Caffrey crowns extra special Fianna victory

by Gazette Reporter

Aoife Caffrey’s extra-time goal proved decisive as Na Fianna B claimed the New Ireland Assurance Junior ‘C’ Ladies Football Championship title at the expense of St Brendan’s at Lawless Park.

This helped the Glasnevin attacker to complete her hat-trick as part of her team’s unerring ability to raise green flags at crucial periods in the play.

They initially looked set to claim the spoils at the end of normal time with a goal from Emma Deeley, only for the reliable Sinead Morrissey to herald 20 additional minutes through a nerveless, pointed free.

The Grangegorman outfit led on a couple of occasions when the action resumed, before Na Fianna pushed forward in the aftermath of Caffrey’s latest major.

Early on, Brendan’s edged four points in front during the early exchanges, going ahead in the first minute as full-forward Aisling Newton split the posts in convincing fashion.

She proved a real thorn in the side of Na Fianna and she subsequently rattled the back of their net when Roisin McDonald picked her out to close to goal with a neat hand-pass.

Na Fianna finally settled with a Caffrey single and Naomi Boardman kept them in touch despite another Brendan’s score.

And Caffrey’s first goal – a powerful strike close to the posts rocketed beyond the reach of Brendan’s netminder Karen O’Connell – got them really rolling. She repeated the act with another majestic goal on 18 minutes via an enterprising one-two with full-forward Aisling Gilligan.
Brendan’s needed something to halt this surge and another Newton point served notice of their intentions. It all came together in the closing moments of the opening 30 minutes.

Morrissey made no mistake with a routine free and swiftly restored parity with a third point at the end of a resulting move, level at 2-2 to 1-5 at the break.

It didn’t stay this way for long, however, as Na Fianna struck for a third goal four minutes after the restart.

Brona Dunne forced Brendan’s onto the back-foot with a lung-bursting run and Gilligan took full advantage with an emphatic finish.

Caffrey and half-back Erin Murphy added points in the third-quarter, but the influential Brendan’s duo of Morrissey and McDonald cancelled out these particular efforts.

And they scrambled another goal when a high, hanging delivery placed enormous pressure on the Na Fianna defence and was scrambled in. A Morrissey free eked out a two-point lead.

The Mobhi Road crew went all of 22 minutes without registering a score but when this barren spell eventually came to an end, it looked like it might determine the outcome of the proceedings.

Emma Deeley, though, got Na Fianna back up and running when she found the far corner with an inch-perfect attempt.

Brendan’s, though, forced extra time via McDonald’s free and a 0-2 Morrissey salvo allowed Brendan’s to build momentum, only for the excellent Caffrey to issue them with a fresh blow.

Her speculative shot on 67 minutes dipped into the net and she also added a brilliant point on the run.

Substitute Katie Alcock converted a free with her first touch which meant that Na Fianna were three points to the good (5-6 to 2-12) in the 70th-minute.

The contest was primed to go down to the wire when Newton and Morrissey cut the gap to a single point. However, the Na Fianna bench was beginning to have a telling impact, and they ultimately put Brendan’s to the sword with back-to-back contributions from Alcock and Kirsten Doyle.

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