Blackwater girls come out on top in keenly contested final
Blackwater 3-5 Rathnure 2-3
The standard was high in this year’s Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Rackard League Roinn ‘C’ County Football Final where spectators saw Blackwater and Rathnure both push each other to their limits in a bid to land the title.
Rathnure were the first to get off the mark when Nora Higgins won and converted a free in front of the Blackwater goal, but for the opening twenty minutes however, it was Blackwater who went on to take the upper hand. In the fourth minute, Emma Lynch sent a long range free floating into the square and this was fortunate enough to land in the back of the Rathnure net. Blackwater then continued to send in plenty of ball to their forwards and the writing looked to be on the wall for Rathnure who were being troubled by busy forwards Fiona Kelly and Marie Sutton. To give them their credit though, Rathnure were not going to give scores away easy and it took a good Jane Purcell point to eventually break their defence. Jane then began another great move moments later when she carried and passed to Katie Roche who in turn brilliantly set up Marie Sutton for a close range finish to the back of the net.
When Emma Berry put over a free in the 20th minutes to put the scores at 2-2 to 0-1 it did not look good for Rathnure but somehow they rallied and clawed their way back into the game just before halftime. Nora Higgins scored a wonderful goal when she whacked in a low and hard free that slipped right under the crossbar and almost repeated the trick soon after when she say effort clip the crossbar and go over to bring the halftime scores to 2-2 to 1-2.
Rathnure emerged for the second half a much more confident side and the game ebbed and flowed at a great pace as both teams gave their all. Mary Kate Doyle for Rathnure began to trouble the Blackwater defence with her speed and the Rathnure defence was firmly on top with players such as Eva Mooney and Aisling Breen playing at their best. In the 8th minute, Blackwater got the first score of the half when Emma Berry sent over another well taken free and Rathnure responded with a Nora Higgins point from play. Emma Rath confidently clipped over a free from out the field to extend the lead to four points before the score of the game came through Blackwater midfielder Emma Berry who soloed a considerable distance and shot from distance and lobbed the goalkeeper for Blackwater’s third goal of the game. Almost immediately after, she then set up a Marie Sutton point to bring the scores to a comfortable 3-5 to 1-3.
Stubborn Rathnure simply would not give up however and went on to raise their game further for the remaining ten minutes of the game and they got the goal they deserved in the closing moments of the game through Amy Cahill who got her toe on the end of a bouncing ball in the Blackwater square. Even though the game finished with a respectable 3-5 to 2-3 scoreline, it still did not reflect how hard Blackwater had to work to win this final and huge credit must be given to both sets of girls for their efforts in creating a tense and enjoyable final.
Blackwater: Moya Fortune, Gabrielle Martin, Fiona Bernarius, Lisa Tyrell, Isobel Carroll, Emma Rath, Ciara Dixon, Emma Berry, Jane Purcell, Fiona Kelly, Katie Roche, Marie Sutton, Amy White, Leah Rossiter, Aisling Murphy, Megan Flanagan, Siobhan Malanowski, Rose Donoghue, Tashana Hoy, Shauna Murphy, Laura Cash, Amy Kelly, Rebecca Moran, Florence Healy, Caitlin Byrne
Rathnure: Tara Murphy, Jackie Barron, Amy Cahill, Lillian O’Connor, Eva Mooney, Aisling Breen, Nora Higgins, Katie Lennon, Ciara Kehoe, Aine Moore, Shauna O’Leary, Mary Kate Doyle, Fiona Guiney, Kellie Byrne, Sophie Roche, Amy Foley, Ella Lyng
~Seán Óg Whelan