kate Watson (Erin’s Isle).