Fantastic Foxes too strong for Ballyboden

by Gazette Reporter

FOXROCK Cabinteely delighted the capacity crowd at Lawless Park to land their third New Ireland Assurance DLGFA senior football championship title in succession, denying Ballyboden St Enda’s their first title in seven years.
Their guile and experience, clever kick-out strategy, pace in attack and double sweeper system proved the key elements on a blustery day that made for tricky conditions.
The opening exchanges set the tone as both sides went full blooded into tackles. A foul on Fiona Claffey on the 13-metre line allowed Amy Ring to step up and score the first point from a free as Foxrock opened up well.
Ballyboden were getting plenty of possession but they were to rue two golden goal opportunities seconds in the 5th minute. Doireann Mullany’s interception led to a sweet interchange with Dee Lawless and Katie Murphy. Lawless continued her run and received the ball back and was upended in the square and the referee awarded a penalty.
Simmone Reilly, though, struck the ball high and wide of the left post. That miss was compounded 30 seconds later when Boden won the resultant restart and midfielder Sinead Burke found herself in on goal but she blasted her shot wide.
They were punished further when a foul on Hannah O’Neill on the 45’ in the sixth minute was quickly followed by another foul about 30 metres out on Claffey which Ring put over the bar.
Boden were getting plenty of the ball and put together some nice passages of play with some excellent passing and interplay involving Lawless, Murphy, Burke and Maria McGrath but with the strong wind at their backs, they dropped two efforts short.
At the other end, runs from deep from Sinead Goldrick were causing havoc. One such run yielded the next point, Goldrick cutthing through the Boden defence before picking out Ciara Ni Mhurchadh, a quick off load to Claffey who hand passed on to Ciara Murphy to swing over a great team point.
Boden got off the mark in the 14th minute via a brilliant run from defence by Rachel Ruddy – later named player of the match – who worked the ball inside to McGrath to point.
Foxrock hit back when Aedin Murray, coming off her shoulder was Goldrick, took off through the middle, leaving would be tacklers in her wake. It opened space for Claffey to run into for a pass and she in turn found Ciara O’Riordan to stretch the lead further.
Goldrick’s then hit a dangerous foot-pass towards Hannah O’Neill in front of the Boden goal. The ball bounced in front of O’Neill and, with no time to gather, she pulled on the ball first time and it nestled into the back of the net.
The response from Ballyboden was instant; they worked the ball from one end of the pitch to the other and a shot by Reilly was misjudged by Foxrock keeper Laurie Ahern, ending in the top corner.
But Foxrock dealt with the setback well and landed two further points before half-time from a Ring free and one from play from O’Riordan for a 1-6 to 1-1 half-time lead.
Boden needed a quick riposte in the second half but three quickfire wides did not help their cause.
Ring, though, was metronomic from the frees and when Ciara Murphy was fouled, she popped over again from 30-metres. Her next shot hit the post but Goldrick won back possession and made sure with a point straight over the black spot.
The missed chances from Boden continued to keep Foxrock out of range but they did shorten the deficit when Maria Hoey was dragged down, allowing McGrath to land a free.
And the Firhouse road club built further momentum with excellent points from play scored by Reilly and Claire Kirwan.
The final ten minutes – plus almost nine minutes added on – were high on action but low on scores to limit comeback hopes.
Ring added another point from a free with five minutes of normal time remaining, nudging the lead back out to five.
The sides swapped points as the game headed into injury time with a point from Reilly counter-acted by an Anne Marie Murphy point for Foxrock.
That finished the scoring for the final but with only five points between the sides it made the seemingly never-ending injury time feel like an eternity for the Foxrock players, management and supporters.
But when the final whistle went they could all celebrate a deserved three in a row.

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