Bree 2-3 Castlebridge 0-4
After narrowly losing to Castlebridge earlier in the group stages this season, Bree served up a nice, cold plate of revenge on Wednesday last in a chilly Taghmon GAA grounds. This Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Rackard League Roinn B final was a very competitive affair from the beginning and it took the full fifty minutes to ensure the title was won.
A soft, spongy pitch coupled with dewy conditions made it very hard to play fast, running football and this resulted in a game that suited the defenders of both teams. Despite Castlebridge having a large share of the possession and territory early in the game, it was Bree midfielder Donna Murphy Delahunty who broke the scoreless deadlock with a well taken point on the fifteen minute mark. Bree then began to build up some momentum due in large part to the brilliant clearances from Rachel Sinnott and Niamh Doyle. A lively half forward line of Nadine Power, Lána Roche and Aoibhinn Crean worked very well together to win these clearances and Bree engineered two further points during this busy period to build a three point lead.
With five minutes remaining in the half, Castlebridge worked their way back into the game beginning with a Sophie Whelan left footed point and frees from Danielle O’Leary and Caoimhe Parker. Mai Ling Tynan in the corner chased several lost causes to create good scoring chances for her team at this stage and so the teams deservedly went to their huddles all square at three points apiece at halftime.
Bree came out in the second half and started with a bang through a priceless Ciara O’Leary goal. After winning the ball out the field, she somehow squeezed past several defenders to slot the ball into the back of the net. Tara Ennis and Meadhbh O’Brien really drove their team on to build on this new lead but Castlebridge regained their composure and a steady defence led by Nicole Harding Kenny and Aobhe Manley did not cough up any more scores for quite some time. A Grace Harding Kenny point brought the teams back to 1-3 to 0-4 but the Bree defenders were proving to be equally stingy at the other of the field when it came to giving away chances to score. Castlebridge did have a half chance at goal when Danielle O’Leary set up Caoimhe Parker but there was just not enough space to get her shot off.
Proving that a team is only as good as their players on the line, Hannah Fitzpatrick came off the bench to score an insurance goal for Bree with minutes remaining after Jessica Wickham carried the ball very well to create the chance. It was only then that Bree could finally relax and enjoy their first title win since 2003, as the Castlebridge girls played well and refused to give up until the very end.
~Seán Óg Whelan
Bree: Megan Broaders Murphy, Ciara Rossiter, Rachel Sinnott, Rianna Butler, Jessica Blyth, Niamh Doyle, Tara Ennis, Donna Murphy Delahunty, Meadhbh O’Brien, Nadine Power, Lána Roche, Aoibhinn Crean, Jessica Wickham, Ciara O’Leary, Lucy Neary, Ellie Cloke, Hannah Fitzpatrick, Holly Furlong, Yvonne Hennebry, Ciara Lewis, Hannah Walsh, Abigail Buckley, Charlotte Buckley, Ciara Byrne, Abi Cullen, Holly Dunne Maher, Emma Ennis, Jenna Kirwan, Rachael Murphy, Claire Whelan
Castlebridge: Katie Feeney, Amy O’Connor, Nicole Harding Kenny, Sinéad Banville, Keeva Campbell, Nicole Gillen, Aobhe Manley, Erin Byrne, Sophie Whelan, Grace Harding Kenny, Caoimhe Parker, Abigail Gillen, Danielle O’Leary, Katie Carroll, Mai Ling Tynan, Ciara McMahon, Lily Stout, Aoife Hearne, Sophie Byrne, Erin Kehoe, Caitlin Rossiter, Lauryn Rossiter, Katie Kavanagh, Beth Byrne, Leteisha Hanley, Sophie Demby, Rachel Denby, Anna Dempsey, Grace O’Brien, Rebecca Fanning, Jessica Doran, Eimear Flanagan, Maeve Hayes, Caelia Murphy, Alanah Tynan, Ava Watters Cosgrave